Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park
|Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso
e Monti della Laga
Gran Sasso Mountain
|Nearest city||L'Aquila, Teramo|
|Area||1,413.31 km2 (545.68 sq mi)|
|Governing body||Ministero dell'Ambiente|
The Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park is a natural park in Italy, which was established in 1991. It has an area of 2,014 square kilometres. The terrain is predominantly mountainous.
It is managed by Ente Parco Nazionale Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga, with headquarters in Assergi, in the Province of L'Aquila.
The Grand Highway of the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park runs through the park between the Gran Sasso mountain peak and the chain known as Monti della Laga.
The park is one of the largest protected areas in Europe, the show-piece being the massif of Gran Sasso, which dominates the surrounding landscape; it rises vertically on the immense pastures of Campo Imperatore. On the east side, from Teramo, there is the majestic "Paretone" which is a part of the central Adriatic landscape. It is the kingdom of perennial snow, rocks and wind. On the north there is the profile of Monti della Laga chain, where thousands of migratory birds stop on the shores of Lake Campotosto. This area is completely covered by woods of beeches, firs, turkey oaks and chestnuts. There are over 200 kilometres of horse trails which can be used to visit the park.
Nature and wildlife
The park contains one of the most biologically diverse areas of Europe. The climate is borderline between that of the Mediterranean and that of Europe. The park contains more than two thousand plant species, some of which are found exclusively in this area, such as Abruzzo Edelweiss, as well as fauna which are equally precious. Many species of wildlife inhabit the park, including rare animals such as the Abruzzo Chamois, as well as wolves, roe deer, wildcats, wild boars, foxes and squirrels. Notable birds include the Golden Eagle, the White-backed Woodpecker, the goshawk, the Common Buzzard and the peregrine. There are also insects, such as the Apollo Butterfly.
The park contains a very long circuit of approximately 300 km, featuring trails that can be visited on horseback, by mountain bike, or on foot.
Many outdoor activities are possible within the park including:
Educational projects are active in the park visitor centres, trails and paths can be freely explored also with the assistance of mountain guides.
The villages of the park are tiny towns with close-knit stone and brick houses, joined by the rise and fall of narrow lanes, their solid wood doors set under architraves carved with bearings and dates of many centuries past. Each village deserves exploration to meet the real people and enjoy Abruzzo's proverbial hospitality, discover genuine traditions and wonderful regional products. Almost all of the park's inland settlements date back to at least the Middle Ages but many are older, fonded in the Italic-Roman period. In many cases, the place name highlights the defensive nature of the settlement and a summit position: Castel, Rocca, Pizzo, Penna, Colle (castle, keep, peak, crest and hill).
Barete, Barisciano, Cagnano Amiterno, Calascio, Campotosto, Capestrano, Capitignano, Carapelle Calvisio, Castel del Monte, Castelvecchio Calvisio, L'Aquila, Montereale, Ofena, Pizzoli, Santo Stefano di Sessanio, Villa Santa Lucia degli Abruzzi
Arsita, Campli, Castelli, Civitella del Tronto, Cortino, Crognaleto, Fano Adriano, Isola del Gran Sasso d'Italia, Montorio al Vomano, Pietracamela, Rocca Santa Maria, Torricella Sicura, Tossicia, Valle Castellana.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park.|
- official Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park website — (Italian)
- The National Park of the Gran Sasso
- Abruzzo by the Park Authority on Parks.it (italian)
- A photo gallery made by a UNESCO photographer