Establishment of Abruzzo National Park

Abruzzo National Park was the second national park established in Italy, recognized by the government about a month after the formation of the country’s first, Gran Paradiso National Park. However, the park has a more complicated history. It was originally set up as a private park, funded by the Associazione Pro Montibus et Silvis, a spin-off of the Italian Alpine Club. Pro Montibus had first proposed a park in 1917 in the area of Val di Sangro that was a former royal hunting reserve and started to gather funds to rent the land from the local municipalities in 1918. By 1921 it had been able to rent 500 hectares from the municipality of Opi, and in late November 1922 Pro Montibus officially inaugurated the park. It obtained its recognition as a national park a couple of months later. The goals of its founders, in particular of the park’s president Erminio Sipari, were to promote tourism in the region and to preserve the small, resident colony of local brown bear (Ursus arctos marsicanus), whose survival, together with that of the chamois (Rupicapra pyreanica ornata), had been put at risk due to the closure of the royal hunting reserve in 1912.

Further Readings: 
  • Piccioni, Luigi. Il volto amato della Patria: Il primo movimento per la conservazione della natura in Italia, 1880–1934. Camerino: Università degli Studi di Camerino, 1999.
  • Sievert, James. "Abruzzo National Park: Land of Dreams." Environment and History 5, no. 3 (Oct, 1999): 293–307
  • Sievert, James. The Origins of Nature Conservation in Italy. Bern: Peter Lang, 2000.