Territory, Hydrography, Flora, Fauna, Hystorical notes, Gran Sasso laboratories




The Gran Sasso (or Gran Sasso d'Italia) is the highest mountain of the Apennines. The Corno Grande is the highest peak of the mountain (2912 m.).

corno grande

The Corno Grande

Is contained entirely in the Abruzzo region on the border between the provinces dell'Aquila, Teramo and Pescara.
Bordered to the north by the territories of Pietracamela and Isola del Gran Sasso d'Italia, to the east with the Glens of Peoples, is limited to the south from Campo Imperatore (and over the spurs of Mount Scindarella, Monte Portella and Pizzo Cefalonia -- the plain of Assergi), while to the west-north-west border with the Monti della Laga and Lake Campotosto.
The Gran Sasso d'Italia is an area protected by the institution of the Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga. The Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga covers 3 regions (Abruzzo, Marche, Lazio), 5 provinces (L'Aquila, Pescara, Teramo, Ascoli Piceno, Rieti), 44 municipalities (AQ: Barete, Barisciano, Cagnano Amiterno, Calascio, Campotosto, Capestrano, Capitignano, Carapelle Calvisio, Castel del Monte, Castelvecchio Calvisio, L'Aquila, Montereale, Ofena, Pizzoli, Santo Stefano di Sessanio, Villa Saint Lucia. TE: Arsita, Campli, Castelli Civitella del Tronto, Cortino , Crognaleto, Fano Adriano, Isola del Gran Sasso, Montorio al Vomano, Pietracamela, Rocca Santa Maria, Torricella Sicura, Tossicia, Valle Castellana. PE: Brittoli, Bussi sul Tirino, Carpineto della Nora, a Casauria Castiglione, Civitella Casanova, Corvara, Farindola, of Montebello Bertona, Pescosansonesco, Villa Celiera. AP: Acquasanta Terme, Arquata del Tronto. RI: Accumoli, Amatrice.

From its most distant points, the Passo delle Capannelle west and the Glens of Peoples in the south-east, the Group of Gran Sasso is about 50 km.
Oriented from northwest to southeast, as the vast majority of groups and Appennine preappenninici, has two main sottocatene parallel: the first, northernmost, extending from Monte Corvo (2623 m, north-west) to Vado di Sole (south-east). The sottocatena southern stretches from Passo delle Capannelle and Mount St. Franco (2132 m, north-west) to Mount Head of Serre (1771 m, south-east). Beyond this central area there is a large area south-east, the southern spurs, which are characterized by numerous reliefs lower: Monte Ruzza (1643 m), Monte Bolz (1904 m), Monte Camarda (1384 m), Monte cap (1802 m), Monte Picca (m 1405) and many others, to the Gorges of Popoli.
The major peaks are in the northern sottocatena: the Corno Grande, which consists of three main peaks: the east (2903 m), the Central (2893 m) and higher, Western (2912 m), and the Little Horn (m 2655). Between the two horns are the remains of the Calderone glacier, the southernmost glacier in Europe.

Calderone Glacier

Calderone Glacier

The Gran Sasso is without doubt the most important landscape "Alpine" Appennino. In it you can find many characteristics typical of the Alpine massifs, such as sharp peaks, deeply carved valleys, moraines, cirques and valleys shaped by Quaternary glacial. The north-eastern slopes with steep rocky walls, all peaks, pinnacles and deep furrows, on the southern side, behind massive limestone, we find a series of degrading upland karst so sweet and varied. In some of these plans there are lakes of karst origin, such as that of Barisciano of Passaneta of Racollo, St. Peter, filet of Assergi of Lake Sinizzo and Wallpaper. Going down to south, from Campo Imperatore Paganica to the intense karstic erosion has resulted in several caves of different size and depth (Grotta Male and dell'Oro) and to swallow, some active, some fossils. Other caves are also present in the north, around Rigopiano (Grotta del Lupo and dell'Eremita) and deep, such as the Bandito, Pozzo di Elisa, and Pozzo dell'Inferno.
Special consideration should be given to the Calderone Glacier, located just below the north slope of Corno Grande at an altitude of 2775 that, with an area of approximately 6 hectares, is the only glacier dell'Appennino and is the southernmost of Europe. Because of low winter snow that has characterized the eighties, there has been a worrying decline of perennial ice thickness. Continuous monitoring in which scholars take this precious element has noted a recovery in recent years, also testified that he returned to form the lake in Sofia collection point of the waters of the thaw. In the summer of 1993 there was a greater dissolution of snow covering the ice, causing the surface of moraine debris. The area of the Gran Sasso is rich in valuable water that filtered through the limestone karst of the plans, down to the valley, giving life to countless resurgent. Among these, the most notable are the sources of Ruzza, the Golden Calf, del Rio Arno, Cold Water, the Brigand of Angri, Water Source and the Santa Vetica, often picked for civilian use, or tributaries of streams that in turn feed into the major rivers in the area. Among them: the Vomano, rising from the northernmost sector of the chain, the Fino, the Tavo that arises from the Valley of Angora, in the east and the west side in Tirino.


