Italian gardens: Campo Imperatore Plateau

Jan 19, 2019 44

In Abruzzo, in the heart of the Gran Sasso massif, surrounded by some of the highest and most suggestive peaks of the Apennines, lies the Campo Imperatore plateau, nicknamed the Tibet of Abruzzo.

The origin of this wide flat valley is to be found in the long work of floods and glaciers, which have gently shaped the morphology of the slope, giving shape to a unique landscape, where plains and slopes alternate without interruption for more than twenty-six kilometers at an altitude ranging between 1500 and 1900 meters above sea level.

The vastness of the place is accentuated by the presence of exclusively herbaceous vegetation, which has always made it a perfect place for grazing and transhumance. Today, in addition to the summer pasture, the plateau is distinguished above all by being, in winter, one of the most beautiful ski resorts in the Apennines and, in summer, a destination for many hiking trails.

One of the beautiful assets that certainly attracts visitors and enthusiasts from all over the world is the extraordinary flora. The rocky one populates scree and rocky cracks with elegant alpine poppies (Papaver degenii and Papaver julicum), the rare edelweiss of the Apennines (Leontopodium nivale) and the genepi (Artemisia umbelliformis subsp. eriantha).

Many other rare flowers and unique species populate this mountain environment, collaborating with flowers less unusual to the extraordinary and spectacular blooms that in spring and summer light up the endless prairies with color: the first crocuses (Crocus albiflorus) together with Scilla bifolia and Gagea fistulosa; thyme, clovers, buttercups, anemones, pulsatillas, gentians and unusual species such as Valeriana tuberosa or spontaneous orchids when the season gets warmer and more verdant. Among the numerous endemic species we can mention Cynoglossum magellense, Saxifraga porophylla and Viola eugeniae subsp. eugeniae, exclusive to the Apennines, with its small habit but exuberant flowering, capable of covering entire meadows for miles and miles.

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