Italian National Parks I

National Parks are natural areas protected to preserve  wild nature for posterity and to safeguard their ecosystem. In Italy there are 24 Natural Parks and they cover about 5% of the national territory.


Parco Nazionale dell’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise 


Map of the National Park of Abruzzo


The most famous national park in Italy is certainly the Parco Nazionale dell’Abruzzo which preserves nature in three regions: Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise. This park is recognized worldwide as an example of preserving nature and the environment, allowing a perfect balance between nature and  surrounding towns. Visits to the park are verified and screened, while the park keeps reinventing itself by finding new solutions to keep it modern and efficient. The park holds a great variety of fauna: 60 species of mammals, 300 varieties of birds, 40 types of reptiles, fishes, amphibious species and a wide varieties of insects (a paradise for entomologists).

To note: the brown Marsican bear, wolves, deers and royal eagles.


Parco Nazionale dell'Abruzzo


Parco Nazionale dell'Alta Murgia


This landscape was formed by millennia of continuous erosion. Its located in the Puglia region, in Southern Italy. ‘Doline,' deep ground depressions created by erosion, next to the Altamura area are quite impressive, being between 70 and 100 meters in depth. Even if the park has been modified by man, the fauna and flora of the Alta Murgia area are still of great interest.



Parco Nazionale Tosco-Emiliano


Located between the passages and the wooded ridges which divide Tuscany from the Emilia region, a true mountainous environment comes to life. The peaks are over 2,000 meters above sea level where the forests gives way to rocky mountains, spectacular lakes and high mountain prairies. This park has an extraordinary richness of various, mixed, environments. From the moor lands, which host wild blueberries, to the most unreachable peaks, and again, its lakes, waterfalls, and mountainside creeks. The local fauna includes the Italian wolf, moufflon (a species of wild sheep), deer, royal eagle and various botanical rarities.



Parco Nazionale della Maddalena 


Located on the island of Sardinia, this geo-marine park covers, between land and sea, roughly 12,000 hectares. Complete with 180 km of coastlines, it also encompasses islands of various sizes.


La Maddalena National Park. Ph. flickr/Cristiano Cani


Parco Nazionale dell’ Arcipelago Toscano


Located in the Tuscan region, it is the largest marine park in Europe, with its 56,766 hectares of sea surface, and 17.887 hectares of dry land, including its several islands of the Tuscan Archipelago. Every single one is different from the other with only one thing in common: the beauty of its environment.



Parco Nazionale dell’ Aspromonte


The Park of the Aspromonte is in the Calabria region, on the southern edge of the Apennine mountain chain. Like an enormous granite pyramid, 2,000 meters in height, located right on the seafront, with peaks, plateaus and water streams, locally known as: Fiumare. The diversity of fauna includes: wolf, peregrine falcon, royal owl and goshawk. Its large extension of forests contains groves of beech, silver fir, black pine, holm oak, and chestnut. Some rare species to be found are: Bonelli’s Eagle and the Tropical Fern, Woodwardia Radicans.


The Aspromonte National Park. Ph. flickr/aurelio candido



Parco Nazionale del Circeo


Created in 1934, in the Lazio region, It is well known as a park rich in biodiversity, but also conveniently located. The park is about an hour drive south from Rome.



Parco Nazionale del Cilento


Placed in the regions of Campania and Basilicata, it is the second largest park in Italy. Along with its territory being extremely heterogeneous, it’s full of very ancient history. The legendary nymph Leucosia, was said to have lured humans to their death by attracting them with her music, then drowning them at sea.


St. Francis' Rock at the Cilento National Park. Ph. flickr/Massimo Greco


See also:

Italian National Parks part II

Italian National Parks part III