The 25,500 ha Majella Wilderness is embedded into the Majella National Park, Italy. The Majella National Park is situated in the Abruzzo Region of Central Italy, one of the most impressive, wild and extensive mountain ranges of the Apennines, containing more than 30 peaks higher than 2,000 m. Majella Wilderness is home to an amazingly large and rich Wilderness. It is including the most inaccessible and wildest area of the Central Apennine. The Wilderness consists of limestone mountains such as Majella, Morrone, Porrara, Pizzalto and Rotella, separated by valleys and karst plateaus. The elevation range is from 130 to 2,793 m (Mt. Amaro). Majella Wilderness is home to several glacial relicts, which had a widespread distribution during the quaternary glaciations, and are now represented by the dwarf poppy, capillary sedge and alpine aster especially at high altitudes.
European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System
The 25,500 ha Majella Wilderness was audited and monitored in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2020.
- Protected area: Majella National Park
- Wilderness: Majella Wilderness
- Wilderness Quality Standard: Platinum
- Country: Italy
- Size of the protected area: 74,095 ha
- Size of the Wilderness: 25,500 ha
- European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2010
- Wilderness Uniqueness: Apennine beech forests with yew and ilex, dwarf pine and rhododendron, alpine and subalpine calcareous grasslands, deep canyons, large animals (chamois, wolf, marsican bear), and endemic species of plants
- Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 530,000
- Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 125,000
Majella Wilderness has one of the best-preserved Apennine ecosystems. Due to its altitude, inaccessibility and prominence, most of the Majella National Park is uninhabited and so there are less human-made structures, including skiing resorts and roads, compared to other national parks in Italy. Nearly half of all mammal species found in Italy are present in Majella Wilderness. The Apennine wolf, red deer, roe deer, wildcats, chamois and brown bear are all found here. The golden eagle is often seen and other spectacular sights include the white-backed woodpecker, the honey-buzzard, lanner falcon and the dotterel.
The vegetation of this park is remarkable as it hosts 36% of the Italian flora and 22% of the European flora. Its 2,114 flora species are distributed in more than 50 different habitats and altitudes. More than 142 of these species are found nowhere else in the world. Beech trees are predominant in the forests and often offers spectacular sceneries, like in the Wood of St. Antonio, a frequented place for visitors with majestic century-old trees.
Wilderness Tourism Experience
Majella Wilderness is a well-known destination for local and international visitors and provides an opportunity for pleasant experiences. The Majella National Park contains about 500 kilometres of hiking trails through the mountains. Majella Wilderness is a unique example of mountain Wilderness in the heart of the Apennine mountains and the first certified Wilderness in the Mediterranean. Spectacular canyons, dense beech forest and mountain tops provide extraordinary Wilderness experiences.