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Geocaching in nature parks to prolong the holiday mood

4 minutes

Geocaching is a kind of treasure hunt: the participants, armed with GPS devices, go in search of geocaches, containers of various sizes and types, hidden in the most remote places.

Originally conceived as a game, the experience has turned into an opportunity to extend the holiday mood. Perhaps in nature reserves, places where you can take refuge from the summer heat and appreciate the beauty of the outdoors. But how does a treasure hunt work? Let's find out together.

1. Geocaching at the Lagoni di Mercurago Park

South of the moraine hills, along the Piedmont shore of Lake Maggiore, there is a protected natural area: this is the Lagoni di Mercurago Park, an oasis of peace declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011 and included in the 111 prehistoric pile-dwelling sites of the Alps.

The area lends itself well to Geocaching. We are in Dormelletto, in the province of Novara. In this wonderful park, inhabited since the Bronze Age and in Roman times (as evidenced by the discovery of numerous archaeological finds in the peat bogs, including the remains of pile dwellings, Roman domus, wooden wheels, pirogues made from tree trunks, weapons, metal ornaments and ceramic objects), several caches have been distributed.

As geo-hunters, all you have to do is equip yourself with a map, which can also be downloaded in PDF format from the official website, to better study the park's routes and start your search. All caches are positioned in such a way that they do not harm the environment. The complete set contains 10 of them: inside each one is a tag marked with a letter and a number.

Once you have collected the ten clues, you can calculate the coordinates of the bonus cache.

To make the 'treasure hunt' more fun, not all the clues are clear; on the contrary: some are deliberately difficult to decipher or well hidden. But in principle, the park area allows a relaxed search.

2. Geocaching in Frignano Park

Geocaching enthusiasts will also be able to have fun on the ridges of the Modena Apennines. The area of interest is that of the Parco del (Frignano Park), with its more than 15,000 hectares, an area ranging from 500 metres above sea level to the more than 2,000 metres of the Cimone peak.

Within this naturalistically rich and varied environment, you can hunt for caches and, at the same time, marvel at unique habitats whose biodiversity encourages the growth of rare animal and plant species. Using your GPS, you will find the descriptions and geographical coordinates where the small containers hidden by the 'hiders' are located, and set off in search of them, amidst clues and hints, in the cool of the beech forests.

It’s a fun and original way to discover points of historical, artistic and scenic interest, simply by using your smartphone. It is no coincidence that the project is part of Geotrail Frignano, a network of 21 geocaches approved by the Institute of Cultural Heritage of Emilia Romagna, with the very aim of enhancing an area rich in valuable natural treasures, discovered by means of Geocaching.

3. Geocaching at the Lake Posta Fibreno Regional Nature Reserve

The description of geocaching at the Riserva Naturale Regionale Lago di Posta Fibreno ('Lake Posta Fibreno Regional Nature Reserve') opens with a rhyme: “Una bella camminata asciutto sul bagnato dovrai fare… e alla fine l’oggetto potrai trovare” (‘Take a nice, dry stroll in the wet... and in the end it's an object that you’ll get').

An enigmatic 'walk on water', which will lead you to the discovery of an enchanted place, amidst the hills of Ciociaria and the nearby mountains of the Laziale-Abruzzese Apennines.

The floating island, even mentioned by Pliny the Elder and hidden in the vegetation of the reed thicket, stretches for about 400 hectares among fields of dolines, karst valleys and oak forests of great scenic interest. You will roam around in search of mysterious little boxes, equipped with GPS devices, essential for exploring the Reserve's sites.

Our curiosity is stimulated in this unspoilt natural setting. After the entertaining treasure hunt, you can always relax by the lake, and perhaps even decide to cross it on board a pedalo, canoe or a motor boat - strictly electric, of course.

4. Geocaching at the Grotta dei Falconi

For the more adventurous, we recommend a particularly attractive area of the Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni National Park: the Grotta dei Falconi. The path to reach the cache is challenging, but your efforts will be rewarded by the breathtaking view.

The site, so called because of the presence of falcons that years ago chose to nest in one of the natural crevices of the majestic rock face, is a sort of cathedral silhouetted against the sky. It is easy to imagine the panorama that will unfold before your eyes. Brace yourself, and set off in search of the hidden treasure on an off-road trail that skirts the rock face north of Monte Urto. The charm of the mountain will captivate you and you will look back on the ascent as an adventure with a unique character.

While Geocaching in Italy's nature reserves, you will discover cleverly hidden geocaches, explore territories in an original way and experience the adventure of searching with the pleasure of discovering new places.