National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise
Together with Gran Paradiso National Park, the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise is the oldest and most important natural reserve in Italy. Covered by thick beech woods, it extends through mountain landscapes into the valleys of Giovenco and Comino. It is one the most unspoiled areas in the Apennines, since hunting and cutting plants have been prohibited for over eighty years now, and the park almost retains its original aspect. Hikers and excursionists will have the possibility to admire rare species of animals, such as wolves, different species of chamois and brown bears. The lovely village of Pescasseroli, that is situated less than one hour far from the Relais, is the most important town of the National Park; it is home to an important zoo and the so-called “Camosciara”, the ideal place to admire different species of chamois.
Lake Cardito extends in the middle of a large natural basin located about 900 metres far from the National Park of Abruzzo. Its peaceful atmosphere and fresh mountain area make it a great destination for mixed groups of fishing and non-fishing guests from late spring to early autumn. The lake provides the ideal habitat for different species of fish, such as chub, common carp, bleak, doctor fish, perch and brown trout. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore the surrounding territory on foot or by mountain bike, as well as to try canoeing and paragliding. Another place worthy of note is the lovely Samnite village of San Biagio Saracinisco, that cherishes plenty of interesting archaeological remains, and the small medieval village of Vallerotonda, whose spectacular Carnival is known all over Italy for its giant, allegorical floats and ancient popular games.
Gorges of the river Melfa
The spectacular gorges and source of the river Melfa, the latest occupying the centre of the picturesque Canneto Valley, are surrounded by Arpino, Casalvieri and Santopadre, three lovely villages that abound in history, art and archaeology. The gorges of the river Melfa, that are surrounded by thick woods, cultivated fields, crystal-clear streams and high pastures, can be explored on foot, by mountain bike or on horseback, and give visitors the possibility to enjoy breath-taking views over the underlying landscape. The enchanting Canneto Valley, that is crossed by the river Melfa (a tributary of the river Liri) is part of the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise. Sheltered by the imposing Meta Massif, it is a prolongation of the Comino Valley, that in turn connects the basin of the river Liri in Lazio to the basin of the river Sangro in Abruzzo and the river Volturno in Molise (through the impressive Meta Plateau). Thanks to its privileged position, the valley has been an important point of passage since pre-Roman times, and has always favoured the exchange of goods between different populations of the Central Apennines.
Park of Mounts Aurunci
The Aurunci Mountains, a mountain range running from the Apennines chain to the Tyrrhenian Sea, provides the ideal habit for rare species of wild flowers and trees. It cherishes over 50 species of wild orchids flowering any time from April to June. Not to be missed is the wonderful scenic route overlooking the Gulf of Gaeta, that offers sweeping views of the mountains and the sea.
Natural Reserve – Lake of Posta Fibreno
“I just love this wholesomeness and pleasantness, and since I have been here I just don’t seem to get enough of it.” Cicero, 2000 years ago. Situated within a short driving distance from the Relais, Lake Fibreno is famous for its colours and scents, as well as for the unique plant and animal life it contains. This enchanting portion of the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise provides pure drinking water all year round and especially in July and August, when water is even more precious.Visitors will have the possibility to explore four different routes, a floating island, a watermill and a small museum.
Pastena Caves are a remarkable karst cave system located in Central Italy. Idyllically set just in the heart of a picturesque karst valley, they extend for 880 metres.
Their Mesozoic rocks date back to 80-50 million years ago. The only visible part extends for about 1 kilometre and contains spectacular stalactites and stalagmites. Not to be missed are the Halls of Bats, Columns, Wonders, Mount Calvario, Blue Lake and Occhialone.
Lazio’s largest karst lake, Lake Canterno, that extends 538 metres above sea level, is situated just in the heart of Ciociaria, halfway between Fiuggi and the gentle rolling hills of the surrounding area. The eerie atmosphere of this small natural basin has repeatedly been compared to the mysterious allure of the Scottish Highlands, and lots of medieval legends have survived and still echo around the shores of the lake. Lake Canterno is a real paradise for the lovers of outdoor activities, such as mountain biking, horseback riding, sports fishing and bird watching. Its waters, that are protected by the homonymous Natural Reserve, provide the ideal habitat for rare species of fish, such as doctor fish, common carp, eel and European perch, while the surrounding territory is home to grey herons, little egrets, common moorhens, common buzzards, Eurasian sparrow hawks and Eurasian eagle-owls. Located a very short distance from Lake Canterno, the picturesque medieval village of Fumone is peppered with small crafts shops selling tasty local staples and typical products.
The river Liri is one of the principal rivers of Central Italy. In the upper part of Isola del Liri it receives the waters of Fibreno and then divides into two branches which then re-join, surrounding the lower part of the town. One branch makes a 27 metres high waterfall (Cascata Grande) situated in the centre, a unique case in Europe.
The other waterfall, called Cascata del Valcatoio, is on the other hand of the city centre. A dam is built on the river after the conjunction with the river Sacco in Ceprano.