Abruzzo is known as the 'green region of Europe', with over a third of its surface protected. In the national parks, the uncontaminated landscape goes from excessive to majestic. At 2912m, Corno Grande, in the Gran Sasso range, is the highest of the Abruzzo mountains.
There are 17 ski resorts in the region. The ski season can continue until April and the slopes are said to be central Italy's finest. The rich and diverse range of ski resorts and pistes is ideal for keen sportsmen, beginners and families. As well as ski-ing, Abruzzo offers snowboarding, dog-sledding and cross-country ski-ing.
The close network of regional and state nature reserves ensure that the natural world of Abruzzo is well-protected and can be enjoyed by sport and nature lovers alike.
The National park of Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga stetches across an area of almost 600 miles. Gran Sasso has high and steep rocky cliffs, whilst Monti della Laga has numerous small valleys, through which fast flowing rivers descend, forming many waterfalls. There are a lot of interesting walks to enjoy, including one along the Valley of 100 Waterfalls. In autumn, the rich shades of the trees are breath-taking, whilst in spring, the colourful displays of wild flowers, many rare species, are truly beautiful.
The amazing pleateau 'Campo Imperatore' forms the heart of the highest ski area in Abruzzo, known as 'little Tibet'. Here, there are many well-marked walking trails, and there's sure to be a mountain restaurant or two at the end of the trail, where you can reward your exertions with a leisurely lunch. Or, use one of the permanent stone barbecues, situated amongst glorious beech woods and rocky outcrops.
In winter, Campo Imperatore is a fascinating snow-covered desert, ideal for cross-country skiing. In spring and summer, trekking, bird and animal watching, and rock climbing can be enjoyed. A cable car ride offers panoramic views for many miles, and is great fun for all the family.
North of Campo Imperatore you will find a unique natural phenomenon, the Calderone glacier, which is the Apennines' only glacier and the most southern in Europe.
The National Park of Abruzzo consists mainly of a chain of mountains whose altitudes range from 900 - 2000 metres. The mountains have not only the rounded peaks of the Apennine chain, but also the steep-sided, sharp-pointed peaks more typical of the Alps. The landscape is therefore varied and particularly spectacular.
The National Park of Maiella contains many deep valleys and caves. There are numerous evocative springs, pastures rich with flowers and aromatic herbs, plus extensive beech, oak and pine woods. The Maiella has always been defined as the ''Montagna Madre" (Mother Mountain) and it is a territory where man has lived in harmony with nature for many centuries.