"NATURE ALWAYS WEARS THE COLORS
OF THE SPIRIT."
RALPH WALDO EMERSON
FRIULI VENEZIA GIULIA HAS TWO IN THE MOUNTAINS SITUATED
NATIONAL PARKS AND A BIG VARIETY OF NATURE RESERVES.
HERE AN OVERVIEW OF THE MOST KNOWN.
PARCO NATURALE DOLOMITI FRIULANE - PROVINCE OF UDINE AND PORDENONE
Parco Naturale Friuli Dolomites is a big national park that is stretched out over the mountaintops of the Dolomites between the rivers Tagliamento and Piave and overlooks the western plains of the Friuli region.
It covers 36.950 hectares of land lying in what you actually can call the most beautiful natural scenery of the region. The peaks of the Dolomites are part of the UNESCO heritage. The park is the ideal place to hike, bike and do mountain climbing.
The absence of paved roads and towns makes it feel like you are walking through the wilderness. With a bit of luck, you run into a herd of deer or chamois. You might even see grouse escaping from you or marmots chasing each other.
Once it was the home of the dinosaurs. Their footprints have been found and can now be viewed in the museum in Casavento. Do you want to see the rare phenomenon of the "books of San Daniele" then you need to climb to a height of 2200 meters on top of the Monte Borgà. There you can see these layers of thin stones that seem book pages.
The park is so big that a single entrance is not enough. In the next villages, you can enter the park and obtain information at the local tourist office. Which are located in:
Cimolais, Claut, Andreis, Barcis, Erto e Casso, Forni di Sopra Forni di Sotto, Frisanco, Tramonti di Sopra.
For more information click on the link.
The Parco Naturale Regionale delle Prealpi Giulie (a National Park in the foothills of the Julian Alps) was founded in 1996 and spreads over 100 square kilometers.
The special thing about this park is that it is part of two different biographical areas; the Mediterranean and the Alps, together they create an extraordinary biodiversity. The park is interesting to visit because it is not only beautiful in terms of nature and landscape, but also because it has a lot of historic and cultural aspects to offer.
The many trails that traverse the park offer the visitors spectacular views and activities all year round. You can come here looking for refreshment during the hot summers and enjoy the colors of all the kinds of flowers. In the winter the landscape turns into a magical world when it's covered with snow. It is great for going on a hike with the 'ciaspole' under your feet (a sort of snowshoe) while searching for traces of the different animals that live here.
The park offers trails of varying levels of difficulty.
Near the info point 'Pian dei Ciclami' in Luserva begins a path that is easy to do for everyone. It is 600 meters long and even accessible with a wheelchair. There are some educational information signs and a few are even in Braille.
In 2013 the park has received an important recognition by the European Community regarding the project "Eden - European Destination of Excellence. This because the park provides development models in the field of sustainable tourism and is open to anyone with or without disabilities.
Obviously there are many trails in this park.
The park is accessible from the following locations: Chiusaforte, Lusevera, Poggio Udinese, Resia, Resista and Venzone.
For more information on this, I recommend to contact the info points. You will find information about them clicking the following link
PARCO NATURALE PREALPI GIULIE - PROVINCE OF UDINE
RISERVA NATURALE VAL ROSANDRA - NEAR TRIESTE
Are you on a holiday in Trieste and do you want to get away from the bustle of the city? Well, you can, within a few kilometers drive from Trieste you will find the valley 'Val Rosandra' next to the border of Slovenia. It is a wonderful beautiful nature reserve where you can hike and cycle (on the old rails converted to bike paths). With a little luck, you stand face to face with a herd of ibex.
Through the valley runs the river Rosandra which is the only river in the province of Trieste that runs above the ground. All the other ones pass through the porous limestone and go underground. There is even a waterfall! The Romans already knew how to use this river and built their aqueduct that ran from Val Rosandra to the Roman city of Tergeste (the old name of Trieste).
The walk is easy to do for young and old and you can stop now and then to get some food in the typical small restaurants called 'agriturismi' where you only find dishes that are grown or bred by the owners themselves.
RISERVA NATURALE VALLE CAVANATA - NEAR GRADO.
A PARADISE FOR BIRDWATCHING
The Riserva Naturale della Valle Cavanata is located in the most easterly direction from the lagoon of Grado, you can reach it by car but it is much nicer to go there by bike. The specially constructed bike paths go right trough the nature reserves and follow the coastline of the Adriatic Sea. For more pictures and information about it, read the piece I wrote about Grado.
Earlier this lagoon was used for fishing, but it also is a real paradise for those who enjoy bird watching. Here there is an abundance of different species of water birds who found their ideal habitat on the beaches and sandbars. They stop here to rest or to breed.
From special paths and viewpoints, you can observe the waterbirds in their natural habitat.
The reserve has a direct connection to the open sea where the supply of seawater is controlled by locks. The reserve is richly planted with various trees, bushes, and plants that are the perfect hiding place for not only birds but also other animals.
For more information please click on the link.
RISERVA NATURALE FOCE DELL'ISONZO -
ISOLA DELLA CONA. NEAR GRADO
The Park is located in Staranzano near Grado in the province of Gorizia.
It is made of large parts of freshwater marsh wetlands but also pieces from saltwater, supplemented by cane fields, forests and grasslands.
The nature reserve Foce dell'Isonzo (which literally means debouchment of the river Isonzo) is the ideal habitat for many species of animals and in particular waterfowl, both migratory birds as the birds that live here throughout the whole year. So it is no coincidence that this reserve has been named the best birdwatching area in Italy. The heart of this reserve, the island of Cona, where the visitor center is located, is one of the most visited attractions in the educational, scientific and naturalistic area.
The integrity of this region is ensured by the constant environmental interventions which are carried out in some cases by the animals themselves. Including the beautiful white Camargue horses who walk about here freely and ensure that the meadows and fields remain under the control of their grazing.
The reserve opened its doors for the first time in 1996 and since then it is always concerned with offering the visitors good hiking and biking trails so that visitors can easily reach the most beautiful vantage points and enjoy the spectacular views across the Gulf of Trieste.
The reserve is reachable from Grado by bike. Read more about that in the chapter on Grado.
For more information on the reservation click on the link.
RISERVA LAGO DI CORNINO - NEAR UDINE
The small but beautiful lake of Cornino is situated in a nature reserve in between the villages of Forgaria and Trasaghis. The wide riverbed of the nearby Tagliamento river and the rocky walls of the Carnic forerunners of the Alps provide a wonderful habitat for various species of flora and fauna. The water of the lake is led by this river under the surface. The Tagliamento is an ideal place to go cool off for the locals especially in the hot summers. Read more about that in the 'Things to do'.
Twenty years ago, this park was opened as a sanctuary where injured birds of prey are cared for but also are propagated with the intention of letting them fly around freely.
It is the ideal place for those who enjoy bird watching and many school trips are organized here.
You can make a walk around the lake, but when you are looking for some intense climbing and hiking, you can find different paths that lead to the top of Monte Prât renowned for its 'terrace on Friuli'- a plateau from where you have a wonderful view over Friuli.