In Abruzzo, Italy you will find the Majella National Park. The imposing mountain group is known to the locals as the Montagna Madre (Mother Mountain), and which was called by Pliny the Elder the Padre dei Monti (Mountains’ Father). Along with the Porrara, the Morrone and the Monte Pizzi, the Majella Massif makes up the Majella National Park, which spans the provinces of Pescara, L’Aquila and Chieti.
We would like to introduce you to the little details about Majella National Park, Abruzzo. This fascinating place is one of the many national parks worth visiting while you are in Italy!
History of Majella National Park
Let’s see a little bit of history of this gorgeous park. The Majella National Park was subject to an international geoscientific research project, known as TaskForceMajella from 1998 until 2005. The park sits on 740,95 km2 and from 21st of April 2021 is part of UNESCO Global Geopark under the name Majella Geopark.
There are several beautiful karst planes and valleys in this territory, as well as gorgeous mountains, the highest Majella peak being Monte Amaro. Here you can enjoy over 500 kilometres of trails through this mountainous region. There are several tourist centres dotted throughout the park. You can also find many features unique to the area and ample biodiversity.
Due to the destructive and intrusive actions of men over the centuries, several large herbivores in the area have become completely removed. These have become increasingly rare species. The Majella National Park acts to protect these animals so that they survive for future generations.
The chamois of the massif became extinct in the 19th century, while the roe and red deer are only present in small numbers. These deer have been successful in maintaining what population they have because they are able to exist in the harsh climate of the park. Another well-known animal colony of the Majella National Park, in Abruzzo, is the Apennine wolves.
Majella National Park Hiking
Due to the combined efforts of the government, WWF, and the locals, the animal situation in the national park has changed significantly over the last few years. While you are hiking in the Majella National Park you will be able to spot roe deer and deer in the clearings and in the woods. There are around 150 specimens of deer living in the national park.
The Abruzzi chamois is the most important animal to be found in the national park. It lives on the high meadows and summits of the area. Brown bears can also be found here alone with Apennine wolves and otters living along the Orta, Orfento, and Vella rivers.
The protection of the woods by authorities has allowed species like the spectacled salamander, the Apennine salamander, the yellow-bellied toad, goshawks, honey buzzards, white-backed woodpeckers, polecats, weasels, stone martens, martens, and wild cats to survive.
The harsh valleys of the Majella provide ideal conditions for the extremely rare lanners, peregrines, wall creepers, Alpine choughs, choughs, and Golden eagles, that are native to this area. Snow voles, Alpine accentors, snow finches, and Orsini’s Vipers can also be found at higher altitudes.
Flora in Majella Park
The Majella has also a unique vegetal heritage and much biodiversity. You can find more than 1,800 different vegetal species in the national park. In fact, one-third of all Italian Flora with Pyrenean, Arctic, Illyrian, Balkan, Alpine and Mediterranean elements can be found here. The beech woods here reach up to an altitude of 1,800 meters. Ash trees, hop hornbeams, Turkey oaks, maples, sorbs, and hollys are also part of the local flora. The Abruzzo region is fascinating in all kinds!
The high summits and the grasslands of the mountains remain covered with snow during the winter months. Several species that drifted to the Majella from the Adriatic Sea can also be found. When the glaciers withdrew from the area, a kind of genetic isolation occurred in the region. This led to the growth of several new and unique species such as the centaurea tenoreana, carex capillaries, juniperus sabina, adonis distorta, pinguicola fiorii, cypripendium calceolus, aquilegia magellensis, taraxacum glaciale, gentian magellensis, leontopodium nivale, ranunculus magellensis and viola magellensis.
Tourist Points of Interest Majella National Park, Abruzzo, Italy
There are several interesting places to visit in the Majella National Park. In every season, the park offers different settings and different types of beauty. Late spring is the time of blooming and, along with autumn, it is the best time to visit the many hermitages and towns in the region. Those who are planning to enjoy the Majella’s hiking trails should do so in the summer. October is best to view beech trees and their changing colours.
The town of Pacentro is located only 10 kilometres from Sulmona. Pacentro is one of the most important places to visit in the area. The town has an important cultural, historical and naturalistic heritage. The towers of the town’s castle stand in stark contrast to the lush green vegetation that surrounds it. Several of Pacentro’s ancient rituals, rites, folklore, and events survive to this day. The town is largely known for its gastronomical traditions and farming methods.
Tourist centers located in the park
Museo Naturalistico, Piazza Municipo, Fara San Martino
Maurizio Locati Visitor Center, Colle Madonna – A botanical garden as well as areas dedicated to chamois and archaeology.
Paolo Barrasso Visitor Center, Via del Vivaio, Caramanico Terme – Check here for fossils and other archaeology artifacts from the Upper Paleolithic to the Roman era.
Sant’Eufemia a Maiella, S.S. 487, Sant’Eufemia a Maiella – Includes a botanical garden.
Majella National Park Itinerary
There are many hiking trails in the park to explore, and several different itineraries to help you discover the park’s hidden gems. Some of these routes can be demanding, long and tiring and would be suitable for those who are a little experienced.
There are also many trekking routes that are suitable for those who are still new to outdoor activities. Entrance to the national park is free and the park authorities provide plenty of amenities and facilities for visitors. On foot, you can explore the mountains and woods as well as view the cave paintings in the Grotta S. Angelo and the Grotta del Cavallone. Some itinerary ideas:
1. Serramonacesca – San Liberatore – Majella – Castelmenardo – Hermitage of Sant’Onofrio
2. Roccamorice – San Bartolomeo in Iegio – Santo Spirito – Majella
3. Orfento Ring Route: A tour of the Orfento Valley, you must advise the Visitor Center in Caramanico before beginning.
4. Colle delle Vacche – Hermitage of San Pietro – Monte Morrone (the mountain hut will soon be renovated to be available for hikers).
5. Majelletta – Anfiteatro delle Murelle – Monte Focalone: The classic Majella hike it is usually very busy and offers glorious views.
6. Val Serviera Ring – Route of Vallone di Santo Spirito: The best hike to explore the deep eastern valleys of Majella.
7. Fonte Romana to Monte Amaro: Best for experienced hikers it is a good way to reach the summit of Majella.
8. Quarto del Barone – Fonte Cernaia – Monte Secine (this hike is best avoided in the spring when the area becomes muddy and swamp-like)
Why you shouldn’t miss out visiting Majella National Park
We hope to have convinced you of visiting Majella National Park, Abruzzo. Learning about Abruzzo, Italy has been such a pleasure, it is truly a unique little gem in Italy. We understand more and more of the importance of national parks, what it means to keep the animals and nature safe. Despite that, we can still visit the parks, we just have to do it in a safe way.
We have learnt today about the flora, fauna, history of Majella National Park as well as about hiking. If you wish to discover the wildlife and biodiversity of this place, please do use our itinerary and let us know if you have found any other interesting activities while visiting Majella National Park.