The Gran Sasso d'Italia, with its breathtaking landscapes and imposing grandeur, is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and camping aficionados. This guide will lead you through the essential steps to have an unforgettable camping experience on Gran Sasso, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the wild beauty of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
First and foremost, select the most suitable season for your camping trip. Spring and summer offer milder temperatures, while autumn showcases spectacular landscapes with colorful foliage. Winter, though colder, can be perfect for venturing into skiing or winter activities.
Decide on the area of Gran Sasso you want to explore. There are numerous camping options, each with its unique features. You can choose from campsites near lakes, valleys, and hiking trails, ensuring a personalized experience.
Make sure you have a high-quality tent, a sleeping bag suitable for the expected temperature, and an insulating mat for comfortable sleep. Bring along a lightweight camping kitchen stocked with everything you need for preparing meals. Proper camping gear ensures comfort and safety.
The Gran Sasso region offers various camping options, including equipped campsites with facilities, mountain refuges, and free camping zones. Choose the one that best suits your needs and desired comfort level.
Gran Sasso is a delicate natural environment. Adhere to responsible camping norms: leave no trace, collect waste, and comply with local restrictions. Maintaining the environment intact will ensure that future generations can also enjoy these places.
During camping, you'll have the chance to explore hiking trails, engage in climbing, trekking, cycling, and more. Ensure you plan activities based on your preferences and physical preparedness.
Before departing, check weather conditions and be mindful of potential mountain weather changes. Carry a first aid kit, appropriate clothing, and have contact information for local emergency services.
Many times, people reach out via social media or email asking if camping or bivouacking is allowed in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park. In this post, I'll summarize the regulations within the park.
Quoting verbatim from the park's regulations:
"Camping and bivouacking are prohibited within the Park, as well as lighting fires."
This statement leaves no room for doubt. However, there's a "but." There is a regulation that provides specific provisions regarding camping and bivouacking. The articles regarding this regulation are listed below. At the end of the page, you can download the file directly from the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park's website.
This regulation governs, in accordance with the current regulations, and in particular the provisions in force for the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park, the carrying out of camping activities within the Park's territory, with particular reference to temporary free camping as per Article 3 of Annex A of the Presidential Decree of June 5, 1995.
To camp in the locations listed in Article 3, either as an organized group or individually, it is necessary to obtain a specific authorization, indicating the number of days and the expected number of people, from the Park's Service Center of the relevant area or the offices of the organization managing the areas and related activities. Transitionally, in places where the Park's Service Center is not active, authorization is requested and granted by the competent municipality, which immediately sends a copy to the Park Authority. The camping activity can be delegated to associations, cooperatives, and companies, subject to an agreement with the Park Authority. For each camping area, a maximum number of visitors is determined in advance by the Park Authority, based on the characteristics of the location, the proximity to inhabited centers, waste disposal options, water availability, and access methods. Organized groups are assigned a designated camping site within the locations listed in Article 3, chosen by the organization responsible for management.
The locations where camping is permitted, along with the maximum number of people allowed for each area, are indicated in the specific list attached to this regulation, which can be adjusted and supplemented by the Park President, as necessary, based on conservation needs, also in line with proposals from municipalities and other local administrations.
Temporary free camping within the Park refers to stopping and staying overnight outside of specifically equipped campsites—as defined by Law No. 2651 of December 30, 1937, and subsequent amendments and regional laws—using mobile tents or other forms of temporary bivouac. Activities carried out with trailers, campers, or other appropriate motorized vehicles, even temporarily, for such activities are not permitted in the locations listed in Article 3. Instead, they can be carried out in dedicated equipped areas, usually located near inhabited centers or anthropized areas. Overnight and/or organized parking of these vehicles is therefore prohibited, both along roads and in any other location in the Park not specifically designated for this purpose.
For multi-day trekking activities, the Park Authority may authorize stops in areas other than those provided for in this regulation, upon request for specific authorization, indicating the places, day, and number of participants. The Park Authority cannot issue authorizations for areas identified in the Park Plan as Zone A "Integral Reserve," where any form of camping or bivouacking, even temporary, is prohibited.
Campers and other temporarily present guests in camping areas are required to strictly respect the environment and nature of the locations, and in particular, must adhere to the following rules:
- Cutting plants is prohibited;
- Any form of damage to vegetation is prohibited;
- Any alteration of the soil, and particularly the creation of furrows around tents for rainwater collection, is prohibited;
- Any action/activity conflicting with the characteristics and tranquility of the location is prohibited. This includes making loud noises, introducing harmful and polluting substances, introducing dogs and/or other domestic animals;
- Lighting fires is prohibited, except in specially equipped sites or as indicated by the Park Surveillance Guards of the CTA/CFS Stations, with the responsibility of the concerned parties for any damage to people or property;
- The disposal of solid waste of any kind and size should be done exclusively in the specific RSU containers set up by the relevant municipality.
Violators are subject to penalties provided for by the laws and regulations of the Park, and in particular, by Law No. 394 of December 6, 1991, by the Presidential Decree of June 5, 1995, and related safeguard provisions listed in Annex A of the same Decree, and by the regulations of the implementing authority of these norms.
Camping in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park, adequately promoted by the Park Authority, requires maximum attention and strict respect for nature and conservation regulations by the user. Information can be obtained through service structures, the Surveillance Guards of the CTA/CFS Park Surveillance Stations, and the available illustrative documentation, even available for free, at Service Centers, public offices, tourist organizations, and those responsible for camping area management. The Park counts on the availability and collaboration of campers to ensure that the places they frequent retain all the characteristics, attractions, and peculiarities that make them of interest and use.
The Park's authorization is granted while safeguarding the rights of third parties and land ownership. For staying in camping areas, a daily fee may be required, determined differently depending on the stay's characteristics and the various means of use (tent, trailer, caravan, etc.).
Unforgettable Memories: Camping on Gran Sasso will allow you to deeply connect with nature and create lasting memories. Enjoy starry nights, fresh and pure air, and the feeling of being immersed in one of Italy's most precious natural treasures.
Camping on Gran Sasso is an experience that allows you to embrace the unspoiled beauty of the mountains, disconnect from daily life, and rediscover your adventurous spirit. By following these guidelines and adequately preparing, you can enjoy an unforgettable camping experience that will leave you with precious memories and a deep connection to nature.
In conclusion, we can say that camping and bivouacking are only allowed in certain designated places for such activities, subject to written communication to be sent to the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park Authority. The basic rules for sleeping in nature must ALWAYS be respected. We won't list them here as they are known and derived from the respect and common sense of every human being.