The National Parks of Abruzzo

The National Parks of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise are three adjacent national parks in central Italy, covering an area of almost 500,000 acres. They are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including rare species such as the Marsican brown bear, the Apennine wolf, and the Abruzzo chamois.

Wilderness and biodiversity: Exploring the national parks of Abruzzo

One-third of this beautiful central Italian region comprises national parks that mainly cover the Gran Sasso and Majella mountain ranges inland. In total, there are more than 300,000 hectares of protected areas – from dense forests and water-rich valleys to the barren high mountain landscape. The strictly protected natural areas not only produce a special wealth of plants but also a remarkable diversity of species. The flagships are, of course, the bears and wolves of the secluded mountain regions!

The “Parco Nazionale Gran Sasso e Monti della Lage” covers an area of 149,000 ha and is the largest national park in central Italy. It stretches from the upper Tronto Valley in the Marche region over the Monti della Laga in the far north of Abruzzo to the grandiose mountain world of the Gran Sasso d’Italia, the “great stone of Italy.” Its peaks “Corno Grande” and “Corno Piccolo” are in the heart of the national park.
To the south of the Corno Grande is the spectacular “Altopiano di Campo Imperatore” plateau, which is a barren steppe landscape whose south-eastern foothills are home to some of the most interesting villages in Abruzzo, such as Santo di Sessiano or Castel del Monte. In the very south of Gran Sasso Park, the “Parco Nazinale della Majella” follows seamlessly. The biodiversity in the park is breath-taking! Over 130 endemic plants can be found in the mountains, of which 12 species grow exclusively in the national park. In addition to over 150 deer and a population of 80 wolves, six pairs of the rare golden eagles nest in the mountains.

The park offers ideal terrain for high-mountain hikers, especially on the northern foothills of the Gran Sasso. South of the “Corno Grande” and the “Corno Piccolo” there are some very demanding hiking trails and mountain routes that only experienced mountaineers should undertake.

The core area of the “Parco Nazionale della Majella” is a massive mountain range with an altitude of up to 2,800m and deep, canyon-like gorges, rugged ridges and dense forests. Today, this area provides a refuge for many rare animal species. However, this was not always the case, as deer, stags and Abruzzo chamois were already extinct in the area in the 19th century. Not to mention wolves and bears! With the establishment of the Majella National Park in 1995, the populations have recovered well and have been reintroduced. In addition to four Marsica bears, there are now around 80 Apennine wolves and about 800 deer and roe deer.

The area of the national park stretches between Guardiagrele in the east and Pescocostanzo in the south. To the west, the Sulmona plain forms the border and to the north, the wide Pescara valley forms northern border. In the middle of the park rise many rugged limestone massifs with over 30 two-thousand-metre peaks with vast plateaus and wild gorges.

Abruzzo - A hidden gem worth exploring

The Costa dei Trabocchi

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