Abruzzo is a region of central Italy which can be proud of its title as the “Green” Region of Europe.
Abruzzo is a region of central Italy which can be proud of its title as the “Green Region of Europe“, thanks in particular to the presence of 3 National Parks (the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise, the Majella National Park and the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park), the Natural Regional Park of Sirente-Velio, the protected marine area Torre del Cerrano and the 38 protected areas representing 36.3% of its total area, the largest in Europe. In the many protected areas, scattered not only on the crest of the Apennines, but also on the fertile hills of the hinterland and along the 130 km of coastline, are preserved more than 75% of the animal and plant species of the European continent.
The National Parks
There are 3 national parks in the Abruzzo region. The National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise, the National Park of Majella and the National Park of Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga. The first park was created in 1922 and today attracts about 1 000 000 visitors each year. In addition to the fauna and flora, its attraction lies in the rugged orography of the mountains, its evocative medieval villages, in the necropolis and in its trails. A network of visitor centres, natural trails and wildlife areas are available to tourists.
In winter, the trails are transformed into snowshoeing or skiing lanes. Robust and imposing, the Majella is steep and compact on the western slope, rising on the plateau of the Femmina Mortis, and is carved on the eastern slope by the wildest valleys of Abruzzo. The park also includes the bastion of Morron and the Monti Pizi. Historical testimonies include prehistoric colonies, hermitages, shepherds ‘ inscriptions, caves and forts used by brigands and soldiers, tholos huts built between fields and pastures. The history of man is an integral part of the fascination of the park. Finally, the Gran Sasso Park comprises the limestone walls of the Corno Grande and Corno Piccolo, and it is located on the plateau of Campo Imperator, wrapped on the north slope by magnificent beech trees. It is popular with hikers, mountaineers and skiers. Lesser known are the Monti della Laga, spectacular in the spring thanks to the abundance of water. Protected since 1995, the two massifs offer a magnificent journey through the nature and traditions of Abruzzo.
The Regional Park
The Regional Park Sirente-Velio is located just over an hour from Rome and can be easily reached from everywhere within the Abruzzo region. During clear winter days, the snowy peak of the Velio is easily visible from the Gianicolo. The Velio and the Sirente offer visitors several points of interest on the Great massif: The rocky walls defend the highest peaks while the scree is rich in rare botanical species. Known to skiers for the presence of the Ovindoli and Campo Felice slopes, these mountains are also appreciated by hikers. In addition to natural habitats and rare species, the park retains interesting traces of its past: archaeological areas, towers and castles, medieval villages, convents and rural churches are still well preserved and can be visited and admired throughout the territory.
The marine areas
In the area of Teramo, between two municipalities, Pineto and Silvi, the protected marine area “Torre del Cerrano” borders seven kilometers of coastline. We find in its name, Torre del Cerrano, the symbols of the history and the identity of this territory. Cerrano, the stream that descends from the hills of Atri and La Torre, built in 1568 by the Spaniards as a rampart against the Saracen pirates. Completely restored, the fortress overlooks the dunes and houses the centre of Marine Biology, two kilometers from the centre of Pineto. The crystal clear water of the marine protected area presents both the typical Adriatic seabed, as well as some deep cliffs, defined by the rocks of the old port of Atri and submerged structures. There are a good number of marine species in the area and a small contingent of plant species. In the underwater environment of the protected area, it is easy to meet various species of fish and molluscs.