Pont d'Ael: the kingdom of butterflies
From a naturalistic point of view, the area around Pont d’Ael offers an interesting variety of flora and fauna. It is in fact a special conservation area protected under the European “Natura 2000” network.
Crossing the Roman aqueduct-bridge, there are arid grasslands, abandoned agricultural terraces, alternating with sparse forests of oak and Scots pine, where plant species of steppe and Mediterranean origin grow, such as the_Achillea tomentosa_. There are also some orchids, including the rare Cephalanthera damasonium.
The large quantity of butterflies is also of considerable interest: in addition to the endemic Polyommatus humedasae 96 diurnal species have been counted.
Upstream of the arid prairies rise the rocky walls that form the south-eastern slope of Mount Pognon on which birds of prey such as the golden eagle and the peregrine falcon nest.
Downstream from the village, the Grand’Eyvia torrent creates a shaded gorge with very steep walls, with microclimatic conditions of greater humidity where a forest very rare in the Aosta valley grows with a prevalence of linden, maple and ash trees.