Visiting the National Park of Abruzzo

Marsican bearAbout 50 miles outside of Rome is Pescasseroli, a very popular and picturesque resort, ideally situated in natural surroundings. While the resort itself is certainly worthy of a visit, the surrounding park is what should really draw you to the area.

Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, or the National Park of Abruzzo is 150,000 acres of protected natural lands crossed only by a single paved road. The park resembles Yellowstone in the United States, but is located only an hour or so outside of the hustle and bustle of the Italian capital city.

Inside the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzz, you’ll find seven visitor’s centers with maps and information about the 150 marked hiking trails throughout the park as well as the numerous dirt roads ideal for exploring the park on bicycle.

Each trail or walk is numbered to make it easy to navigate through the forests and hills. Trail 5 is one of the most popular in the park, so you might do well to avoid it on busy summer weekends, but if you can find a chance to walk the trail on an off peak day, the five hour round-trip adventure will offer you glimpses of the many animals living inside the national park including mountain goats and deer.

Other wildlife inside Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo includes a few of what were once endangered species. As you hike or bike, be on the look out for the Apennine wolf, Marsican bear, fox, mountain goat and Apennine lynx. Domestic sheep thrive among many other bands of wild animals living in the park. The sheep arrive when shepherds move their flocks toward warmer pastures in the spring and back again in the fall.

Trails vary from thirty minute strolls through huge forests of maple and beech trees to more strenuous all-day explorations of the mountains and treasures hidden inside the trees of higher altitudes. For a true adventure, take trail BN1 to the ruins of the Mancino castle. You’ll hike through the black pine forest for a bit less than an hour, but upon arrival will have the opportunity to see wildlife up close in the zoo reserves.

In these wildlife areas, you are able to approach animals with great caution. If you are brave enough to visit with the semi-tamed wolves, deer and mountain goats, you’ll have a truly remarkable memory of this wilderness jewel nestled just a short drive from Rome.