Parks and Protected Areas: The National Park of Pollino
It was created as a Regional Park in 1985 and was changed into National Park in 1989 widening its area to 192,565 hectares, half in Calabria and half in Basilicata. Its present perimeter was fixed in 1993, when the ‘Ente Parco’ was instituted. In this area live 175,000 inhabitants spread in 56 villages. This Park is a wonderful natural sight with spectacular peaks, rich woods and fauna amongst the rarest and most interesting in the South of Italy. The main characteristic of this area is the variability of its vegetation. Its landscapes go from maquis to beech woods, from the prairies on the heights with gentians and asphodels, to woods of Turkey oaks and oaks. For the great variety and quantity of medicinal herbs available in this area some think that the name of the Mountain comes from ‘Apollo’, Greek god of health.
Parks and Protected Areas: The Park of the Agri Valley
The Park of the Agri Valley, created in 1998, represents a fundamental step towards the protection of the animal species typical of the Apennine of Basilicata. This is spread out over around 800 square km and is an immense green expanse surrounded by the mountainsides of the Apennine and by the hills the villages are built on. Because of the rugged stream system that characterises this area, it was possible to keep an ideal environment for the different protected species that live in the Park. Amongst them there are otters, wolves of the Apennine, wild cats, martens and squirrels. Amongst the birds it is possible to find peregrine falcons, Cornish choughs, while in the lakes of the Pertusillo there are white storks and many species of stilt-birds.
Parks and Protected Areas: Gallipoli Cognato Forest
The Gallipoli Cognato Forest (4,159 hectares) is one of the most beautiful and characteristic natural parks of Basilicata. This forest is the result of the fusion of the two Woods of Gallipoli and of Cognato and is characterised by a remarkable altimetric variability, passing from heights close to 200 metres to others around 1,319 metres. This Forest is rich in broad-leaved trees, coppices, durmasts and Turkey trees. The vegetation is rich in cyclamens, anemones, violets and daisies. Variety can also be found in its animals, including species that have disappeared in other areas of the Apennines, badgers, wolves, beech martens, hares, some martens and hedgehogs. Amongst the amphibians there are dappled salamanders and yellow-bellied toads. Amongst the reptiles there are geckos, yellow-green non-poisonous snakes, colibris and vipers. Many birds live here, including sparrows, great tits, robins, nightingales, blackbirds, spotted-woodpeckers, green-woodpeckers, goshawks, hawks, owls, brown owls and barn owls.
Potenza, Vulture and Melfi Area: The Vulture Mountain
The Vulture Mountain (1,326 m) has a volcanic origin and started forming 800,000 years ago, when the first explosions took place. The lava bursting out of the several craters settled on the edges, slowly taking the morphology of the land. Vulture is now an extinguished volcano, showing the typical shape of a truncated cone and is covered by rich vegetation, which grows luxuriant because of the fertile soil. The peculiarities of this territory have made it a protected area. Apart from having great landscape beauties it hosts the ‘Brahmea’ an extinguishing nocturnal butterfly picked out since 1961. The Oriented Natural Reserve Grotticella was instituted in 1971 to protect the environmental and animal heritage of this area, which is also very important for its forests, characterised by trees typical of South-Eastern Europe.