The Thousand Tracks of the Abruzzo Moutains

Chamois – Photo ©

Inland Abruzzo, in other words the mountainous area, considering that 75% of regional territory lies over 700 metres in altitude, is certainly the most extraordinary and best preserved, with its many ancient hilltop villages and castles, medieval abbeys, unique food and culinary traditions, and its calendar of folklore and ancient traditions. As summer rolls in and the snows have all melted, the startling green of the beech forests and endless pastures make Abruzzo’s mountains truly irresistible.

The luxuriant flourish of nature paints the entire region with ripe splendour: the greenest woods and meadows in the slopes; mountain lakes at Campotosto, Scanno, Barrea, Bomba, Casoli and Penne; karst caves that make the slopes so distinctive; rolling plateaux dotted with pasturing cattle and sheep; the sweep of a countryside that bears no trace of steep, brooding mountain slopes; the sparkling fresh air ; the marvellous state of preservation of settlements, set in timeless landscapes. All this makes the mountains of Abruzzo a very special place, which can really steal a visitor’s heart. Proof lies, above all, in the huge number of “aficionados” who return every year to enjoy the beauty spots: when you fall in love with the mountains of Abruzzo, it is forever.

Barrea – Photo ©

With a third of its territory set aside as parkland, the region not only holds a cultural and civic record for protection of the environment, but also stands as the biggest nature area in Europe: the real green heart of the Mediterranean.

One third of Abruzzo lies in a protected area: three national parks, a regional park and more than 30 nature reserves. A idealistic and tough decision by those who made the environment their resource and will project Abruzzo into a major and leading role in “green tourism.”

Overall, most of this legacy – but not all – is to be found in the mountains, where the landscapes and ecosystems change according to altitude, shifting from typically Mediterranean milieus to outright alpine scenarios, with mugo pine groves and high-altitude steppe. Abruzzo’s mighty mountain system stretches to just a few dozen kilometres from the coast, with the taller peaks ranged behind like a spectacular balcony; the rest of the territory is occupied by hilly buttresses that gently slope down towards the sea. The narrow coastal strip, with the terminals of the river valleys, are the only low-altitude plains in the region.
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