National parks in Italy

There are 25 national parks in Italy spread over 19 regions. The majority of national parks are located in the regions of Abruzzo (3), Calabria (3), Lazio (3), Tuscany (3) and Sardinia (3). The oldest national park is Gran Paradiso, established in 1922, followed by Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park which was established in 1923. The newest national park is Isola di Pantelleria, established in 2016. 

Five national parks are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and two are listed as Global Geoparks by UNESCO. Italy’s national parks are very diverse, from marine parks and the ones nestled in the mountains to those that are a combination of both. Through national parks, Italy’s natural beauty is showcased by a variety of different landscapes, all of them equally stunning.

The following guide presents a list of all national parks in Italy sorted by each state. You will also find Italy’s national parks map at the end for easier navigation.

National parks in Italy by Region

Italy’s national parks demonstrate the county’s natural wealth as well as its cultural and historical heritage. They are spread over 19 out of 20 regions. One of them is located in Sicily and three of them are located on the island of Sardinia. The only region without a national park is Friuli Venezia Giulia. The total area of Italy’s national parks takes up around 5% of the national territory of the country. 

Abruzzo (3)

Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park

NP Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise was established in 1923 which makes it the second oldest national park in Italy. It covers an area of around 500 square kilometers, majority of which is located in the Abruzzo region. It is situated in the Central Apennines and it encompasses 25 towns and 8 lakes. The park portrays breathtaking landscapes and is home to many animals such as the Italian wolf, Marsican brown bear and Abruzzo chamois. Furthermore, the park has numerous hiking trails and natural paths that are accessible to all visitors, including those with mobility limitations. In addition, the park has museums, visitor centers, animal sanctuaries, shelters and restaurants. The best time to visit is late spring to early autumn, before the snow. It is advised to spend at least 2-3 days exploring the area if you want to make the most of your stay. The nearest city is Rome.

National Parks in Italy: National Park of Abruzzo

National Park of Abruzzo

Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park

Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga was established in 1991 and it covers an area of 1,413 square kilometres. The stunning surroundings are dominated by the massif of the Gran Sasso. Thus, the terrain is rocky, but at the same time, it is one of the most biologically diverse areas of Europe. Moreover, the cultural heritage within the park includes archaeological sites, castles, fortified villages, fountains, churches, abbeys and mills dating from the Neolithic Age to Renaissance. Furthermore, the park offers numerous activities for visitors. They include hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, canoeing, skiing and mountaineering. In addition, there are museums, visitors centres that offer educational projects and restaurants serving traditional local cuisine. As for accommodation within the park, there are motorhome sites and accommodation structures provided by the Park’s inhabitants, hotels and holiday farms. The nearest city is L’Aquila. 

Majella National Park

Majella National Park was established in 1991 and it covers an area of around 628 square kilometers. Since 2021 it has been enlisted as UNESCO Global Geopark. The park is situated around the Majella massif so the territory is dominated by mountains. Due to its altitudes (the highest peak is at 2,793 meters), some areas of the park are inaccessible so the wildlife is very rich and diverse. Besides the Appennine wolf which is Majella’s symbol, it is home to Marsican brown bears, Apennine chamois, deers, wild cats, peregrine falcons and golden eagles. In addition, there are more than 1,800 flora species within the park. Moreover, facilities in the park include a botanical garden, museums, visitors centers and wildlife areas. Regarding activities, visitors can enjoy these enchanting landscapes while horseback riding, hiking, skiing or mountain biking. The nearest city is Sulmona.

National Parks in Italy: Majella National Park

Majella National Park

Apulia (2)

Alta Murgia National Park

Alta Murgia National Park was established in 2004 and it covers an area of around 677 square kilometers. The park is a magnificent combination of nature and culture. Castel del Monte, built in the 13th century,  is one of the park’s main attractions. It is one of the most famous castles in Italy and a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. What’s more, in 1993 skeleton of one of man’s first ancestors, “Uomo di Altamura”,  was found in this area, in the Cave of Lamalunga, not far from the town of Altamura. However, the cave is not accessible to the public, but it is possible to get a virtual tour. Furthermore, in 1999 over 30,000 dinosaurs’ tracks have been found in the area, belonging to at least 5 different species. The park is surrounded by 13 towns and is considered Europe’s largest “rural park”. The nearest city is Taranto.

