Nature as far as the eye can see, unique emotions and breathtaking beauty: the Gran Paradiso National Park is one of the most evocative and ancient Italian parks.
Gran Paradiso National Park: where is it?
Where is the Gran Paradiso National Park? The park is located between the Aosta Valley and Piedmont around the Gran Paradiso mountain range and borders the Vanoise National Park.
It was founded in 1922, but actually includes part of the area named Royal Hunting Reserve of Gran Paradiso by Vittorio Emanuele II in 1856.
What is in the Gran Paradiso National Park? The area is impressive with over seventy thousand hectares of mainly mountainous type and the five valleys enclosed within it: Val Soana, Valle dell’Orco, Valsavarenche, Val di Cogne and Val di Rhèmes.
The park, including the only mountain group that exceeds four thousand meters entirely in Italy, has many glaciers. There are also streams, lakes and waterfalls.
Gran Paradiso National Park: flora and fauna
The flora of the Gran Paradiso National Park is very rich among deciduous trees, conifers, larches, poplars, chestnuts, beeches, birches, spruces and whites and many other varieties distributed on various heights.
The territory also has some flowers that have become rare, among which there are the Astragalus alopecurus typical of the Aosta Valley and the Linnaea borealis of glacial heritage.
What animals are in the Gran Paradiso National Park? The park is also varied in fauna, although its history is linked to the ibex. It is no coincidence that the proclamation of the Royal Hunting Reserve in 1856, the establishment of a specialized corps and the construction of a road network served to save the ibex from extinction.
The Gran Paradiso National Park has the ibex as an animal symbol, but it is also populated by marmots, chamois, hares, foxes, golden eagles and lynxes.
The activities of the Gran Paradiso National Park
The Gran Paradiso National Park also organizes various activities to promote the territory both nationally and internationally.
The excursions change according to the season: at high altitude to admire the beauty of untouched environments in spring and summer; between the valleys of the park to observe the colors of the woods and the “mating season” of chamois in autumn; between the snowy terrain to enjoy the winter landscape.
The paths extend for hundreds of kilometers and adapt to any level of experience and any need (type of route, timing and rules of conduct).
Not only flora and fauna of the Gran Paradiso National Park. It is also possible to participate in various activities, from sports to recreational activities to cultural ones.
At any time of the year you can visit the visitor centers of the park, that is, information points focused on a single theme (e.g. geology, ibex and chamois). To these are added exhibitions of museum pieces or collections of botanical species.
Where to stay
Visitors can choose to stay several days to live the experience of the Gran Paradiso National Park fully.
The territory offers various types of solutions: hotels, bed & breakfasts, farmhouses, campsites, shelters and rest areas for caravans and campers. It can also be found in bivouacs.
What are the typical products?
The Gran Paradiso National Park offers various typical products of Piedmont and the Aosta Valley area.
Among the products not to be missed there are undoubtedly cheeses and salami (e.g. Fontina, Boudin, Mocetta and Salame di patate), but also breadsticks, fondue, polenta, boiled, civet chamois and ribs valdostana.
Do not miss the wines D.O.C.: Blanc de Morgex et La Salle, Torrette, Nus Rouge, Chambave Muscat and Petite Arvine.
The village of Etroubles
Travelers can diversify the journey around the Gran Paradiso massif, moving from the National Park to one of the most characteristic villages of the surrounding area. Let’s talk about Etroubles.
It is a medieval village characterized by narrow streets, historic buildings, courtyards of the past, romantic fountains and priceless beauty. Everything is framed by the mountains that look to the plains that extend to the edge of the town.
Walking in Etroubles is like being in an outdoor museum, but the visit to the church with the imposing bell tower dating back to the fifteenth century is not to be missed.
Not only art. The village is a few kilometers from the slopes of Flassin, destination for all lovers of cross-country skiing.