gran sasso d'italia

The Gran Sasso chain from province of Pescara





The Gran Sasso offers a wide variety 'of lakes and rivers. Below are cited the main.


Campotosto Lake


Campotosto lake is the largest artificial lake of Abruzzo. It is situated at an altitude of 1313 m s.l.m. and an area of 1400 ha.

It can be reached by taking the SS. 80 from L'Aquila or the Adriatic coast.

During the glacial lake basin had a form of a double Y. Once the glacial epoch has left the bed where flows the Rio Fucino. With the creation of artificial lake that is the shape of a V, in practice the upper part of double Y.

The artificial lake was created in the thirties-forties by the construction of three dams, in order to use its waters for the operation of hydroelectric site in the valley of Vomano. The flooded river bed covered the bog that supplied fuel for local industries. Until the beginning of 1900 in the bottom of the lake was extracted peat.

In winter, visitors can admire the lake completely frozen in the autumn while you admire the cover of the woods of colors of the season.





Campotosto Lake

Capo d'Acqua lake


Here is the most abundant source that feeds the river Tirino. The lake is owned 'private.

The invasion comes in the second half of the'60s to the area a water reserve for irrigation of surrounding land, is now also used by Enel to supply a hydroelectric plant.

It 'always in this area which was found many years ago the famous Warrior Warrior Aufinateo Capestrano a witness of a great necropolis italica located in the area. Again here, there was one of the earliest settlements of Mesolithic abruzzese came to light during work on the construction of the artificial lake. Many artefacts found in this zone.




capo d'acqua lake

Vomano river

The Vomano can be said the second of two major rivers
surrounding the Gran Sasso d'Italia, the Aterno being the first. Matrinus in antiquity was called by Strabo and Pliny by Vomanum.

Vomano The river originates in the province of near Passo delle Capannelle, about 1200 meters above sea level, on the north western slopes of Mount St. Franco.

Flows in the northern part of Abruzzo and its route of 76 km is almost completely covered by the province of Teramo in eclusione a short section in the province of 'Aquila. Flows into the Adriatic Sea at Roseto degli Abruzzi.

The basin extends over 782 km2 and is bordered on the left with the basin of Tordino.
In the top of the bed is dug Vomano within a groove etched in the Miocene sandstones intercalated layers of clay, in the interim by limestone shores and finally in the last stretch up to
mouth, the bed expands on alluvial soils. The river collects the contribution of over thirty large water bodies and




vomano river

Tirino river

Beautiful stretch of water from the Gran Sasso, the aquifer system of Campo Imperatore.

After a karst of 25 km, out of a valley. The water flow rate is constant throughout the year (6000 l / sec) at a temperature of 11 °, no tributaries, the waters are always clear. Tirino River is one of most rivers' cleanest in Europe.

Downstream, feeds three sources, Capo d'Acqua, Presciano and the small lake below Capestrano but the largest inflow is from Capo d'Acqua being the other two almost firm. The name derives from the greek "crushed" and means precisely threefold source, the valley in which flows are also called Tritan valley or valley chopped. Bussi is at the left tributary of the Pescara River.





tirino river

Tavo river

The river Tavo born in the foothills east of Gran Sasso, near Mount Guardiola (1828 m), in Pietrattina, to 1560 m. E 'along 42 km. Joins the river up to form the Salt River.

