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Travel ideas: Abruzzo National Park

Abruzzo National Park

The Abruzzo National Park was established in 1923 to safeguard its exceptional natural features and to save certain wild animals from extinction. It covers 50.000 hectares in the heart of the Central Apennines, between Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise and comprises 25 municipalities.

The territory of the Park consists mainly of a range of mountain chains, alternating rounded peaks, typical of the Apennines, with steep slopes with a typical Alpine appearance.

It is here, among remote valleys and glabrous mountains, that species such as the Marsican brown bear, golden eagle, Apennine wolf, deer, otter and chamois have found their refuge and habitat.

Abruzzo National Park is the ideal destination for a mountain holiday, whatever the season.

The symbolic animals of Abruzzo National Park

Bears, wolves, chamois, deer, roe deer and eagles are the most famous animals in the whole of the Apennines, undisputed symbols of the wild and uncontaminated nature that the Park safeguards and protects. Meeting them in their habitats, following a stalking or a chance sighting, is always a strong emotion that arouses admiration and wonder.
Let’s get to know them better!

Marsican brown bears

Marsican brown bear
The Marsican brown bear. Credits to: Gennaro Leonardi/Shutterstock

The Marsican brown bear is the absolute symbol of the Abruzzo National Park. It is a different subspecies from the Alpine bears and it is therefore exclusive to central Italy. It is a lazy, solitary and quiet animal that lives in the forests of the Park, but also in high-altitude grasslands at the edge of the forest. Sightings of bears are not very easy, but it is certainly easier to encounter signs of their presence, such as the characteristic footprints.


The wolf. Credits to: Giuma/Shuttestock

A fascinating presence, although not exclusive to the Park, is the Apennine wolf. He can live alone or in small herds. The wolf is a difficult animal to spot: mainly nocturnal, during the day it takes refuge in the wildest and most inaccessible places in the Park.


The chamois. Credits to: Fab38/Shutterstock

Among the protagonists of the Park’s fauna is the Apennine chamois. Thanks to the establishment of the Park and careful protection, this rare species has been saved from extinction. In the Park, it is present on most of the highest massifs.


A flock of deer. Credits to: Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock

At the beginning of the 1970s, the reintroduction of deer – which had disappeared in the protected area – was carried out in the Park. It is not difficult to observe deer grazing in the less sunny hours of the day; it is important not to get too close, not to disturb them or offer them food, but to observe them silently from a distance.

Roe deer

Roe deer
A couple of roe deer. Credits to: ValerioMei/Shutterstock

The roe deer, which had almost completely disappeared from the Park’s territory, were reintroduced with the red deer in the early 1970s. These graceful ungulates live at almost all altitudes.

Golden eagles

Golden eagle
The Golden eagle. Credits to: Buffy1982/Shutterstock

The place of honour among the Park’s birds goes to the golden eagle, a typical inhabitant of the highest and most inaccessible mountain ridges. In the Park, it is not difficult to spot it flying over the territory in search of prey.

Do you like hiking? 3 itineraries for you!

Itinerary 1 – The Fondillo Valley and the Jancino Valley

Opi Abruzzo National Park
The village of Opi in Abruzzo National Park. Credits to: Cristian Puscasu/Shutterstock

The Val Fondillo integral reserve area, in the Cacciagrande and Valle Jancino areas, is one of the five UNESCO sites of the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park. This is an enchanted place: the only strip of old-growth forest in the PNALM with a constant presence of water, as it is crossed by several streams.

These wild and damp beech forests are home to rare species such as the Apennine spotted salamander and the Venus’s slipper orchid. Here the world of the beech forest also comes into contact with the rocky world of the Camosciara: bears, woodpeckers and mushrooms meet gentians, chamois and golden eagles.

Duration: 3 hours

Location: Opi

Length: approximately 7 km

Height difference: 200 m

The hike takes place on mountain paths and mule tracks with easy ascents and descents.

Itinerary 2 – Rose Valley

Civitella Alfedena
The village of Civitella Alfedena in Abruzzo National Park. Credits to: Buffy1982/Shutterstock

Eight hundred metres of altitude difference encompassing a succession of exciting scenery. The path that climbs from the small village of Civitella Alfedena, through the Val di Rose to Forca Resuni is magnificent and varied.

You will walk at the top of your lungs through a beech forest, admiring splendid views of Lake Barrea and Monte Petroso. From the Cavuto Pass, you can look out over the depths of the Camosciara and from the historic park ranger’s refuge you can discover the Val Canneto and the Lazio side of the Park.

The itinerary ends with a descent into Val Risione and the beech forest of Valle Iannanghera, the best places to discover the characteristics of the Abruzzo National Park and the oldest protected area in Italy.

Duration: 6-7 hours

Location: Civitella Alfedena

Length: approximately 13 km

Height difference: 800 m

The hike does not present any particular technical difficulties, but a good level of physical fitness is required due to the length of the route and the height difference.

Itinerary 3 – Lake Scanno

Scanno Lake
Scanno Lake in Abruzzo National Park. Credits to: pixelshop/Shutterstock

In the heart of Abruzzo, there is a special path that leads to a slope from which a unique spectacle can be admired. From that perspective, Lake Scanno seems to be shaped like a heart.

All you have to do is follow the Sentiero del Cuore (Heart Trail) which, in about half an hour’s walk, will take you to a panoramic terrace from where you can admire this spectacle.

The Sentiero del Cuore starts at Lake Scanno and it is a road suitable for everyone.

Abruzzo National Park Visitor Centres

For any other typical information or help, we advise you to look for the Park’s Visitor Centres. The Visitor Centres are information, education and environmental interpretation structures located in the Park’s villages. They may also include museum displays, wildlife areas and botanical gardens.

Among the largest and most important are the one in Civitella Alfedena, the one in Pescasseroli, the one in Val Fondillo and the “MOrso” (Bear Museum) in Pizzone.

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