This small oasis of peace, with its large pond, lush vegetation and a species-rich fauna, is the first Lipu (Italian bird protection league) oasis. For 40 years it has been a “resting place” for numerous animals, especially migratory birds, which take a break during their long journey south. The area covers 300 hectares of woods, with a large pond in the center of the basin. Visitors can take advantage of two convenient access roads, one from Morozzo and one from Crava. (See the bottom of the page for indications.)
You cross the Reserve following the main path, with numerous panoramic views of the pond and the bird habitat. In order to observe the birds without disturbing them, there are viewing huts, one of which is just below water level, so you can also see the fish. The Reserve was founded by three friends: Franco Bergese, Tomaso Giraudo and Ada Gazzola. Bergese is often out and about in the oasis, tending to work that needs to be done, such as pruning trees. “It was the endeavor of three crazy people,” he says. “We paid for the construction of the oasis out of our own pockets and took on high credit loans. But now I’m proud of what this place has become, a treasure that’s available to everyone.”
“There are centuries old trees here, real monuments,” he says. “Over the years we’ve protected many from being cut down or sold. We’ve planted others and seen them grow. For example, that alder tree over there,” he points to a small island in the middle of the pond, “is a perfect place for herons to stand. My advice: come here at half past seven in the morning. At that time, it’s white, as if it just snowed on it, because all the herons come to rest on its branches.” (F. Bergese)
Guided tours are offered at bargain prices by appointment. Or, if you’re here on a day the Reserve has organized an event, you can participate and have a tour for free!. You might even be able to take part in bird watching and use professional equipment such as binoculars and microscopes.
For a break, the Reserve offers visitors a guest house with a café/restaurant. You can cross the oasis on foot, by bike or even on horseback by booking a ride at of the three riding stables in the area. After your visit, it’s worthwhile taking a stroll through the district of Crava, a small hamlet located within walking distance. The presence of the Nature Reserve has had many positive effects on this small village. In addition to the many shops and businesses that were inspired by the creation of this wonderful oasis, you’ll also find an admirable collection of nature-themed wall murals painted on the sides of the local houses.
Entrance Morozzo: at the Gazzola petrol station in Via Mondovì, 52. Click here for the position.
Entrance Crava: coming from Rocca de’ Baldi, along Provincial Road 120, after the Pesio river bridge. Click here for the position
Handicap entrance: located at the Morozzo service entrance. The parking lot for handicap vehicles is located in front of the Oasis Guest House. Click here for the position
Click here for the latest information on events and guided tours: www.facebook.com/oasi.crava