National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise
Classified as a historical park together with that of Gran Paradiso, the Circeo, and the Stelvio, the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio, and Molise was instituted in 1923 to safeguard the extraordinary naturalistic flora and fauna over a territory amounting to 500 hectares, which today has increased one-hundred fold to 50,000 and extends over three provinces: L’Aquila, Frosinone, and Isernia.
Famous in Italy and worldwide as a model of conservation and environmental protection, over the past two decades the park has successfully undergone sustainable development thanks to the zoning of the territory, which has allowed the integration of the environment and development, and an agreement with the municipalities of the Park to overcome numerous urban planning issues.
The Park includes a set of mountain chains mostly of a calcareous nature, between 900 and 2200 metres in altitude with rounded summits, steep slopes, deep ravines, and vertical walls. The territory was modelled by glacial and karstic phenomenon, as demonstrated by the glacial cirques, morainic deposits, whale-back rocks and erratic masses on the Monti della Meta, on the Marsicano, and on the Greco. Vast tablelands and suggestive karstic plateaus open in between the mountainous reliefs, like that of “Campitelli" in Alfedena (AQ), in the steep chain of the Mainarde. There are also two beautiful lakes up in the mountains, the Lago Vivo, which fills an ample doline surrounded by bare walls of the Petroso and the Monti della Meta chain, and the Lago Pantaniello on the northwest slope of Monte Greco. The central zone of the Park is crossed by the Sangro River, into which various streams flow; often the waters run in underground beds and form resurgences downstream. “Places of worship” of protected nature are the Camosciara, an impressive natural amphitheatre that recalls the Dolomites, and the adjacent Val di Rose and Valle Iannanghera, realm of the Abruzzo chamois.
Elusive and shy due to its difficult relationship with man, the animals that populate the Park include rare, endangered, and endemic species. Sixty species of mammals, 300 birds, 40 reptiles, amphibians, and fish, as well as numerous species of insects are distributed in the diverse habitats that make up this Park. Next to the more obvious animals, like the Marsican brown bear, symbol of the Park, the Abruzzo chamois, the Apennine wolf, the deer, the roe deer, the lynx, the golden eagle, and even otters in the pristine waters of the Sangro, there is also typical woodland and high-altitude meadow fauna: martens, beech martens, polecats, weasels, badgers, foxes, wild cats, dormice, snow voles, hedgehogs, squirrels...
Even the vegetation includes some endemic and rare species: from the Austrian pine of Villetta Barrea, a relict species that can probably be traced back to the Tertiary, a variety exclusive to the Park located in some zones of the Camosciara and Val Fondillo, numerous orchids, with the lady's slipper in first place, which flowers in more remote zones, to the Marsina iris. The forest is made up mainly of beechwood, which occupies more than 60% of the entire surface area of the Park, while 30% is dominated by high-altitude grasslands, meadows, and clearings. The splendid springtime blossom and the fiery autumn foliage suggest that the visitor should probably come during these seasons to enjoy this spectacular protected area.
Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo Lazio e Molise
Viale Santa Lucia
Tel. (+39) 0863 91131
Fax (+39) 0863 912132