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Vesuvius National Park, an anomaly in the panorama of European natural parks, a bet of global environmentalism because it has the task since it was born, to defend and enhance the most famous volcano in the world, which, at the same time, is also considered one of the five volcanoes most dangerous in the world. Not to mention the very strong presence of homes and human communities that over the years has formed around the volcano. The mission of this special park is that of recover the charm of Vesuvius tearing it away from the situation of degradation in which it had ended up and keeping watch so that nature will never be so mistreated again.
Vesuvius National Park: where it is located
The Vesuvius National Park embraces a surface of 8,482 hectares touching the territory of 13 municipalities: Herculaneum, Torre del Greco, Trecase, Boscoreale, Boscotrecase, Terzigno, San Giuseppe Vesuviano, Sant'Anastasia, Ottaviano, Somma Vesuviana, Pollena Trocchia, Massa di Somma, San Sebastiano al Vesuvio. We are around Vesuvius and the territory of the area is particularly interesting and varied in many respects.
From a mineralogical point of view, the Vesuvius National Park it is considered one of the richest territories on the planet, as far as vegetation and flora are concerned, the lava soil benefits it greatly and allows it to host rare varieties. The affected area is therefore one of the richest in species in relation to its small size.
Vesuvius National Park: video
Before getting to know the Vesuvius National Park, its nature and the visiting experience it offers, an interesting video shows us a "taste" and a lot of useful information to think about planning a trip.
Click here to watch the video.
Vesuvius National Park Authority
The Vesuvius National Park was officially born on 5 June 1995, it was established with the aim of conserving both animal and plant species, but also the geological singularities that are less known but are equally precious and to be protected.
On the area of the park there are paleontological formations, entire biological communities and biotopes to be carefully guarded. Over time, hydrogeological and ecological balances have been created that are all particular and which cannot be destroyed.
L'Vesuvius National Park body for years, for 21 years, it has been dealing with the territory with environmental management and restoration interventions with the difficult mission of integrating man and the natural environment without destroying anything.
It also deals with the safeguarding of anthropological, archaeological, historical and architectural values and agro-forestry-pastoral and traditional activities but its promotional activity is important if not essential. It passes through educational initiatives, training and scientific research, but not only. In Vesuvius National Park there are also numerous recreational activities that teach respect for the environment while having fun.
Vesuvius National Park: what to see
To visit the area of Vesuvius National Park you can rely on a network of paths created precisely to enter the heart, and open the heart, to the beauties of the Somma-Vesuvius complex. There are 9 trails for an overall length of 54 Km of walkway, six circular nature trails (The valley of hell, Lungo i Cognoli, Mount Somma, The Tirone Reserve, The Gran Cono, The cogwheel train), an educational trail (The Lava River), a scenic trail (La Strada Matrone) and an agricultural trail (The valley of the Profica).
All the suggested routes are well marked, risk-free and full of indications both to not lose direction and not to forget to admire what we have around us. Specific signs have in fact been created to house the descriptions of the main naturalistic, geological and historical emergencies that they meet during the walk. Some are not immediately evident, such as the more than 230 different minerals and the spectacular deposits of several historical eruptions colonized by vegetation in succession, starting from the first link in the chain: a lichen.
Vesuvius National Park: fauna
The one between the flora and fauna of the Vesuvius National Park . The fauna abounds in invertebrates, for example with 44 species of diurnal butterflies, but also of vertebrates, with the special occasion of seeing Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Peregrine and Raven nesting. However, there are 62 breeding species in total.
Among the amphibians I remember the Green toad (Bufo viridis) and the Green frog (Rana esculenta), among the reptiles the Cervone (Elaphe quatorlineata) and the Saettone (Elaphe longissima), both very rare, are worthy of note. The Common Viper (Vipera aspis) is also present, especially in parts of the forest.
Today the most common mammals in the territory of Vesuvius National Park they are insectivores and rodents. Among the former there is the Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus), among the latter the Moscardino (Muscardinus avellanarius), especially in the woods. Turning to predators, the Fox (Vulpes vulpes), the beech marten (Martes foina) and the weasel (Mustela nivalis).
Vesuvius National Park: flora
The plant species present and known in Vesuvius National Park there are 906, of which only 18 are endemic. The Birch, the Neapolitan Alder, and over twenty species of orchids, many plants of the Mediterranean scrub, immediately catch your eye.
The plant richness of this area is closely linked to the presence of lava soils that give the Vesuvius National Park variety with unique organoleptic characteristics. This is the case of Vesuvian apricots or grapes, from which the DOC Lacryma Christi wine and "Catalan" table grapes. On the oldest flows we find the red Valerian (Centranthus ruber) and the Helichrysum (Helichrysum litoreum), there are also extensive gorse groves of various types. On the southwestern side of Vesuvius, the original Mediterranean vegetation has been partially replaced by pine forests planted from the second half of the 19th century between 300 and 900 meters.
Vesuvius National Park: how to get there
To access the Vesuvius National Park from the coastal side you can take the A3 Naples - Salerno motorway to the Herculaneum or Torre del Greco exits, reach via San Vito or via Vesuvio depending on the exit and continue following the signs for the top of the volcano. If you want to travel along Strada Martone in the park, it is better to exit at Torre Annunziata, if you prefer to reach the Sommese side, it is better to take the SS 268 which can be reached from Naples.
If as soon as you can, though, go by train. No excuses: all the municipalities of the Vesuvius National Park can be reached by the Circumvesuviana Railway (Naples-Torre Annunziata, Naples-Sorrento, Naples-Poggiomarino-Sarno, Naples-Ottaviano-Sarno lines).
Vesuvius National Park: map
Figured out how to get there, what to see and what to miss if you don't visit the Vesuvius National Park, here is a map to orient yourself and plan a trip.
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