Abruzzo – the greenest area in Europe
Abruzzo has high mountains in the west and the coastline of the Adriatic Sea to the east and this makes the climate absolutely fantastic. It is green year around and yet not too hot.
Abruzzo [aˈbruttso] is a region of Italy. Its western border lies less than 50 miles (80 km) east of Rome and borders the region of Marche to the north, Lazio to the west and south-west, Molise to the south-east, and the Adriatic Sea to the east.
Abruzzo is split into a mountainous area in the west with the Gran Sasso and Majella, and into a coastal area on the eastern side with the beaches of the Adriatic sea. Abruzzo is considered part of Southern Italy, although geographically it is arguably more central than southern.
Abruzzo boasts the title of “Greenest Region in Europe” thanks to one third of its territory, the largest in Europe, being set aside as national parks and protected nature reserves. In the region there are three national parks, one regional park and 38 protected nature reserves. These protected areas ensure the survival of 75% of all of Europe’s living species and are also home to some rare species, such as the small wading dotterel, golden eagle, Abruzzo chamois, Apennine wolf and Marsican brown bear. Abruzzo is also home to Calderone, Europe’s southernmost glacier.
The region is located in central Italy, stretching from the heart of the Apennines to the Adriatic Sea, and includes mainly mountainous and wild land. The mountainous inland is occupied by a vast plateau including Gran Sasso, at 2,912 metres (9,554 ft) the highest peak of the Apennines, and Mount Majella 2,793 metres (9,163 ft). The Adriatic coastline is characterized by long sandy beaches to the north and pebbly beaches to the south. Abruzzo is well known for its landscapes and natural beauties, parks and nature reserves, characteristic hillside areas rich in vineyards and olive groves, and one of the highest densities of blue flag beaches.
The Abruzzo region has two types of climate: the first is strongly influenced by the presence of Abruzzo’s Apennines range, dividing the climate of the coastal and sub-Apennine hills from the interior’s high mountain ranges. Coastal areas have a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and mild winters and rainy hills with a sublittoral climate where temperatures progressively decrease with increasing altitude.
Natural environment and the mountains
Abruzzo National Park, Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park, Maiella National Park and Sirente-Velino Regional Park
As with many Mediterranean regions, Abruzzo’s vegetation is characterized by the presence of different Mediterranean ecosystems. The coast and the surrounding areas are characterized by the typical plants of Mediterranean shrubland, while in the hilly areas other species grow, including olive, pine, oak, acacia and almond trees.
At elevations between 600 and 1,000 metres (2,000 and 3,300 ft) there is sub-montane vegetation, mainly characterized by mixed forests. Elevations between 1,000 and 1,900 metres (3,300 and 6,200 ft) are dominated by beech trees. In the Apennine Mountains at elevations above 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) species include alpine orchid, mountain juniper, silver fir, black cranberry and the abruzzo edelweiss.
The fauna of Abruzzo is highly varied, including the region’s symbol, the Abruzzo chamois (see photo from one of our hikes below), which has recovered after risking extinction. Another animal typical of this region is the Marsican brown bear, along with Italian wolf, deer, lynx, roe deer, snow vole, fox, porcupine, wild cat, wild boar, badger, otter and viper.
The natural parks of the region include the Abruzzo National Park, the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park, the Maiella National Park and the Sirente-Velino Regional Park, as well as numerous others natural reserves and protected areas.
Come and visit and we will guide you to the best areas.
The Abruzzo chamois. This pictures was taken by Ingrid during the Fara San Martino hike in the Majella June 2014.
Facts and texts, with courtesy to Wikipedia