Italy's National Parks

Val Grande
  |  Gorp.com
Just the Facts

Location: North-central Italy, near the border of Switzerland

Nearest town: Verbania 

Favorite activities: Skiing, hiking, fishing, birdwatching

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The largest wilderness area in Italy, the Val Grande, near Lago Maggiore, is laced with clear mountain streams, deep lakes, and hidden glacial valleys. Although it lies close to the major cities of Genoa and Milan, it is seldom visited; established only in 1992, it remains one of the country's best-kept secrets, and mountain goats far outnumber tourists at most times of the year. Visitors to the area can hike, cross-country ski, camp, fish, and even do a little treasure-hunting in the ruins of long-abandoned fortifications. Birders will find the secluded valleys worth a visit for their wealth of raptors, including rarely seen falcons, kestrels, and other birds of prey. Rustic lodges near the park's entrance cater mostly to the ski crowd; camping is permitted throughout the park.

The largest wilderness area in Italy, the Val Grande, near Lago Maggiore, is laced with clear mountain streams, deep lakes, and hidden glacial valleys. Although it lies close to the major cities of Genoa and Milan, it is seldom visited; established only in 1992, it remains one of the country's best-kept secrets, and mountain goats far outnumber tourists at most times of the year.


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