Campania Parks: sustainable tourism in the region's protected areas
1. Vesuvius National Park: Travelling the Gran Cono
The start of your journey in the Divine Campania is around the famous volcano, whose thousand-year-old breath you can almost feel.
Created to preserve animal and plant species, geological singularities and the ecological balance of the area, the Vesuvius National Park comprises no less than 13 municipalities in the Neapolitan area and covers an area with a dense network of trails: 11 in total, with a total length of 54 kilometres.
You can choose between different types of trails and opt for the circular nature trails, the educational trail or the scenic and agricultural trails.
Above all, it is the experience of trekking to the top of the crater that will leave you breathless.
You have two options for ascending the Gran Cono path: walk along the western part of the crater rim or walk the entire rim with a guided tour. In any case, the walk along Vesuvius, an active but dormant volcano, will be a pure emotion and will give you a wide view, stretching from Campania to Lazio.
Also worth a visit is the Vesuvius National Park Museum in Boscoreale, located in the Villa Regina cultural centre.
Here you can learn about the geological evolution of the Somma-Vesuvius volcanic complex, thanks to a series of information panels and multimedia installations, as well as the development of biodiversity.
2. Grassano Park: naturalistic pearl of the Benevento area
The tour continues in the Benevento area, a few kilometres from Telese Terme. Nestled in the Telesina Valley, far from the cities and coastal areas, is the Grassano Park, a true naturalistic gem. It is three of the most sought-after oases, with its 120,000 square metres of greenery, winding between Roman ruins, medieval castles and quaint villages.
The area is full of enchanting views and plays of transparency. Such as those along the Rio Grassano, whose crystal-clear waters bathe the park and lend it its name.
Not only can you cross the river in a canoe, but you can bring your little ones along and let them have fun in the play area or simply relax and eat outside in the picnic areas.
3. Partenio Regional Park: precious green lung
Here is the third route: more than 14,000 hectares of the Partenio Regional Park. What will enchant you is the almost total forest cover on each plateau, an unbroken cloak of chestnut and beech forests, but also the views offered by the peaks of Montevergine.
Numerous caves are located along the territory, which embraces the Apennine part and the adjacent valleys of the Valle Caudina, Sabato and Vallo di Lauro-Baianese.
You will be struck by the high faunal biodiversity of this precious green lung, from reptiles to the 70 species of birds that choose the park as their ideal nesting habitat. Then there are the mammals, more difficult to spot because they are particularly shy, but whose presence is marked by the many footprints. These include those of the wolf.
4. Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni National Park
The fourth site would deserve a visit spread over several days, due to its enormous size. The Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni National Park is, in fact, the second largest in Italy and embraces 80 municipalities, from the Tyrrhenian coast to the Apennines.
Reaching every single corner of this wonderful area is the ideal way to discover its nature, history and culture. But if you don't have enough time to do all the stops, then we recommend a visit to the Museo del Paesaggio e della Natura, in Santa Maria di Castellabate, set up in Villa Matarazzo. You will get to know the three habitats that characterise the park: the Calore River, Mount Cervati and the Cilentana Coast, and you will quickly have a glimpse of the territory with its typical flora and fauna.
But there are at least two other destinations that you absolutely cannot miss: the Capelli di Venere waterfall, at the WWF Bussento Caves oasis, in Morigerati, with its fairy-tale atmosphere, and the beaches that stretch from Ascea to Camerota. Here, in August, you may witness an unforgettable event: the hatching of the nests of the sea turtles.