The history of the Gran Paradiso National Park is inextricably linked to the protection of its iconic animal, the ibex.
As early as 1856, King Vittorio Emanuele II declared the Gran Paradiso mountains a Royal Hunting Reserve, thus saving the ibex from extinction, which had reduced its population to alarming levels in those years. The King formed a corps of specialised guards and had paths and mule tracks built, which still today form the backbone for the protection of the fauna by the park rangers and form the core of the hiking trails.
In 1919, Vittorio Emanuele III declared himself willing to donate the 2,100 hectares of the hunting reserve to the Italian State, provided it created a national park there: on 3 December 1922, Italia’s first national park, the Gran Paradiso, was established, with the aim of preserving for present and future generations the ecosystems of international and national importance of the valleys around the Gran Paradiso massif.
Today, the Park records millions of visitors annually and boasts a network of 850km of trails and ten visitor centres. To celebrate Nature, culture, history but also the future of the protected area, the Park Authority has organised a calendar of events to celebrate the centenary all together!
The month of August closes on Sunday 28 with two appointments. The first is “The great network of the living” in Ceresole Reale, an easy hike Colle del Nivolet-lake Rosset for adults and families with children from 9 years of age: one of the most beautiful lakes in the Park, in places with a high level of biodiversity, to observe and understand how each living organism is in a network with all the others through forms of cooperation and competition.
The second is “Sorella acqua, umile, pretiosa et casta” in Ribordone: at 10am, guided excursion to the Prascondù Shrine, to discover symbolic places and meanings of the element water; then lunch with Gran Paradiso Quality Brand products and, at 3.30pm, inauguration of the ancient source “Lu fontanin”; at 5.30pm, finally, concert by the Polyphonic Chorale of Sommariva Bosco for the “Harmonies in Gran Paradiso” review.
Without forgetting that always on Sunday 28 “Walking in the Clouds” will close: the last six kilometres of the Provincial Road leading to Colle del Nivolet, in the Municipality of Ceresole Reale, will be closed to private car traffic and can be travelled on foot, by bicycle or with the shuttles. A way of experiencing the Park under the banner of gentle tourism, to discover beautiful and unspoilt places on tiptoe.