Gargano National Park

Gargano National Park was established in 1991 and it covers an area of around 1,181 square kilometers. The park also includes the Isole Tremiti, an archipelago in the Adriatic Sea. Gargano is a stunning combination of coast and forest. It is dominated by the Umbra Forest which is enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a prime example of unspoiled nature. Besides ancient forests and crystal clear sea, the park has great biodiversity as well as a rich cultural and archaeological heritage. One of the most famous attractions is the Grotto Church of Saint Michael, a church built inside a cave. Furthermore, in the very heart of Gargano National Park there is a small town called Vico del Gargano, also known as the “Village of Love”. It is Saint Valentine’s hometown so each year on February 14th there is a big celebration of the town’s patron saint.

Basiliciata (2)

Appennino Lucano – Val d’Agri – Lagonegrese National Park

Appennino Lucano – Val d’Agri – Lagonegrese National Park was established in 2007 and it covers an area of around 690 square kilometers. The park provides amazing views of the scenery but it is also an important archaeological site. What’s more, the Grumentum Archaeological Park is one of the best-preserved and most important Roman towns in Italy. There you can see remains of an ancient theatre, temples and streets. Some parts, such as the Republican Baths, have been rearranged for public use. The Republican Baths now serve as a bar, a bookshop and a teaching room. The nearest city is Marsico Nuovo.

National Parks in Italy: Appennino Lucano National Park

Appennino Lucano National Park

Pollino National Park

Pollino National Park was established in 1988 and since 2015 it has been enlisted as UNESCO Global Geopark. It covers an area of around 1,926 square kilometers which makes it the largest national park in Italy. The park encompasses Pollino and Orsomarso massif, a mountain chain in the southern Apennines. Moreover, it includes caves, rivers, forests, plateaus, meadows and gorges of volcanic origin. In addition, Pollino is home to Europe’s oldest tree, the Heldreich’s pine, which is around 1,230 years old. Furthermore, the park has great biodiversity which includes species such as golden eagle, Italian wolf, roe deer and forest dormouse. On top of that, activities in the park include horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, canoeing and rafting. The nearest city is Morano Calabro.

Calabria (3)

Aspromonte National Park

Aspromonte National Park was established in 1989 and it covers an area of around 641 square kilometers. It is situated on the Apromonte Massif, between the Ionian and the Tyrrhenian Sea. Because Aspromonte is a mountainous area abundant in rivers, the most popular attractions in the park include Montalto and Maesano waterfalls. Besides that, the park encompasses meadows, cliffs, forests and lakes. Furthermore, Aspromonte’s flora and fauna are very diverse. It includes more than 1,500 flora species and fauna species such as the Italian wolf, peregrine falcon and Eurasian eagle-owl. What’s more, the park has a great cultural, historical and archaeological importance. Throughout the park, visitors can see traces of the Neolithic past. In addition, there are the remains of the Sanctuary of Persephone, rounded cliffs containing caverns and Byzantine monasteries as well as some examples of Norman architecture. The nearest city is Reggio di Calabria.

Sila National Park

Sila National Park was established in 1997 and it covers an area of around 737 square kilometers. The park is situated on the largest plateau in Europe and it is coated with trees, many of them ancient. Actually, about 80% of the total area is made up of forest, making it the perfect habitat for numerous flora and fauna species. Furthermore, the park offers great views of magnificent nature and its diverse landscapes. It encompasses 19 towns, 3 lakes and numerous streams. Moreover, the park is accessible throughout the whole year and each season it shines in a new light demonstrating the variety of its magical sceneries. Also, there are numerous activities for visitors such as mountain biking, horseback riding, cross-country and downhill skiing, orienteering, sailing, canoeing, canyoning and archery. The nearest city is Crotone.

National Parks in Italy: Sila National Park

Sila National Park

Pollino National Park

*The park is shared between the regions Calabria and Basilicata.

Campania (2)

Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni National Park

Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni National Park was established in 1991 and since 1998 it has been enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It covers an area of approximately 1,810 square kilometers, making it the second-largest national park in Italy. It stretches from the Tyrrhenian coast to the foot of the Apennines, offering spectacular views of this diverse and breathtaking landscape. Furthermore, the park encompasses mountains, caves, rivers, streams and waterfalls. The main attractions are its waterfalls and caves. Unfortunately, not all caves have been explored yet. However, one of the biggest speleological sites in southern Italy, the Castelcivita Caves which are almost 5 kilometers long, is accessible to visitors. In addition, because the area is of great archaeological importance, visitors can explore its history in the Park Museum Network. The nearest city is Salerno. 

