NATIONAL PARKS OF ABRUZZO – Explore the natural beauty

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Did you know that Abruzzo has 3 national parks and also a regional park? This is astounding for an Italian region. As you can see by this interesting map – 
Source:http://www.bedandbreakfast-vacanza.it/en/holidays-natural-parks/
not all the Italian regions have a national park.
In Abruzzo the parks cover almost one third of the region and the Apennine mountain chain is enclosed within these parks.
The highest peak is the Gran Sasso at 2912 m (9555 ft). The Maiella mountain chain is also part of the Apennines and here you will discover that over half of the mountains are over 2000m  (6500ft) !
The National Parks are:
1) National Park of Abruzzo, Molise and Lazio – formed in 1922 in the years after World War 1 and borders the regions of Molise and Lazio, however most of the park is in Abruzzo. There are 25 villages within this area – in Abruzzo they are: Alfedena, Barrea, Bisegna, Civitella Alfedena, Gioia dei Marsi, Lecce dei Marci, Opi, Ortona dei Marsi, Pescasseroli, Scanno, Villavallelonga, Villetta Barrea. 

Picturelupo appenninico -the rare and endangered Apennine wolf

2. Maiella National Park: Part of the central Apennine chain, it is formed by ancient limestone deposits and has many fossils from 5 million years ago when this was part of an even more ancient sea bed. As a result here you can explore the many caves and grottoes throughout the national park – home to monks, hermits, shepherds and brigands over the ages. This park was formed more recently in and became part of the World Heritage list of National Parks.
Villages in this park total 39:
Abbateggio, Ateleta, Bolognano, Campo di Giove, Cansano, Caramanico Terme, Civitella Messer Raimondo, Corfinio, Fara San Martino, Gamberale, Guardiagrele, Lama dei Peligni, Lettomanoppello, Lettopalena, Manoppello, Montenerodomo, Pacentro, Palena, Palombaro, Pennapiedimonte, Pescocostanzo, Pettorano sul Gizio, Pizzoferrato, Popoli, Pratola Peligna, Pretoro, Rapino, Rivisondoli, Rocca Pia, Roccacasale, Roccamorice, Roccaraso, Salle, San Valentino in Abruzzo Citeriore, Sant’Eufemia a Maiella, Serramonacesca, Sulmona, Taranta Peligna, Tocco Da Casauria.



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3. Gran Sasso National Park: This park was officially recognised in 1991 and borders the other Italian regions of Le Marche and Lazio, but is mainly within Abruzzo. It is in this park where the highest peak of the Apennines is to be found – the mighty Gran Sasso National Park. There are at least 44 villages within the boundaries of this park, including:
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, Brittoli, Bussi sul Tirino, Carpineto della Nora, Castiglione a Casauria, Civitella Casanova, Corvara, Farindola, Montebello di Bertona, Pescosansonesco, Villa Celiera, 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.

All of Abruzzo’s national parks harbour truly amazing flora and fauna – like the rare marsican bear, the Apennine wolf, chamoix and deer. 

Luciana’s interesting programmes with Touring Abruzzo visit all these national parks:
For example: TASTES of ABRUZZO:  focuses on the Gran Sasso National park area;
BACK ROADS of ABRUZZO:  visits villages in the Maiella National Park and the Gran Sasso National park;
GRAND TOUR of ABRUZZO:   covers all three national parks, visiting villages, artisans and locals.