The Velino-Sirente Park was created by Abruzzo Region in 1989. Its territory includes Monte Velino, with its 2468 metres it’s the third highest Apennine peak, and the Sirente massif, which is formed by a single, almost straight ridge of about 20 kms.
Though the Velino and Sirente are divided by the fault bounding the Altopiano delle Rocche, they show the same geological and tectonic structure.
The karst phenomena are especially noticeable here and have produced the Grotte di Stiffe. an underground river, fed by the sink-holes water of the karst plateau of the Rocche, runs through the cave. Inside you can admire several small lakes and waterfalls of up to 20 meters high.
The Park also offers remarkable historical and archaeological areas. The most important one is the Alba Fucens complex, situated in the region of Massa d’Albe. In this area there are several castles such as Celano and the ruins of Ocre’s castles.
The Park has a lush vegetation. At the foot of the mountain there are woods of pubescent oaks, black hornbeams, flowering ashes and mountain ashes. Higher up the grasslands are studded with Apennine sesleria, mingled with dwarf junipers and bearberry shrubs. An extensive and continuous beech wood covers the northern side of Monte Sirente.
|Gole di Celano|
In the spring, on the Altopiano delle Rocche, you can enjoy the sight of the vast meadows blossoming with narcissus that are at the centre of an impressive festival at Rocca di Mezzo.
The fauna of Velino-Sirente Park is interesting with the presence of the Apennine wolf, the wild cat and the pine marten. The golden eagle, as well as the peregrine hawk and the lanner falcon, has found its natural habitat for nesting.
Of importance is the presence of some couple of eagle owl.