Vesuvius National Park

Vesuvius National Park was established in 1991 and it covers an area of around 72 square kilometers. The park gets its name after one of the most famous volcanoes in the world – the Vesuvius, which is located within the park and still active. The main attraction is, of course, the volcano. What’s more, visitors can climb the path to the top and take a peek into the depths of a volcano that once destroyed the famous ancient city of Pompeii. The trail is not difficult and doesn’t require hiking experience. The ticket to see the volcano’s crater costs around € 10 and the trail is open throughout the whole year. In addition, the entire park is dotted with farms and wineries taking advantage of the rich volcanic soil. The nearest cities are Torre del Greco and Naples.

National Parks in Italy: Vesiuvius National Park

Vesiuvius National Park

Emilia-Romagna (2)

Appennino Tosco-Emiliano National Park

Appennino Tosco-Emiliano National Park was established in 2001 and it covers an area of around 227 square kilometers. The park is divided by the majestic Apennine mountain range. As a result, the western side of the park is warmer because it is influenced by the Mediterranean, while the eastern side is cooler, with higher pastures and forests. Due to its diverse climate and landscapes, the area has very rich flora and fauna. In fact, the park is considered a veritable natural botanical garden. Moreover, the park offers numerous activities for visitors all year round. Some of them are: biking, horseback riding, climbing, sky running, various winter sports, and trekking. On top of that, the park includes 3 adventure parks. The nearest city is La Spezia.

Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona and Campigna National Park

Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona and Campigna National Park was established in 1993 and it covers an area of approximately 368 square kilometers. This fairytale-like place resonates with calmness, making it the perfect option for anyone looking for a getaway from the city hustle and bustle. A large portion of the park is coated in woodland which is dominated by hornbeams, turkey oaks, sessile oaks and chestnut woods. Furthermore, the main attraction is the Acquacheta Waterfall with its impressive 70-meter drop. Other than that, visitors can explore the Camaldoli Monastery, the Franciscan sanctuary La Verna, the Dam and Water Ecomuseum in Ridracoli as well as numerous other museums in the area. In addition, the park’s trails are accessible to everyone including people with mobility limitations. The nearest city is Florence. 

Lazio (3)

Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park

*The park is shared between the regions Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise.

Circeo National Park

Circeo National Park was established in 1934 which makes it one of the oldest national parks in Italy. It covers an area of around 84 square kilometers and includes 5 different habitats: the promontory, the forest, the coastal dune, the wetlands, and the island of Zannone. As a result of different landscapes, the park offers some of the most beautiful views provided by the contrast of the high promontory and the astonishing coastal dunes. Aside from its natural beauty, the park has numerous historical and archaeological facilities. The most famous sites within the park include the Thermal baths of Torre Paola, the Acropolis, the Paola canal harbour and the Lucullo’s Pool. The nearest city is San Felice Circeo.

Mount Circeo

Mount Circeo

Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park

*The park is shared between the regions Abruzzo, Lazio and Marche.

Liguria (1)

Cinque Terre National Park

Cinque Terre National Park was established in 1999 and it covers an area of approximately 38 square kilometers. The same year the park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you imagine yourself enjoying holidays in Italy, sipping on some good wine and soaking up the sun, the place where you’ve imagined yourself probably looks like Cinque Terre. This incredibly picturesque national park is brimming with colours and stunning landscapes. Lately, this has been everyone’s favourite destination when visiting Italy, and it is obvious why. The park encompasses 5 medieval cliff-side towns. Each of them is unique and charming in its own way, but they are all equally breathtaking. Furthermore, all 5 towns are surrounded by vineyards on one side and a beautiful coast on the other. The nearest city is La Spezia. 

Lombardy (1)

Stelvio National Park

Stelvio National Park was established in 1935 and it covers an area of around 1,307 square kilometers. It is located in the very north of Italy, in the heart of the Central Alpes. Furthermore, the park encompasses the Ortler-Cevedale mountain range which includes 10 valley communities with 5 interactive Visitors’ Centers. Due to its location, the park offers a great diversity of landscapes as well as rich flora and fauna. From waterfalls and glaciers to forests, cultivated areas and Alpine villages, this park is definitely going to leave you speechless. Besides beautiful nature, the park also includes well-preserved examples of rural architecture, mills and factories throughout the valleys. In addition, the entrance to the park is free and accessible nonstop. The nearest city is Trento. 

