Italian National Parks

Immerse yourself in the wilder side of Italia

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Ronnie McCluskey

Ronnie McCluskey
HomeAway travel expert


Italian national parkIt may come as some surprise to learn that the National Parks of Italy make up somewhere in the region of 5% of the country’s territory. That’s 24 designated regions of exceptional beauty away from the urban madness of Rome and Milan that have been specifically selected for conservation purposes. You may already be familiar with one or two of them – the area surrounding the fearsome yet breathtaking volcano Vesuvius and the marine pleasures of Arcipelago di La Maddalina spring immediately to mind – but you can just as easily find all you desire in some of the lesser-travelled locales. 

Whatever you’re looking to gain from your holiday experience, you can’t go wrong with a trip to the Italian National Parks. With activities on hand to appease even the most hardcore outdoor enthusiast, and Mother Nature providing many a Kodak moment, it’s just a case of narrowing it down to the perfect destination for you.

 

Top five Italian National Parks


   

Gran Paradiso Gran Paradiso

Arguably the most eye-catching of the country’s National Parks, Grand Paradiso also happens to be the oldest. Handed its status in 1922 by King Vittorio Emanuele III in an attempt to preserve the threatened ibex population, the region stands firm to this day as a snapshot of traditional Alpine life. Scattered with quaint hamlets, hunting lodges and isolated chapels, its glacial valley ‘Orco’ is especially enchanting. The best views can be found at the 2,500m peak of the Nivolet, a sweeping plateau that can be reached on foot, by bike or shuttle bus.

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Abruzzo Abruzzo

The thought of spending your holiday in the company of wolves and bears may at first seem an altogether terrifying proposition – but Abruzzo National Park prides itself on its efforts to protect these magnificent creatures. Sightings of the animals are relatively rare, but even if you aren’t one of the fortunate few, you’re still sure to be overawed by this forest haven. There are hiking trails aplenty leading you through the maze of pines and beeches, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also embark on a canoeing trip down the Sangro River.

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Vesuvius Vesuvius

Everyone knows the tragic tale of the 79AD eruption that destroyed the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, but almost 2,000 years on, the responsible volcano makes for a dramatic backdrop. The aforementioned towns are, of course, popular with tourists, but the chance to make an unsettling trek to the lip of an active volcano is the big selling point of the Vesuvius National Park. Its proximity to the city of Naples also renders it perfect for blending your outdoors experience with a taste of authentic Campanian urban culture. 

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Aspromonte Aspromonte

Few regions of Italy, or indeed mainland Europe, can boast so much in the way of variety as Aspromonte. On one hand, the expanse of the park along the luscious Mediterranean coastline emerges as a colossal granite pyramid, canyons and streams cascading towards the summit of Monte Cocuzzo. Travel further inland and the slopes give way to a landscape of colourful olive groves and peaceful countryside, the perfect habitat for wildlife such as otters, wild cats and eagles. 

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Arcipelago di La Maddalina Arcipelago di La Maddalina

For a more relaxing National Park experience, the Maddalina Archipelago might just be your finest option. There’s no shortage of picturesque scenery here, the seven islands that comprise the area flanked by some of the bluest waters you’re ever likely to clap eyes on. It’s this feature, first and foremost, that distinguishes the park. The alcoves and beaches surrounding the archipelago are secluded enough to unwind, but why not strap on your snorkel and go exploring? A boat cruise is the best way to see everything this Sardinian paradise has to offer.

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Holiday Rentals in Italy

Isola Vista Terrazzo - A paradise on the Central Lake!

Situated on the sunny Sala Comacina hillside amongst olive groves with breathtaking lake views this property (ID 955) provides the ideal escape for families wanting to be close to the attraction with the benefits of seclusion. The property enjoys...

Villa Al Lago - Lakefront living on the central lake!

Enjoying close proximity to the famous attractions, activities and golden triangle towns of Lake Como this beautiful lakeside villa (ID 947) is situated along the tranquil San Siro and boasting private outdoor grounds ideal for medium sized groups...

Argento Chalet Apartment - Perfect hideaway just 500m from Ski Lift!

**SPECIAL OFFER** Skipass is included for the following periods: From the 23rd of November to the 21st of December 2014. From 11th of April to the 2nd of May 2015. 15% discount on group lessons at the Scuola Ski Livigno Galli Fedele, and 20% disco...

COZY FLAT IN VENICE, NEAR THE ROMANTIC AND LIVELY ZATTERE

LOCATION: This flat is located one bridge and two passes from the beautiful Zattere and Campo Santa Margherita. Here you will find the locals soaking up the sun, sipping on a spritz, enjoying the many outdoor restaurants and café’s. The closest V...

Honeymoon Chalet Apartment - Romance on the slopes!

**SPECIAL OFFER** Skipass is included for the following periods: From the 23rd of November to the 21st of December 2014. From 11th of April to the 2nd of May 2015. 15% discount on group lessons at the Scuola Ski Livigno Galli Fedele, and 20% disco...
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