Sirente-Velino Natural Park - Abruzzo

Sirente-Velino Natural Park - Abruzzo

Type of protected area - Where it is located

Typology: Regional Natural Park; established with LL.RR. July 13, 1989, n. 54; June 11, 1992, n. 43; December 30, 1992, n. 106.
Region: Abruzzo
Province: LAquila

The Sirente-Velino Regional Natural Park occupies an area of ​​50,288 hectares in the heart of Abruzzo, south of LAquila; affects the municipalities of Acciano, Aielli, Castel di Ieri, Castelvecchio Subequo, Celano, Cerchio, Fagnano, Fontecchio, Gagliano Aterno, Goriano Sicoli, Magliano dei Marsi, Massa dAlbe, Molina Aterno, Ocre, Ovindoli, Pescina, Rocca di Cambio, Rocca between, Secinaro, Collarmele and Tione degli Abruzzi (in the province of LAquila).

Piana dei Cavalli (2,119 m), at the foot of Monte Sevice (photo


Geographical heart of the Abruzzo mountains, the Velino (2,487 m) and Sirente (2,349 m) offer those who visit the valleys, the highlands and the peaks all the reasons of interest of the highest massifs of the Apennines. Rocky walls, canyons, glacial cirques, erosion-shaped ridges make up a spectacular high mountain environment. Beech forests and high altitude grasslands, karst phenomena and blooms, the presence of the wolf and the eagle (to which the deer and the griffin have been added for some years) complete the picture. The choice of paths and excursions on skis makes these mountains a school of Appennino2 within reach of citizens of most of central Italy.
Many and of great interest are the historical evidences present in the Park or a short distance from its borders: the ruins of Alba Fucens (the most famous ancient city of Abruzzo), the necropolis of Fossa, the castles dOcre and Celano (an imposing fortress started around 1392 and finished after 1463 by the Piccolomini), the Romanesque churches of San Pietro di Alba Fucens and Santa Maria in Valle Porclaneta, the historic center of Fontecchio (with streets, arches and medieval-style shops), the rustic straw houses of Fontecchio and Tione (abandoned in the 70s, they were villages used in summer by the farmers and breeders of the underlying countries).
The Velino and Sirente massifs, separated by the wide expanse of the Rocche plateau, offer the most typical limestone landscape of the central Apennines. Their rocks, which formed between 130 million years ago in the Cretaceous period and 25 million in the Miocene period, show visitors to the park the karst expanses of the Piano di Pezza, the Piano di Campo Felice and the Prati del Sirente and the spectacular gorges rocks of Celano and San Venanzio. Not far from the course of the Aterno are the Stiffe Caves and higher up the vertical limestone walls of the Sirente. At the foot of the mountain, towards the basin of LAquila, the colossal sinkholes of Monticchio and Fossa Raganesca open. Then there are the valleys shaped by the glaciers of the past, starting with the Teve Valley, the Puzzillo basin and the splendid Majelana Valley. The colossal screes formed by the flaking of the rocks are clearly visible even from a distance. The karst fields, the sinkholes, the glacial circuses can be observed almost everywhere.