Marche (2)

Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park

*The park is shared between the regions Abruzzo, Lazio and Marche.

Sibillini Mountains National Park

Sibillini Mountains National Park was established in 1988 and it covers an area of around 697 square kilometres. It is located in the beautiful Siblini massif, with Monte Vettore being the highest peak at 2,476 meters. The terrain is typically mountainous with cliffs and steep crags. However, the park also encompasses enchanting wide meadows that showcase the full beauty of their colors and alpine flora variety in spring. In addition, there are 18 charming towns within the park’s territory and each and every single one of them has a story to tell. They are brimming with interesting stories about history, art, architecture and people. Regarding activities, the most popular ones are rock climbing, paragliding, mountain biking, rafting, horseback riding and, in winter months, skiing. The nearest city is Visso. 

Sibillini National Park

Sibillini National Park

Piedmont (2)

Gran Paradiso National Park

Gran Paradiso National Park was established in 1922 which makes it the oldest national park in Italy. It is located in the Graian Alps and covers an area of around 700 square kilometers. Originally, the area that the park encompasses was protected in order to preserve the Alpine ibex, the park’s symbol, a species of a wild goat that lives in the European Alps. Furthermore, the terrain is predominantly mountainous with alpine meadows at higher elevations. Besides that, the park includes numerous valleys chiselled by glaciers as well as lakes, streams and woods. It is a prime example of intact alpine nature. In addition, it was heavily populated in the past. As a result, the park has a very rich history and includes examples of rural and religious architecture as well as hunting lodges and royal mule tracks. The nearest city is Turin. 

Val Grande National Park

Val Grande National Park was established in 1991. It is located in the northwest of Italy and covers an area of approximately 145 square kilometres. The park is an outdoor museum of the ancient alpine civilization and the biggest wilderness area in Italy. However, wilderness in this sense symbolises the presence of man in the past and nature’s regain of the area. It encompasses waterfalls, streams, meadows, valleys, and mountains. Moreover, the park has great biodiversity and numerous breathtaking observation points that provide the best views of the sunsets and the starry sky. The park’s natural beauty is so enchanting and calming that once there, it is more likely to lose yourself spiritually rather than physically. The nearest city is Milan.

Sardinia (3)

Archipelago of La Maddalena National Park

Archipelago of La Maddalena National Park was established in 1994 and it covers an area of around 200 square kilometres. It is located in the very north of Sardinia and encompasses more than 60 islands and islets within the territory of La Maddalena municipality. La Maddalena Island is the only one with significant traces of human presence while the rest of them are mainly deserted. As a result, the park has managed to preserve its terrestrial as well as sea ambience. Furthermore, the coast extends for 180 kilometres and its crystal clear sea makes the perfect habitat for sea turtles, fin whales and coastal dolphins. What’s more, some of the most beautiful Mediterranean beaches are located within the park boundaries, including the famous Spiaggia Rosa, or the Pink Beach. The nearest city is Olbia.

Archipelago di La Maddalena National Park

Archipelago di La Maddalena National Park

Asinara National Park

NP Asinara was established in 1997 and it covers an area of around 269 square kilometers. Asinara is the second-largest island of Sardinia, also known as The Devil’s Island because in the past it was used as a quarantine, a prison camp and as a high-security prison. Due to being isolated for over a century, the park’s flora and fauna are extremely well-preserved. One of the most interesting fauna species found in the park is the white donkey which can grow up to 1 meter high. Furthermore, its marine environment is very diverse and of great value. It is characterized by high integrity and high quality of water, making it extremely important for scientific research. The nearest city is Porto Torres. 

Gulf of Orosei and Gennargentu National Park

Gulf of Orosei and Gennargentu National Park was established in 1998. It is located on the eastern coast of Sardinia and it covers an area of approximately 730 square kilometers. The combination of cliffs, canyons, forest, caves and crystal clear waters is what makes this park so gorgeous and impressive. Therefore, amazing views of the scenery are guaranteed. Furthermore, the park contains numerous natural monuments such as the rocks of Pedra e Liana, Punta Goloritze peak and Su Suercone valley. Regarding activities within the park, the most popular ones are hiking and mountain biking. Besides that, the only ski resorts in Sardinia are located here. There are 4 of them- Monte Spada, Brunco Spina, Separadorgu and S’arena. The nearest city is Nuoro. 

