Outdoor Activities in Rome and Lazio
Information on the national parks, nature reserves and locations for hiking, walking, mountain biking and other outdoor activities around Rome and in the provinces of Lazio...
Did you know?
- Lazio's alternative name is Latium (although this term is usually used to refer to ancient Rome)
- The Lazio region has a varied natural heritage, with volcanic lakes, mountains, a coastline with sand dune areas and dense woodlands
- Natural parks in Lazio are home to the Marsican brown bear, the wolf and a variety of flamingo
- The Gran Sasso Park is home to the only Apennine glacier, the Calderone, at 2,912m
- The north of Lazio, covered with lush grasslands, is renowned for its cattle and the Lazio cowboys, known as butteri
- The south of the region is home to Castel Gandolfo, the summer hideaway of the Pope
The Nature Reserves
There are many reserves and protected areas in Lazio. It is advisable to check the weather report before going hiking or rock climbing.
The more significant reserves include:
Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise
Founded in 1923, this park is well known the world over. Visits to the park are strictly monitored to ensure there are no adverse effects on inhabitants, which include the wolf, chamois brown bear, roe deer, and wild boar.
The park's highest mountains are Mount Petroso (2,247m) and Mount Marsicano (2,242m).
There are several visitor centres:
- Centro Natura (Nature Centre) in Pescasseroli
Tel: 0863 9113221
- Centro Lupo (Wolf Centre) in Civitella Alfedena
Tel: 0864 890141
- Centro Orso (Bear Centre) in Villavallelonga
Tel: 0863 949261
- Centro Operativo del Servizio Educazione (Environmental Service Centre) in Villetta Barrea
Tel: 0864 89102
Further information from:
Parco Nazionale del Circeo
This park, in Latina province, was established in 1934 to protect a variety of plant and animal life. The park features natural habitats that include wetlands, sand dunes, the Island of Zannone, and forested areas.
It covers the towns of Latina, Sabaudia and San Felice Circeo, as well as part of the Island of Zannone. The area is a bird lover's paradise, with many species, including coots, cormorants, ospreys, cranes and peregrine falcons.
Further Information from:
- National Park of Circeo (Parco Nazionale del Circeo)
At: via Carlo Alberto 107, 04016 Sabaudia (LT)
Tel: 0773 511 385
Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso e Monti della Lago
The National Park of Gran Sasso and Monti della Lago has two peaks, Corno Grande and Corno Piccolo, as well as a hotel on the plateau beneath the peaks, which served as a prison to hold Mussolini in the summer of 1943.
There are countless varieties of high altitude plant life, as well as some interesting fauna, including the Abruzzo chamois, martens, porcupines, royal eagles and eagle owls.
Many foods are also locally produced here, including olive all'ascolana, Aquila saffron, truffles, chestnuts and honey.
- Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso e Monti della Lago
Tel: 0746 824519
Tel: 800 351 078 (free daily tourist information)
Parco Regionale dell'Appia Antica
A protected area that aims to educate visitors about the area's history and natural heritage. Wildlife includes tortoises, geckos, vipers, bats, and many species of birds.
- The Via Appia Antica Information Point
Open: Monday to Saturday 09:30-17:30 (16:30 during Winter) and on Sunday and holidays 09:30-17:30 (16:30 during Winter)
Tel: 9065 135 316
Riserva Naturale Monte Rufeno
This protected area covers 2892 hectares and borders Umbria and Tuscany. The landscape of rolling hills and wide valleys has almost no human inhabitants. The reserve is split by the river Paglia. There are predominantly oak woods but also ash trees, maples and chestnuts, and the reserve is also home to many rare species of animal. There is a botanic garden and a museum to educate visitors about the area's natural biodiversity.
- Riserva Naturale Monte Rufeno Visitor Centre
In: Aquapendente, on the state road SS Cassia
Open daily: 09:30-12:30 and 16:00-19:00.
Tel: 0763 733642
Lago di Bolsena
Europe's largest volcanic lake is situated a few kilometres north of Viterbo. It has two Islands: Bisentina and Martana. The land around the lake is very fertile, producing olives, grapes and vegetables. Despite concerns about over-fishing, the lake has many species of fish, including eel, perch, trout and carp. The surrounding towns have lakeside views.
- For the Lago di Bolsena website: Click here
Outdoor Sports in Lazio
Hiking is the most widely-practiced outdoor pursuit in Lazio, mainly due to the varied and picturesque landscape.
A good place to go hiking is the Abruzzo National Park and, in particular, in the Fondillo Valley, where paths are shaded by beech trees.
- Contact the hiking base in Pescasseroli
Tel: 0863 910461
Good hiking terrain can also be found in the south of Lazio, in Ciociara, Latina.
Cross country skiing
In Lazio, there are many opportunities to go skiing. One of the best resorts is Terminillo, in Rieti, which has facilities for downhill or cross country skiing, snowboarding or sledging. For more information on the Terminillo Ski School, contact the Rieti Tourist Office.
- Reiti Tourist Office - Ski School Information
Tel: 3389 775 422
Lake Bolsena has good water sports facilities, including sailing, kayaking and scuba diving, as well as archaeological snorkelling in the summer months.
- For more information see the Lago di Bolsena website: Click here (in English)
There are several riding schools including the Centro Iippico Cerreto Alto.
- Centro Iippico Cerreto Alto
Tel: 0773 643 927
The Laghi Lungo e Ripasottile Regional Natural Reserve in Rieti allows paragliding and hang-gliding.
- Alta Quota paragliding school for information
Tel: 0746 685037