8 Beautiful The National Parks of Italy
By: Liz Flynn
Italy is well-known as a country with diverse and natural beauty. Each region has its own geographical features that make it unique. Some of the most beautiful places to visit in this country are the National Parks. Although there are 24 to choose from, here are eight of the best.
Located off the north-western coast of Sardinia lies the tiny island of Asinara. It has been a National Park since 1997 and has a protected marine area and an official nature reserve. Other than the wildlife, this 52-kilometer square island is completely uninhabited.
Cilento and Vallo di Diano
This is the second largest of the National Parks and is located in the southern part of the Campania region. It became a National Park in 1991 and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. The park covers 1,810 square kilometres and stretches along the Tyrrhenian coast from Agropoli to Sapri.
Just west of La Spezia on the coastline of Liguria lies Cinque Terre National Park. It consists of five villages, including Corniglia, Manarola, Monterosso al Mare, Riomaggiore and Vernazza. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Graian Alps in north-west Italy are home to the Gran Paradiso National Park and it covers areas of both the Aosta Valley and Piedmont regions of the country. It lies next to the Vanoise National Park in France. When the areas of these two parks are combined, it constitutes the largest protected area in Europe.
This has been a National Park since 1992 and is in the regions of Basilicata and Calabria. It is the largest of the Italian National Parks as it covers 1,925 square kilometres. This mountainous park is enjoyed by nature lovers as it is filled with wildlife, many of which are endangered. Climbing, trekking and water rafting are also popular at the park.
Located in the Calabria region, this park was established in 1997 and is spread over three provinces. The landscape of this National Park includes mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes.
Stelvio National Park is bordered by the Lombardy and Trentino-Alto Adige regions of Italy and also by Switzerland. This is a mountainous park that covers only 1,300 square kilometres. There are small alpine villages, farms, valleys and large forests. However, the most spectacular features are glaciers, glacial lakes, mountain peaks, and waterfalls.
This is a group of Tuscan Islands that includes Capraia, Elba, Giannutri, Gorgona, Montecristo, and Pianosa. This is the largest protected marine park in Europe and is also a great place for birdwatchers as the islands are a sanctuary for birds traveling between Europe and Africa.