Parco Regionale del Matese (regional park)

The Parco Regionale del Matese (regional park) (go to the link) was established April 12th 2002 to protect one of the bigger and most important massifs with limy and dolomitic characteristics in our region. It is one of the most interesting areas in the Central-Southern Apennines from the naturalistic and environmental point of view. The configuration of its relative mountainsides characterizes the Campania territory; it represents the Eastern limit of the "Alto casertano" plain and of the territory of Molise identified by the Benevento – Isernia directive. The Matese territory consists of a chain of mainly limy mountains situated between Molise and Campania regions. This territory is rich in wild places where wolfs and golden eagles live. Moreover, it is plenty of gentle landscapes, of blue-water lakes, where the peaks of the mountains reflect themselves, of authentic well-preserved historical centres, that witness the historical strained relationship between the Romans and the Samnites, and of unique and tasty local natural products. The Park covers an area of 82351.57 acres along a northeast-southwest axis, that runs along the valleys of the rivers Lete and Sava for about 50 km up to the valley of the river Tammaro in the province of Benevento. Along this axis the following main mountains are situated: Miletto, Gallinola and Mutria mountains. This orography affects the climatic aspects of this territory, which represents the last bulwark of the continental climate in the mountain areas, while in the lowest areas, exposed to the warm winds coming from the Mediterranean coasts of Campania, are characterized by Mediterranean landscapes with olive groves, ilex and cypress groves, and Mediterranean maquis. The geographical proximity of two different climatic areas makes this territory one of the richest places in biodiversity of the southern Apennines. In particular, the richness of the pastures improved the development of sheep farming which, together with agriculture and wood exploitation, represented the main source of income for the local population in former times. The census activity concerns about the 10% of the park area which Gioia Sannitica, Cusano Mutri, Cerreto Sannita, Piedimonte Matese, and San Potito Sannitico towns belong to.