Flora and fauna

The harsh climate - the Velino and Sirente are the Apennine massifs furthest from the sea - makes it possible to have plants in the Park that normally live in colder places. Up to about 1,000 meters, the vegetation is dominated by oaks, and in particular by downy oak. More localized is the presence of Turkey oak and wild hazel. Interesting, in some low-altitude areas such as the mouth of the Teve Valley, is the presence of a Mediterranean species such as holm oak. Higher up, and up to the limit of the arboreal vegetation, it is the beech tree that dominates the plant landscape of the Park. The most beautiful beech forests of the massif - among these the forests of the upper Teve Valley, the Cerasolo wood and the extraordinary beech forest that stretches at the foot of the entire northern slope of Sirente - are certainly at the height of the most famous ones of the Abruzzo National Park and the Monti della Laga. At low altitude, the beech is sporadically accompanied by mountain maple, allorniello, aspen and rowan bird. Birch grows in the upper Teve Valley. Beyond the limit of arboreal vegetation, and therefore above 1,700-1,800 meters, the high altitude grasslands extend to the highest peaks, where however the rocky aspect is prevalent. Saxifrages and rare species such as the Apennine potentilla, the Linneian dripid, the linear Allium also grow on the steepest and most impervious scree. Junipers cling to the harshest rocky ridges. Extraordinary, at all odds, is the variety of blooms. Among the most beautiful species, the martagon lily and the red lily, the greater gentian and the gentian, the saxifrage, laquilegia, the narcissus of poets and many wild orchids. In the past, the mountains of Abruzzo have been deforested to make way for flocks. In more recent times, reforestation has seen almost exclusively the use of a resistant essence such as black pine.
The presence of the Marsican bear has been repeatedly reported in the Sirente-Velino Park. Among the mammals are added the wild boar, the fox, the dormouse, the weasel, the marten, the wild cat, the marten, the squirrel, the hare. The wolf is certainly present in the protected area. There are about a hundred deer present, reintroduced on the Velino by the State Forestry Corps at the beginning of the 1990s. The reintroduction of the Abruzzo chamois could also take place quickly. Among the birds, the golden eagle nests in the Teve Valley, in the Majelana Valley and in the Celano Gorges. Among the birds of prey there are also the kestrel, the buzzard, the sparrow hawk, the peregrine falcon, lastore, the lanner falcon, the lesser kestrel, the griffin (introduced since 1994). Among the nocturnal birds of prey we point out the eagle owl, the common owl, the owl. Gray partridges, partridges, partridges are slowly recovering. In the Rocca di mezzo area, the white stork has been breeding for some years.

Lake Fucino

At one time, at the foot of the Velino and Sirente rivers, Lake Fucino was located, which with its 160 sq km was one of the largest natural basins of the Peninsula. On its shores the man settled since the Bronze and Iron Age. The basin maintained this aspect even after the Roman conquest. First of all, the engineers of Rome traced via Tiburtina Valeria at the foot of the Velino, the main communication route between the Adriatic and the Tyrrhenian. Then they set out on an even more grandiose work: the drying up of the lake. Started under Claudio, the emptying works lasted eleven years and ended in 52 AD. under the reign of Nero. In the Middle Ages, due to the lack of maintenance, the construction of the imperial emissary again filled the basin with water. Meanwhile, on all sides of Sirente and Velino, the civilization of medieval Abruzzo had seen since the year 1000 an exceptional flowering of castles, fortified villages, churches and abbeys. It was Francesco I of Bourbon who started the reclamation for the second time. In 1854 the last king of Naples gave the works for the second reclamation to Duke Alessandro Torlonia. In 1875 the works ended the solemn inauguration of the Incìle, the capture supervised by a large statue of the Madonna where the waters of the plain disappear underground. The definitive arrangement of the basin, however, continued until 1887. Divided into 497 plots of 25 hectares each, the new lands of the basin saw thousands of laborers at work.

Monte Velino - Sirente-Velino Natural Park (photo

Information for the visit

How to get:
- By car: using the A24 Roma-Teramo and the A25 Roma-Pescara, and continuing along the Statali 5 bis, 261, 578 and 584.
- By bus: ARPA vehicles connect LAquila, Avezzano and Sulmona with all the park centers.
- By train: the FFSS Rome-Pescara line runs along the southern border of the Park, while LAquila-Sulmona (slow but picturesque) runs through the Aterno Valley. The most convenient solution is to get off at Avezzano station and continue by bus.

Visitor Centers:
- Information Offices: Acciano, Aielli, Castelvecchio Subequo, Celano, Goriano Sicoli, LAquila, Magliano de Marsi, Rocca di Cambio, Rocca di Mezzo and San Panfilo dOcre;
- Visitor Center with adjoining Botanical Garden in Magliano d Marsi;
- Chamois wildlife area in Oak;
- Fauna area of ​​Capriolo in Fontecchio;
- Lupo wildlife area in Rocca di Cambio;
- Museum of the Earth in Ovindoli;
- National Museum of Sacred Art of Marsica and Museum of Prehistory in Celano.

Sirente-Velino Natural Park Authority
Viale XXIV Maggio
67048 Rocca di Mezzo (AQ)
Website: www.s

Video: A wolf howling session in the Sirente-Velino Natural Regional Park - Italy (January 2022).