The Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park, located in the hearth of the Apennine mountains, is of the 3 national parks of Abruzzo. Opened in 1991, it is the third biggest natural reserve in Italy. The park, spread among Abruzzo, Lazio and Marche, is characterized by a mountainous landscape that encompasses three distinct groups: the Gran Sasso d’Italia range, with the highest Apennine peak (Corno Grande, 2912 mt.), the Monti della Laga mountain chain, and Monti Gemelli. In 1995, it was opened the Ente Parco, whose goal is to preserve and valorize the natural, historical, and culture resources of the territory. The Park encompasses 44 municipalities and is divided into 12 districts:
These 12 districts can be divided in 4 kinds of landscapes: the agrarian landscape, the mountain landscape, water, and hamlets. There are 2 biogeographical areas inside the park: the “Euro-Siberian region”, and the “Mediterranean region”. Thanks to its location, as well as its mountains height and the varied geology that characterizes its peaks, inside the park there is a rich variety of animal and vegetal species, along with a wide range of ecosystems and landscape that make this place truly unique. There are about 2,300 superior vegetal species, a third of the whole floristic patrimony of Italy. This makes it one of the most diverse protected areas in Europe. According to the research conducted on the territory, here you will can find: 139 Italian endemic plants, 12 plants endemic of the Park, 73 plants protected by international conventions, 67 protected by regional laws, 59 spontaneous orchids, and 2 carnivorous plants. When it comes to fauna, here we will find Abruzzo’s chamois, the Apennine wolf, and the brown Marsican bear – a proof of the efforts put in place by the Ente to keep and preserve the territory. The kingdom of amphibians is rich as well: there are 14 different species, with 4 species of marbled newt (the only case in Italy). The biological diversity that characterizes the park includes also the forests, that covers about half of the territory. Here we will find holm oak plantations, poplars, chestnut groves, beech trees, oaks, Turkey oaks, and so on. The areas put to pasture are also extremely widespread. In the southern area of the Park there are various meadows whose weeds make it the perfect meeting point for birds like the European nightjar, the calandrella, the Ortolan, and the crested lark.