During the ice ages, all surface water from the melting of the glaciers of Campo Imperatore, is channeled into the ditch and Cretarola
in Vallone D'Angora, and just this immense quantity of water is responsible for the formation of these gorges by towering cliffs. Currently, the surface transport is almost nil in the gorges, and occurs mainly by underground (karst).
After crossing the valley, flowing into a wider valley, the Valle D'Angri and mortar locations D'Angri is channeled into a narrow gorge, called the Mouth of hell, where the turbines for Tavo penetrates then lead to a ' other valley where it forms a spectacular waterfall 28 meters high, the waterfall of the Golden Calf, the source of the most important of the southern group of the Gran Sasso. Note the contrast between the rocky slopes with little vegetation or bare and hollow that appears green trees cresciutivi spontaneously. The course through the territory of the National Park is rich with a thriving riparian vegetation, habitat for a diversity of animal species. The river is populated in this section by fario trout. Among birds, the Blackbird acquaiolo, the white dancer, the ballerina yellow, the grass snake from the neck, the great spotted woodpecker.




tavo river

Ruzzo river

The river is born on Monte Prena at 2560mt. Right tributary of the river Mavone.




ruzzo river

Nora river

The river born on Mount Scarafano(1433 m). Left tributary of the river Pescara.

Has a length of 28 km.




nora river

Sfondo lake


Tiny lake on the plain of Voltigno.

Characterized by cold even in summer.

The popular belief has it that the bottom and has not even going to lead directly to the sea.



sfondo lake

Sofia lake

Lake place at 2678 meters s.l.m. Began to disappear from the 70's during the construction of the Gran Sasso tunnel, its extinction was completed by the end of the 80s. Had a diameter ranging from 8 meters. and 60 meters and a depth of about 3 meters. It was fed by melting glaciers that flow through two or more streams. The water then into a inghiottitoio which was blocked by ice in some summers.

Trivia: In 1947 there was a film called "The Enchanted stone."
Now when its extinction was close, some local climbers and tried to obstruct the inghiottitoio with gravel, in vain.
The water of the lake was quite drinkable. such as (almost) every melt water.

Source: http://abruzzomolisenatura.forumfree.net



sofia lake

sofia gran sasso

Rio Arno river

Stems from the mountain of Intermesoli (2646 m) on the Gran Sasso (dell'Oro Cave), and has a total length of 9

Right tributary of the river at Vomano Fano Adriano at Pietracamela, 30 km. from Teramo, Poggio Umbricchio turn on the SS. 80th



rio arno river

Mavone river

The river Mavone is born in the Gran Sasso (2912 m) and has a total length of 23 Km

Has the largest tributary to the river Ruzza.

A turn is a tributary of the river Vomano right
at St. Augustine. The Mavone which is the branch of the richest Vomano water perennial, born in Monte Horn by a named source who is in a pit of Hell said Horn, who soon after accepted the ditch
Spoledra and then, at Fano a Corno, the moat and the San Nicola fosso Vittore, and then at Isola del Gran Sasso, the river water rich Ruzza of Fossaceca and Malepasso. Recently I finally had the lead Leomogna, from castles and Fiumetto from Castiglione della Valle.



mavone river

Fino river

The river comes up from the north-east of Mount Tremoggia at 1200 meters above sea level, is a classic river Appennine with trends across the mountain ridge from which arises. Its length
is 48 km, its catchment area is approximately 282 sq. km. and a slope that varies from 3 to 9 percent in the mountain, and from 1 to 3 percent in the lower. Its catchment area is almost one third higher than the Tavo. After a journey of about 25 km, until the leaves the province of Teramo and enters into that of Pescara, here after about 15 km, at
Joint, joins with the river Tavo giving rise to a river which flows called Saline little town north of Montesilvano, bordering Marina di Città Sant'Angelo.
The river has a winding pattern that, by setting up between the deep gorges and valleys, leaving little room for the flood plain.




fino river

Pietranzoni lake

Small body of water located in front of the Monte Brancastello, not far from Corno Grande to Campo Imperatore. Enchanting scenery.



pietranzoni lake

Calascio lake

Artificial lake in town Calascio.

It must be said that the village of Calascio regarding the water supply directly from a source upstream of the reservation, but when the tank is full, you spill the water in the lake and in the case truly abundant winter snow, the flow of water that is poured into the lake is truly impressive.





