A Walk in the Park or in the Sky
Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Molise e Lazio
Imagine driving out of New York City at 10 am and being in Yellowstone Park before noon. If that idea appeals to you, leave Rome or Naples at 10 and you too can enjoy one of the five best National Parks in Europe (Lonely Planet Guide 2011) - the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Molise and Lazio.
Wild and remote, the haunt of deer, wild boar, wolves and bear. Walk or ski or simply enjoy nature. Have lunch at il Barracone at Prati di Mezzo - only 20 minutes from the Piazza in Picinisco.
Monte Meta, at 2241 metres, has for centuries been lauded as having the most spectacular views, and the best guides were to be found in Picinisco (John Murray’s Guide to Southern Italy 1855). The same is true today.
These days, Picinisco exists as the one of the gateways to the Park, which is among modern Italy's proudest accomplishments. A 150,000-acre protected area crossed by only one paved road (although there are countless unpaved roads for cyclists), it receives two million visitors a year. Like most of them, you should stop off at one of the park's seven visitors centers to select maps and information about 150 marked walking itineraries of various length and difficulty.
Two-thirds of the park's surface is covered with huge forests of beech, pine, fir, oak, yew, ash, maple, wild oak and other trees, home to a handful of formerly endangered species: the Apennine wolf, Marsican bear, fox, mountain goat and Apennine lynx. Small groups of these animals thrive here now, alongside myriad other wild species which are occasionally supplemented by large herds of domesticated sheep. For centuries, local shepherds have practiced the custom of "transhumance," moving their flocks down to the warmer pastures near Rome and Naples in fall and back in spring, following the same ageold tratturi (trails)
Let us organise a guided walk for you in the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio & Molise.
Depending on the season you might see bears, wolves, boar, deer and eagles.
A half day or full day walk or trek will be tailored to your ability and include a short break for a typical snack lunch.
If you are a very early riser and a confident walker, you might plan to reach the summit of Monte Meta - the only place in Italy where on a clear day yoou can see the Tyrhennian and Adriatic Seas. See Vesuvius and the island of Ischia from the sky!