Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo Lazio e Molise

The Park flora is so rich and interesting that it has always been object of study. It is possible to list on the whole about 2,000 species of superior plants, that is without considering musks, lichens, algae, and mushrooms. Among the floristic peculiarities, Iris marsica stands out, an endemic species growing only in some locations and blooming between May and June. Moreover, there are several and multicolored orchids: the most beautiful, big, and rare is without a doubt the Yellow Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium calceolus), blooming in the most concealed corners between May and June.
Another rarity is represented by the Black Pine of Villetta Barrea (Pinus nigra), a relict species probably dating back to the Tertiary period; it is an exclusive variety of the Park which can be found in some areas of Camosciara and of Fondillo Valley. Among the spontaneous conifers there is the Swiss Mountain Pine (Pinus mugo), a glacial relict covering the vegetation strip between the beech tree wood and the high-mountain grassland, which can also be found mainly in the area of Camosciara. However, the dominating vegetal landscape consists of beech tree forests: the scientific name of this species, Fagus syIvatica, recalls its spontaneous origin on the mountains of the Italian Apennines, where the presence of beech trees dates back to dozens of centuries ago. As a matter of fact, the beech tree is the most common tree in the Park and generally grows between the 900 and the 1,800 meters of height. The beech tree woods cover more than 60% of the whole Park surface and concur in creating a landscape rich in colors, varying according to the season.

After years of intolerance and persecution, this area is now defended as a whole, thanks to the educational and safeguard activities carried out by the Park Authority during the last years. Visitors will not easily sight animals, because they are mainly fleeing, elusive, and cautios, maybe because they remember the negative experience they had with men. However, in some seasons of the year and in particular circumstances (peacefulness, silence, and respect of the environment), it is possible to observe also the most spectacular and representative animals of the Park, like the Abruzzi Chamois, the Marsican Brown Bear, the Wolf, the Deer, and the Golden Eagle. Today the Park houses a great variety of animals which lived in the past in a much larger area of the Apennines: 60 species of mammals, 300 of birds, 40 of reptiles, amphibians, and fish, and several species of insects including important endemic species.