Italy’s geography is as varied as it is beautiful. If gorgeous landscapes, picturesque hikes, and learning about animals and plants are of interest to you, you’ll enjoy exploring the 25 National Parks in Italy, not to mention various regional parks, protected areas, and nature preserves throughout the country. Admire the beauty of wildlife alongside ancient villages, visit one of the several active volcanoes, or observe wildlife in its natural habitat. Wander through centuries old seaside villages along the rugged coastline of the South or gaze at the soaring Alps to the North. There are many opportunities to experience the natural beauty of Italy!
Parks.it The Portal About Parks in Italy has a wealth of information about each of these wonderful parks. This blog post for Ecobnb.com – National Parks Italy also shares some helpful suggested locations and photos for some of what they consider to be the most beautiful national parks in Italy.
In addition to the national parks throughout Italy, there are local parks you may enjoy as well. Carney Park is a U.S. military recreational facility located in Pozzuoli, 20 kilometers east of the Capodichino Naval Base. It is situated inside a 93-acre extinct volcanic crater and hosts a 9-hole golf course, playgrounds, a seasonal Olympic size pool/water park, sports fields, tennis courts, dog park, picnic areas, and a paintball arena. Carney Park also offers yurts, cabins, and campgrounds for overnight stays.
The Stazione Zoologica
Created in 1972, the oldest aquarium in Europe is located in Naples. The Stazione Zoologica is home to a collection of fish and sea plants from the local area and they also have a research library on the second floor which showcases 19th century frescoes that depict Mediterranean life. Library visits must be pre-booked by phone.
For more information visit the webpage: Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn Napoli or read this article in Stars and Stripes which gives an overview of what one might expect on a visit.
Additional aquariums throughout Italy include:
Alghero Aquarium – Alghero
Acquario di Cala Gonone – Cala Gonone
Aquarium of Cattolica, Cattolica
Aquarium of Genoa – Genoa
Aquarium of Leghorn – Leghorn
Civic Aquarium of Milan – Milan
Sea Life Gardaland, Gardaland, Lake Garda, Italy
More information can be found by visiting: Italia.it – Travel Ideas – Visiting Italy’s Aquariums
ZOOS AND ANIMAL PARKS
If you are a wildlife enthusiast, there are a wide range of zoos and animal parks to delight your interests. Many of them have educational programming for both children and adults and support conservation efforts. Italy’s best zoos strive to provide their animals’ homes that are as close to their natural habitats as possible. Petting zoos, as well as dinosaur exhibits, can also be found at some locations. In addition to promoting conservation awareness, some also have captive breeding programs which strive to stabilize endangered populations.
Bioparco di Roma
Roman mayor Ernesto Nathan opened the Bioparco di Roma in 1911, and the zoo is currently home to almost 1,000 animals representing approximately 200 species. Exhibits include Bear Alley, an 11,480-square-foot habitat with pools and ledges for its brown bears; The Village of Chimpanzees, with trees, rope,s and platforms for its residents to cavort upon; and the Children’s Farm, a petting zoo where staff members discuss the history of animal domestication. The zoo offers children’s activities and educational workshops right in the heart of Rome. For more information, visit: Bioparco di Roma
Bioparco di Sicilia
The Bioparco di Sicilia is a small zoo in Palermo whose residents include lemurs, zebras and bison. Its reptile house features pythons and boas, and the zoo’s dinosaur park showcases replicas of the giant lizards. Guests also have access to a playground and exhibits exploring primitive humans. For more information, visit: Bioparco di Sicilia (website in Italian)
Giardino Zoologico di Pistoia
Giardino Zoologico di Pistoia is located in the hill country outside Pistoia and covers about 17 acres. The zoo currently hosts about 400 animals, along with a variety of exotic plants. The zoo concentrates on endangered animals, regularly bringing new additions into the park to preserve threatened species. The park offers guided tours of its grounds and hosts children’s activities in its biodiversity lab. For more information, visit: Giardino Zoologico di Pistoia
Lo Zoo di Napoli
Lo Zoo di Napoli offers free admission to children under 2.5 feet tall and includes a children’s farm where kids can feed chicks, rabbits, and ponies. Visitors can view elephants, giraffes, and tigers as they stroll the zoo’s paths. The park also provides a home for dozens of avian species. The zoo offers guided tours, educational workshops, and a picnic area for its guests. For more information, visit: Lo Zoo di Napoli (website in Italian)
Parco Natura Viva
Parco Natura Viva has more than 1,500 animals from approximately 280 species. The zoo covers over 158 acres and features a six-mile road, allowing guests to take a driving tour through its African animals’ habitat. Guests can also view the zoo’s inhabitants by walking the pathways of its Fauna Park and see scale models of dinosaurs at the Extinction Park. The zoo works with other parks to conserve species such as the European bison and ibis, striving to restore their numbers over time and reintroduce them to the wild. For more information, visit: Parco Natura Viva
Parco zoo della fauna Europea
The Parco Zoo della Fauna Europea, in Poppi, is a park of centuries-old trees (oak, pine, and chestnut) and the animals who naturally live there. You can walk the entire three-mile trail around the Parco Zoo. There is a small church in the middle of the park named for Saint Francis of Assisi overlooking the lake. The medieval castle of Poppi, mountain views, a monastery, and the Casentinesi Forests National Park are close by as well.
For more information, visit:
Visit Tuscany Attractions – Parco zoo della fauna europea di poppi
Parco zoo della fauna Europea (official website in Italian)
Citta’ della Domenica
This park is geared towards smaller children, with a section dedicated to Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, and Little Red Riding Hood. A little train takes visitors around the park to see the animals and there’s also a reptile tower. For more information, visit: INLINELINK (website in Italian)
An animal attraction and theme part in Southern Italy, Zoosafari is located on a hillside in Fasano overlooking the sea. In addition to the main animal reserve that has animals from all over the globe roaming freely, there is a Tropical Room, a Pedonal Zoological Trail, the Lake of the Large Mammals, an Ornithological Exhibit, Penguin House, and a viewing area of several bottle-nosed dolphins. For more information, visit: Zoosafari (website in Italian)
For more information regarding zoos and animal parks in Italy, visit:
Travel Tips USA Today – Zoos in Italy
Getaway Tips AZCentral.com – Zoos in Italy
Whether you seek stomach dropping rides or are looking for a change of pace from some cultural sightseeing, you’ll find what you’re looking for at one of the outdoor parks in Italy. These amusement parks are great for children, but most are also fun for any age.
Some would compare Gardaland, Italy’s most well-known amusement park, to Disney. It has been listed as one of the top theme parks world-wide and includes Gardaland Park, Gardaland Sea-Life, and the Gardaland Hotel. The park opened in 1975 and takes its name from nearby Garda Lake. Their website (in English) has a wealth of information about the park’s amenities. For more information, visit: Gardaland
The largest amusement park in Italy, Mirabilandia includes some notable rollercoasters, a water world area, Mirabilandia Beach, and the second largest ferris wheel in Europe. The name Mirabilandia means “Land of wonders” and its range of international-level, record-setting attractions and shows work to live up to its name. Younger guests will also enjoy their own theme areas, Bimbopoli and Dinoland. For more information, visit: Miribilandia (official website in Italian) and Miribilandia Parks (an English webpage that also links to the official website).
This park has fewer rides than Gardaland or Mirabilandiam, but has more animals, including a small aquarium and even a Leonardo Da Vinci museum. For more information, visit: Minitalia
Italy beyond the obvious – Amusement Parks is an article that provides further information about amusement parks throughout Italy.