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The National Park

The park

Mappa del ParcoThe Vesuvius National Park was founded on the 5 of June, 1995. It was founded in order to preserve animal and vegetable species, vegetable and forest associations, geological peculiarities, palaeontological formations, biological communities, biotopes, scenic and panoramic values, natural processes, ecological balances. Its purposes are, moreover, the application of ways of management or environmental restoration suitable to realize an integration between man and the natural habitat, also through the protection anthropological, archaeological, historical and architectural values and the protection of traditional and pastoral activities; the promotion of educational and formative activities of scientifis research, that can be interdisciplinary too, the promotion of compatible recreational activities as well; another purpose is the defence and the reconstitution of hydraulic and hydrogeological balances. The task and the values concerning the Vesuvius National Park are even wider because we have to defend the most famous volcano in the world, and at the same time one of the five most dangerous volcanoes in the world because of the high urban conurbation that ahs recently grown up around it, disrespectful of the laws forbidding the construction of buildings. So the Vesuvius National Park represents an anomaly among the European National Parks, a sort of challenge aimed to rescue the wild and enchanting beauty of Vesuvius and Monte Somma (Somma Mountain), pulling them away from the incredible deterioration and giving them back to the pleasure of the old and the new generations they belong to.

 

Environment and Nature

Vegetazione vesuvianaThe territories around the Vesuvius and Monte Somma are differentfor various environmental seasons but, at the same time, they share some aspects, in particular the strong anthropization that characterizes the lowest slopes of both mountains. Speaking of the differences, it is necessary to point out that the first area is drier and sunnier than the other, with a typical Mediterranean vegetation, artificial grown pinewoods and ilex trees, which are occupying more ground in comparison with pines, and are reforming the splendid Mediterranean forest. The second (Monte Somma) is damper with a wood vegetation similar to the Apennine one, with chestnut woods, oak trees, alders, maples, ilexes; among these there is, even if rarely found, the wonderful birch, a very unusual presence in a Mediterranean habitat. The colonization of lava grounds by the numerous plants, begins after the cool down and is due to the liche Stereocaulon vesuvianum, which has a coral shape, it is grey and is the first living being which installed itself on the cold lava by preparing the land in receiving roots of the plants. It entirely covers the Vesuvian lava making it change to grey, giving the lava a silvery reflection during the full-moon nights. The list of plants includes 906 different species. Among these species we can observe interesting types, such as the Neapolitan maple, the Neapolitan alder and the Helichrysum litoreum, particularly abundant on the Vesuvius. We can point out also the large number of orchids (23) and the broom present in different species: Genista tinctoria, Genista aetnensis; the last one was imported from Etna in 1906 and today it is widespread on the entire Vesuvian territory.


The fauna

La lepreThe fauna of the Park is particularly rich and interesting. Among mammals, there is the "oaken mouse", the presence of whiwh is rare in other parts of Italy, but there is also a presence of the dormouse, the beech-marten, the fox, the wild rabbit, and of the hare. More than 100 species of birds live there, which can be classified as resisents, migrants, wintering and breeding. Interesting is the contruction of nests by the various birds, the buzzars, kestrel, hoopoe, turtle-dove, woodpidgeon, great spotter woodpecker, rock thrush, raven, coal tit. Recently there have been more frequent observations of the sparrowhawk, a very elegant and woody predatory bird. During the winter the woodcock, the black redstart, the wryneck, the song thrush, the siskin remain in the Park. During the period of mogrations garden warblers, subalpine warblers, pied flycatchers, redstarts, black eared wheater, woodwarblers, golden orioles, nightjars, bee eaters and many other species fly over the Park, many of which coming from sub-saharian quarters where they spend the winter. Among the reptiles we have to mention the coloured green-lizard, the inoffensive western whyp snake and the Turkish Gecko. Among the invertebrates we can notice the most coloured diurnal and nocturnal butterflies that remain during the flowering of the Mediterranean Vesuvian soil.


Agricoltura e Artigianato

Le albicoccheThe Vesuvian agriculture, thanks to the lava ground rich in minerals, to the excellent draining and to the Mediterranean climate, is considered unique for the variety and the special taste of its products. Among the various fruits, apricots and cherries are the typical products of the area. Of the hundreds of different kinds of existent apricots, the most widely known are the "Pellecchiella", that are considered the best for their particularly sweet taste and for the compactness of the pulp, the "Boccuccia liscia" with a bittersweet taste and the "Boccuccia spinosa", called in that way for the skin which is not smooth, the "Cafona", the "Carpone" with a sugary taste. Of the other kinds, all very tasty, we must remember "Baracca", "Vitillo", "Monaco bello", "Prete", "Palummella". The cherries, less numerous, are cultivated mostly at the foot of Monte Somma. Among the most famous we must remember the "Ciliegia Malizia", with a red consistent and juicy pulp and aromatic taste and the "Ciliegia del Monte", that is considered the best for eating: its colours are yellow and red, and the pulp is light, juicy and scented. Other typical products are the famous "Pomodorini da serbo" (small tomatoes). They are small, round, with a characteristic pointed end, and they have a sweet acidulous taste, due to the special concentration of sugars and moneral salts. They are picked unripen in summer and preserved tied to a string twisted in a circle. Kept in dry places and far from sunlight, they ripen, preserving their tasty and succulent pulp, protected by the skin, that slowly dries up. The bunch of "Pomodorini" picked in this way, are called "piennolo", They are used on macaroni, on pizza, and make very good sauces for fish and for meat. The volcanic complex of Somma-Vesuvio is moreover famous (since the time of the ancient Romans) for the greatness of its wines. At the foot of the volcano the grapes "Falanghina" of Vesuvius, the "Coda di volpe" (locally called "Caprettone") are cultivated and the "Piedirosso" of Vesuvius from which we can obtain the famous "Lachryma Christi", a wine with an enjoyable The tomatoes vinous scent with a dry and aromatic taste. We find a variety of red, rose and white wine and it becomes DOC when it reaches 12 percent alcohol. Let us not forget the "Catalanesca" grapes, very good for their plump and sweet pulp, that grow in small quantities mostly at the slopes of Monte Somma. A particular wine is obtained from the local farms characterised by its opaque colour and its strong after-taste. Among the vegetables we can point out, in addiction to the fennels and beans, also "Friarielli", which is broccoli that has a strong and bitter taste used in Italian cooking to flavour macaroni, meat and pizza. Speaking of the dried fruits, walnuts and nuts are excellent. The production of honey is also very widespread. The Vesuvian handcrafts have old origins. They show signs of of a glorious activity close to art andsometimes blended together with it, giving a strong impulse to authentic artistic handcrafts. The Vesuvian handcraft known and appreciated for its quality of work and its use of materials, characterized by the presence of such a disruptive neighbour, is the result of tenacious work: corals and cameos, limestone, copper and various materials are mounted and cut, engraved, forged by able hands, guided by a true passion. Thanks to the renewal and efficient use of historical places (Ville Vesuviane), today the artisan production is overcoming the old mistrust for co-operative working and is promoting its products at the highest international levels.
 

Localities

There are 13 localities in the park area: Boscoreale, Boscotrecase, Ercolano, Massa di Somma, Ottaviano, Pollena Trocchia, Sant'Anastasia, San Giuseppe Vesuviano, San Sebastiano al Vesuvio, Somma Vesuviana, Terzigno, Torre del Greco, Trecase.

 

HOW TO ARRIVE    THE VOLCANO    HISTORY AND ERUPTIONS    THE NATIONAL PARK
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THE VESUVIUS OBSERVATORY

 

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