National Park of Abruzzo
"Relax and Nature in the Green Heart of Abruzzo"
Established by the Royal decree n. 257 of January 2, 1923, made law on July 12 of the same year, The National park of Abruzzo is the oldest and most important one in Italy. Its present-day area of 44,000 hectares, which is the result of several enlargements, includes 22 towns in the provinces of L'Aquila, Frosinone and Isernia. In 1980 the Autonomous Board "National Park of Abruzzo", in charge of the Park administration, has started a zonation project, which consists in dividing the whole territory in zones. This Board has set very severe restraints on full protection areas and it has established more flexible rules for tourism in the remaining ones. At present, the Park is divided into 4 zones: Full Reserve, General Reserve, Protection Zone and Development Zone. Almost every town has been provided with a Tour Information Centre and with Zone Offices.
The Park is inhabited by bears, chamois, wolves, deer. The symbol of the Park is the Marsican Brown Bear, which represented, until recently, an endangered species. At present, this danger seems to have been averted, thanks to the punctual protection activity of the Park Board. Indeed, there are about 80 examples of bear living both in the Park area and in the nearby mountains. The Board of the National Park of Abruzzo has also taken several initiatives about other areas. An example of this activity is represented by the Operation Chamois that has favoured the reappearance of this mountain goat even on the Eastern Majella and the Gran Sasso. There are about 40 wolves living in the Park. The Operation San Francesco (started 20 years ago) has made possible the creation of a Tour Information Centre dedicated to them and a special Faunal Area. At the moment an investigation is going on to find out whether it is possible to introduce again the Lynx in the Park.
The past glaciations and karst phenomena have marked the morphology of the mountain environment. The rock is calcareous. The Sangro is the Park main river and has its very sources in the Park. The Melfa, the Giovenco and the Volturno flow at the edges of the protection area. In the Park or in its vicinity there are some interesting natural lakes like the Lake Vivo, the Lake Pantaniello and the Lake of Scanno and also some artificial basins, among which we count the Lake of Barrea and the Lake of the Montagna Spaccata. In the valleys, furrowed by rivers, we can admire a lush riparian vegetation with poplars, willows and alders. Higher on, we find the typical species of the Apennine mountain woods, among which the Beech is the predominant one. But mingled with beeches there are also examples of Sycamore Maple, Sorb, Laburnum, Hazel, Wild Apple-tree, Wild Pear and Wild Cherry-tree, and, rarely of Holly. Local pinewoods of Black Pine can be seen in Villetta Barrea and the Camosciara. In Spring and Summer the Park is covered with several colours. The meadowlands are full of blossoming gentians, blue gentians, violets, peonies and forget-me-nots and the beech-woods are full of columbines and Marsican irises. The pride of the Park is the Cypripedium calceolus, a kind of yellow and black orchid generally called Venus's little shoe or Our lady's slipper.
Civitella del Tronto