The Piedmontese segment of the River Po is part of a single, wide protected area following flow of the river from the Mount Monviso to the confluence with the River Ticino.
The park is divided into three areas. The first one is the Parco del Po cuneese, stretching from the mountain area where the river rises, to the upper Po plan and the river channel, up to the confluence with the Pellice stream. This area includes the peatland of Pian del Re, rich in biodiversity glacial lakes larch woods and the Aleve cembran pinewood. The symbol of this area is the small Alpine Lanza's Salamander, an endemic animal living on the peaks of the Monviso massif. The Abbey of Staffarda is worth a visit to see the big colony of bats that comes back every spring to nest inside the church.
Following the river flow you enter an area where the presence of man is more evident, i. e. the Parco del Po e della Collina torinese, stretching down to the confluence with the river Dora Baltea. In spite of the presence of an urban area with over 2 million inhabitants, the area hosts several natural oases, such as the disused quarries providing valuable lake habitats and the woods in the plains and along the lower part of the hills, such as the natural reserve of Bosco del Vaj. The most peculiar feature of this protected area is the relationship between man and the river, reflected in the abbeys, castles and hydraulic works built in the 19th century.
The river then becomes wider and slower, flowing into oxbow lakes, cut -off meanders and reed beds. A network of channels feeds the rise fields of the area. At the confluece with its tributaries Sesia, Tanaro and Scrivia, the river becomes once more rapid and preicpitous, flowing free from embankments. Here visitors can watch the great ardeid birds, such as Great White Heron, Grey Heron and Egret, nesting in the heronry of Valenza, the crown jewel of the park Parco fluviale del Po e dell’Orba, in the provinces of Vercelli and Alessandria.