Aspromonte National Park, the sixth national park to have been established in Italy, in conflict with that of the Sila for which it is the most Calabrian, extensive and beautiful. Without entering into the dispute, we can visit both and make our own ranking, enjoying the precious nature of a region that hides beauty even far from the sea.
Aspromonte National Park: where it is located
The Aspromonte National Park it is located around and at the top and on the slopes of the Aspromonte massif. Its green embrace extends over over 40 municipalities, all in the province of Reggio Calabria, including Africo, Platì, obviously Reggio Calabria, Roccaforte del Greco, Sant'Agata del Bianco, San Luca, Scilla and, last in alphabetical order, Varapodio.
The Aspromonte is located within the complex of Calabrian Alps, is characterized by granite and metamorphic rocks, and is of more ancient origins than the Apennines. Jagged and varied, it has on its Tyrrhenian side a system of faults that gives four spectacular terraces at different heights, on the Ionic the eyes relax following uniform slopes, up to the coast.
The territory of the Aspromonte National Park it is crossed by short streams, lively streams that in winter create suggestive waterfalls while in summer they even run dry. The current surface of the Aspromonte National Park it is over 64 thousand hectares. You arrive in this kingdom by car, taking the A3 motorway, exiting at Bagnara Calabra and continuing along the SS. 112 for Sant’Eufemia d’Aspromonte - Gambarie.
Or by train, getting off at the station of Villa S.Giovanni and Reggio Calabria. Coming from far away, it is better to approach by plane, landing at the airport of the Strait of Reggio Calabria or to the international one of Lamezia Terme.
Aspromonte National Park: what to see
Before you know what to see in the Aspromonte National Park, here is where to go, once arrived, to understand what we really want to see. In fact, the best thing is to start the visit with a detour to the Park centers located throughout the area that dispense information material on the protected area as well as gadgets, guides, maps and various publications. Before leaving, we begin to taste what awaits us.
The wonders of the villages hosted in Aspromonte National Park which boast an ancient history. They are rich in remains that tell of distant times, of Magna Graecia, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. You can relax in their narrow streets, stop in the small squares, visit the ancient churches and enjoy fascinating panoramic views.
If we are lucky, or shrewd, we can also come across one of the many cultural events or festivals of typical local products. I will mention only a few, well known: bergamot, the Aspromonte potato, Limina goats, smoked ricotta from Mammola, nougat, Greco Passito wine and caciocavallo from Ciminà. Among the places to visit the map you will see is dotted with, Africo council with the church of San Leo, the Sanctuary of San Nicodemo of the X century, on the Limina plateau, Bova with its Norman castle and Gerace, the main art city of Aspromonte.
Having a little more time, Mammola awaits us with its irresistible mix of art and gastronomy, and then there would be Aspromonte sanctuaries. The best known is the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Montagna di Polsi, in San Luca.
Aspromonte National Park: map
From the map of Aspromonte National Park it is possible to understand the great variety of plant species that inhabit it, creating different micro-worlds from area to area. Near the waterways there are oleanders and tamarisks, along the rivers it is possible to admire the black poplar, the willow and the black alder.
At low altitude we start with the fragrant and wild Mediterranean scrub and as we go up we pass to the splendid holm oak forests, then to centuries-old chestnut trees and various fir trees. Widespread right in Aspromonte National Park, is the silver fir: long-lived, slender and majestic.
On the map it is easy to identify two sides of the massif, but not the vegetation that covers them. On the Tyrrhenian we expect the larch pine while the ionic is with bergamot. If we are lucky or good observers, turning to the Aspromonte National Park we can also find a great rarity: the tropical fern.
A rich flora suggests an equally populous fauna and also from this point of view the Park will not disappoint us. In fact it is considered an excellent refuge for the wolf, it also hosts the wild cat, the boar and the dormouse. A peculiarity that intrigues is the black squirrel, in addition to the happy presence of roe deer that have returned since the end of 2011 thanks to a repopulation project dedicated to them.
Aspromonte National Park Authority
L'Aspromonte National Park Authority it starts from the Framework Law on Protected Areas of 6 December 1991 but does not come into being with the current perimeter. Initially in 1994 the protected area was 76 thousand hectares, based on what was then made a Regulatory Plan, envisaged in 2003 and approved in 2007.
After various vicissitudes that see theAspromonte National Park Authority in the center or in any case involved, the current 64,153 hectares have been reached, over 11 thousand less than the initial ones. This withdrawal of hectares has cost the Aspromonte National Park the record as the largest entirely Calabrian park in the region. At the moment, the Sila National Park.
Aspromonte National Park: coat of arms
The coat of arms of the Aspromonte National Park it is the identification and protagonist of this lively reality. The colors say so, recalling those of nature and the animated villages that are located in the protected territory. The coat of arms also bears the pride of a proud and Calabrian reality like theRegional Observatory for Biodiversity.
It was born from the collaboration between the Aspromonte National Park and the University of Calabria to spread knowledge of the flora, fauna, habitats and ecosystems of Calabria. It also includes and offers us an open archive with a section of special content exclusively on Calabria relating to climate change, environmental problems and the interesting classifications of marine or plant species, even rare.
Aspromonte National Park Authority: official website
If there is any curiosity outstanding about the Aspromonte National Park and that it can be satisfied remotely, without already landing at the foot of this granite massif, you can consult the official site. In addition to in-depth descriptions of the beauty of the park offers detailed information for staying overnight, for walks and to travel a little more with your mind before returning to our home, far away from both the black squirrel and the silver fir.
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