Majella Mountains

09 September 2010 Published in Abruzzo Itineraries
Discover the flora and fauna of Majella National Park Abruzzo Discover the flora and fauna of Majella National Park Abruzzo © Copyright Delicious Italy

The Majella mountains in Abruzzo have always had a mystical atmosphere. They are not particularly high, not particularly extensive but the soul of Abruzzo can be found there. In ancient times this was the territory of the Goddess Maia. Through the medieval period it became a place of prayer and retreat. There were so many hermitages hidden away, poet Francesco Petrarca called the Majella 'Domus Christi'. Most can be visited today but do take care.

To protect the flora and fauna of the hills, the Majella National Park was established in 1991. There is tremendous biodiversity from vast beech groves and rare plants unique to the area such as the Apennine Edelweiss, the Sabine Juniper, the Apennine Gentian and the Majellense Violet. We've all heard about the local bears and wolves, but deer, otters, martens and rare amphibians such as the spectacled salamander are equally important.

The main peak of the Majella is Mount Amaro at 2795 m, but there are at least thirty other summits over 2,000 metres in height including Mount Acquaviva (2,737 m), the Cima delle Murelle (2,596 m) and Mount Focalone (2,676 m). But the real secret to the zone are the deep valleys, caves, gorges and grottoes. These are real cavemen's caves and some of Italy's earliest inhabitants survived here.

Start your journey from Caramanico Terme and the small visitor centre.