At the entrance of the valley one finds Piasco which has been for centuries an important market site for the entire valley. The town hosts a civic tower dating back to the 14th century which formerly was the bell tower of Saint Sebastian church. The Porporatis' castle was built in the 17th century and watches over the town. Piasco also hosts the Museum of the harp Victor Salvi, the only museum worldwide dedicated to harps.
At the beginning of the valley, on an elevated position, one finds Rossana. The parish church dedicated to the Ascension dates back to the 11th century although the façade was rebuilt in Gothic style in the 14th century with a terracotta wimperg and a fresco depicting Saint Christopher.
Along the SP 46 road, on the right-hand side of the valley, one reaches Venasca. The Baroque Ascension parish church was built between 1749 and 1755 by Paolo Ottacio Ruffino. This wide building is characterized by an octagonal plan and a curvilinear façade. Nearby, one finds the fifteenth-century Ca dla Tur (the Tower House). On the way to Brossasco one may swerve to Isasca, a small village toward the Bronda valley with the Saint Maximus church hosting 16th century frescoes depicting the Annunciation and the Evangelists.
Continuing along the main road, one arrives to Brossasco, a small village placed at the confluence of rivers Varaita and Gilba. The parish church of Saint Andrew, built in 1406, preserves a precious portal of Gothic origin. The chapel of Saint Roch (15th century) is frescoed in its interior with a set depicting the Life of Saint Roch by Pascale Oddone. From Brossasco one goes up along the side-valley Gilba, formerly place of extraction of slate. The village of Gilba is today almost completely abandoned and keeps some valuable examples of alpine architecture in its main hamlet, Danna.
Along the SP 8 road beyond Brossasco, on the right-hand side of the valley, a panoramic road brings to Valmala and further to the nineteenth-century Sanctuary nearby the Valmala Col (1541 m). Here one may take the military road «dei cannoni», which follows the watershed between the Maira and Varaita valleys suitable for mountain biking trails.
The SP 8 road continues along the wide valley bottom to Melle, an agricultural centre known for its highly prized "Tomino di Melle", a fresh soft cheese. Further on, one arrives to Sampeyre, the main village of the valley, a popular tourist centre, equipped with some hotels and a small ski resort. The main square hosts the parish church of Saint Peter and Paul, in Romanesque-Gothic style. The façade was renewed in the 19th century and its Romanesque portal is decorated with anthropomorphic and animal motives. The Gothic interior hosts frescoes depicting the Life and Passion of Christ, by Tommaso and Matteo Biazaci (1460-70). Going up to the hamlet Becetto one finds the Sanctuary of Our Lady dating back to the 13th century with subsequent rearrangements. Further along, hamlet Villar hosts a parish church in gothic style and two precious Romanesque portals with green marble of Brossasco.
The SP 105 road brings then to Casteldelfino, a pleasant village on that road to France called the Chemin Royal. The historical centre preserves precious buildings and the Lou Trouei fountain, decorated with a relief depicting the Virgin Mary (16th century) next to the weapons of France and Delphinate, formerly administrators of the Castellata, the administrative district including also Pontechianale and Bellino. At the entrance of the village one finds the Romanesque-Gothic parish church of Saint Margaret with frescoes by Tommaso and Matteo Biazaci. South-west of the village one finds the small Romanesque church of Saint Eusebius and the ruins of the village castle, destroyed by a landslide in 1391. Casteldelfino is a starting point for hike trails to the Alevè Forest, one of the most important forest of Pinus Cembra in the Alps. The forest extends over 800 hectares and is registered in the national list of seed breeding owing to age and size of its trees.
Up forward to Bellino, the hamlets are located along the torrent Varaita, branch of Bellino, in a splendid alpine contest. These perched hamlets keep a precious architectonic heritage and are characterized by narrow streets and typical "logge porticate" (house porticoes made of stony columns). The houses are decorated with carved portals, apotropaic heads and beautiful sundials. Trusses made of larch hold up the wide roofs covered with the typical "lose" stone. At hamlet Chiesa the bell tower is in Romanesque-Lombard style representing probably the most ancient bell tower of the valley. From hamlet S. Anna several hiking itineraries depart toward the Pelvo d'Elva peak and the Autaret hollow.
From Casteldelfino following the direction to Pontechianale and Col of Agnello, one arrives to Castello in a hollow hosting the Castello lake. This is the starting point to climb the Monviso through the Vallanta valley. Continuing toward the upper valley one arrives to the modern centre of Pontechianale. The old village was flooded after the construction of the barrage in 1942. The ancient late-Romanesque portal of the old church was transferred in the new parish church. Pontechianale is a winter resort with skiing and hosting facilities. Toward the Col of Agnello one arrives to Chianale placed in a beautiful hollow. The village has preserved its alpine architecture with stony houses along the Chemin Royal to France.
"La Baìo" of Sampeyre
The Baìo is one of the most important and ancient traditional festivals in the Italian Alps and takes place every five years in Sampeyre at Carnival time. The origins of the feast dates back to 975 or 980 a.C. when the Saracens penetrated the valley and it commemorates the expulsion of those invaders. Hundreds of people take part to the celebration dressed with elaborated costumes with multicoloured silk ribbons. The Baìo includes four parades following a precise script dictated by the tradition. The final coup de théậtre is the escape of the Treasurer with the money followed by his capture, the process, his death sentence and the final happy ending of the reprieve. One of the most important aspect of the festival is the ensemble of traditional music and dance coming from Occitan heritage.