Sicily (1)

Pantelleria Island National Park

Pantelleria Island National Park was established in 2016 which makes it the newest national park in Italy. It is situated on an island located approximately 100 km southwest of Sicily and around 60 km east of the Tunisian coast. The total area of the park takes up around 80% of the total area of the island. Moreover, the park has very interesting animal species due to being a link amidst southern Europe and northern Africa. Its vegetation is also very rich and diverse, containing around 640 different species. Essentially, the park is an active volcanic complex and around 72% of it is located below sea level. In 2014, the vine cultivation in the area, called the “Sapling Vine Agricultural Practice”, was recognized by UNESCO and enlisted on its Intangible Cultural Heritage List. This is the very first time that an agricultural practice achieved this kind of recognition.

Tuscany (3)

Appennino Tosco-Emiliano National Park

*The park is shared between the regions Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany.

Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona and Campigna National Park

*The park is shared between the regions Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany.

Tuscan Archipelago National Park

Tuscan Archipelago National Park was established in 1989. It covers an area of approximately 746 square kilometers which makes it the largest European marine park. The park is situated between the Ligurian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea and encompasses 7 main islands of the archipelago as well as some smaller islets and rocks. According to the legend, Venus had a necklace with these 7 islands as its gems. However, it fell into the Tyrrhenian Sea and that is how this paradise on Earth came about. Each and every one of the islands is unique and has a rich history, but what they all have in common are natural beauty and captivating landscapes. Due to its crystal clear sea, it is not surprising that visitors’ favourite activities include diving, kayaking, windsurfing and kitesurfing. The nearest city is Portoferraio.

Valle d’Aosta (1)

Gran Paradiso National Park

*The park is shared between the regions Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta.

Veneto (1)

Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park

Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park was established in 1988 and since 2008 it has been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. It covers only a small area of around 32 square kilometers which makes it the smallest national park in Italy. Furthermore, the park is characterized by diverse and interesting territories which make it a great habitat for numerous flora and fauna species. It encompasses mountains, meadows, valleys and river-stream formations. What’s more, the area is brimming with architectural and geological sites. However, most tourists are attracted to it because of its mesmerizing natural beauty. This is the perfect place to enjoy magnificent views and admire nature’s craftsmanship and creativity. The nearest cities are Belluno and Feltre.

Italy National Parks by size

National parks in Italy cover an area of over 15,800 square kilometres or 3.9 million acres which is around 5% of the total area of Italy. The biggest national park is Pollino National Park, with a territory of over 1,9 thousand square kilometres. The smallest national park is Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park covering an area of only 32 square kilometers. The following list includes the 10 largest national parks in Italy.

  1. Pollino National Park
  2. Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni National Park
  3. Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park
  4. Stelvio National Park
  5. Gargano National Park
  6. Aspromonte National Park
  7. Tuscan Archipelago National Park
  8. Sila National Park
  9. Gennargentu National Park
  10. Majella National Park

Entrance to National Parks in Italy

Around 20% of Italy’s total area is classified as protected areas, with national parks included. Some of them charge entrance fees or offer visitors’ passes but the price varies depending on the park. However, many of them do not charge entrance fees and are available throughout the whole year. Also, some of them do not charge for the entrance to the park itself but do charge fees for certain attractions within the park. 

Map of Italy National Parks

National parks in Italy FAQs


How many national parks are in Italy?

There are currently 25 national parks in Italy.


What are the oldest national parks in Italy?

The oldest national parks in Italy are as follows: Gran Paradiso National Park (1922) and Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park (1923).


What is the newest national park in Italy?

The newest national park in Italy is Pantelleria Island National Park which was declared a national park in 2016.


What is the most dangerous national park in Italy?

Although not many encounters in the Italian national parks are dangerous or fatal, there are some areas where one should be more cautious. Such is the Vesuvius National Park because it includes one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes, and Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park because of some difficult and challenging trails.


Which regions of Italy don’t have national parks?

The only region of Italy without a national park is Friuli Venezia Giulia.


Which region of Italy has the most national parks?

Regions with the most national parks in Italy are Abruzzo (3), Calabria (3), Lazio (3), Sardinia (3), and Tuscany (3).

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