Hiking Southern Italy's Maratea Coast
Watch out on the Maratea paths for the endemic, brilliant yellow Palinuro primrose, a showy flower that blooms nearly year-round in this semitropical climate. Keep an eye out, too, for the Maratea lizard, a small, greenish blueheaded reptile. A local campaign for the protection of these lizards helped introduce endangered-species conservation programs to Italy. And look before you climb over rocks, which are favorite sunning spots for the area's only venomous snake, the European adder. These creatures are locally abundant, and, a Maratea resident explained to me, are killed not so much out of fear for them but out of concern that they may scare impressionable tourists away.
Keep your eyes open, too, for wolves. Maratea's paths connect to other ancient roads that lead north and south to two of Italy's least-visited national parks: the Parco Nazionale del Cilento e Vallo Diano and the Parco Nazionale del Pollino. Both embrace some of the tallest peaks in the southern Apennines and large populations of wildlifeincluding Canis lupus, which has disappeared from most other parts of western Europe.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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