calascio lake




The exposure of the two different sides of the mountain range, separated by a line of very high ridge, gave birth to a different tree crown cover. The northern side has a good forest integrity in the presence of extensive well-preserved beech with beech trees, Aceri, Abeti white and Betulle.L 'White Fir, Abies Alba, the Apennines, it is noted in sporadic appearances on the slopes of Monte Corvo, in the catchment of Rocchetta and Venaquaro and higher only on the slopes of Colle Pelato in toxicity.
The Birch, Birch pendula, is present in the last few stations around Arsita and Isola del Gran Sasso. The rate, Taxus baccata, is present with the majestic specimens of Angri Vallone, Voltigno. The woods of Chiarino, Monte S. Franco and the forest Codaro Campiglione, all located in the north-west of the massif, are well known examples of the richness of the tree crown cover of this side.
Towards the east, however, there are the Prati di Tivo, molded by glacial Quaternary, characterized by a discontinuous forest interspersed with large meadows, on which grows a very rich flora and varies with Anemoni, gentian, orchids and Primule. The valley of the Rio Arno upstream of Prati, very evocative and full of water, has a good environmental integrity: here it is easy to admire the Giglio martagone or Riccio di Dama and Giglio Rosso, and many small bog with cotton grass.
Faggeta summarizes the nature of continuity as they proceed toward the east, stretching along the slopes of the mountains Brancastello, book, shirt, Tremoggia, Siella and San Vito, where the over two thousand meters vegeta the rare Edelweiss Appenine.
South of Rigopiano open, carved by the river Tavo, the valley of Angri. Again, the planting is done by Beech to which accompany the maple, the Hornbeam, the Pit, in addition to rate. Continuing southward, there is the Valley of Angora, with a real beech forest in the canyon, and the spectacular karst of Voltigno plan, consisting of a prairie Nardeti, Nardus stricta, surrounded by large beech groves. Several of Peonie bloom, bluebells and Gentian greater.
But perhaps the most peculiar character of appearance of the Gran Sasso botanical lies in the presence of numerous endemics, mostly above the timberline. Among them we remember over the Apennine Mountain Star, the Purple Maiella, the Sassifraga leaf opposite the Genepì Apennines, the Mattioli, the Adonide curved and rare and symbolic Androsace Abruzzo, a small and delicate primulacea known only for very small areas of Altomontana Gran Sasso and Maiella. Remarkable, also, the presence of other rare species such as yellow and Adonide Limoni aquilano, whose only stations are aquilano side of the park.


flower gran sasso

A flower of Appennino



The fauna of the Gran Sasso is the rate, the Faina, the weasel, the fox, the hare, the polecat, the Scoiattolo south, the wild cat, the wolf (very rare), chamois (reintroduced in 1992 to Farindola) , wild boars, the Istrice and Marten. Particularly rich is the bird life, represented by more than 100 species. Very rare birds of prey, including peregrine falcons and golden eagles are still present and their nests, while some species, such as the bearded vulture, which is the certainty of their presence at the end of the last century, have now disappeared. Remaining forest areas in the nest Astore, the sparrowhawk, and especially the Poiana. During the spring and autumn it is easy to see the cuckoo Falco, the harriers or kestrel Falco. Species such as the Gracchi and alpine coral can be seen on the slopes of Corno Grande and Monte Alb. The Gracchi Reef is on the Gran Sasso nuclei with numerous and well distributed to ensure the conservation of the species now in sharp decline in all the other mountains of Italy and Europe. More difficult to see are the Coturnici, the small Wallcreeper and Fringuello Alpine appearances on major massiccio.L 'erpetofauna presents rare species such as dell'Orsini Viper, Vipera Aspis and the species of the genus Natrix. Among the amphibians is to report the Rana graeca, the rarest Italian Anura. There are also Ululone by yellow belly and Rana dalmatina, the salamander and the occhiali Salamandra pezzata.



A group of Chamois on the Gran Sasso




Historical notes

The whole Appenine about 200 million years ago was flooded by an ocean. The approach of the continents, pushing and corrugated surfaces in a continuous rock for millions of years, has meant that the various types of the overlapping layers in several places, so that about 6 million years ago, during the desiccation of the Mediterranean , (known to scholars as the "salinity crisis") of the Gran Sasso chain should look like a partially raised in relation to another post in the north and identified as "the basin of Laga." So today we can find a few hundred meters away rocks very different, in fact once they were at distances considerably larger. The massive limestone "and" Triassic dolomite "of the Big Horn, in fact, come from the bottom of an area known as" platform ", characterized by a shallow sea, rich in oxygen that favored the settlement of organisms such as foraminifera, molluscs alghe.Da and a geomorphological point of view, the Gran Sasso is a mass of sedimentary origin composed of dolomite, limestone, generally massive and marls. Origi about 6 million years ago (Miocene), dell'emersione in the context of the Apennines, was later stages of thrust and compression that generated a series of fractures and drops (Val Maona, Valle del Venacquaro, Campo Pericoli, Campo Imperatore). On these, starting with 600,000 (Günz) to about 10,000 (Würm) years ago, acted the erosive forces of ice ages. These signs have left particularly evident, especially on the northern side of the group: small glacial cirques are identifiable characteristic, for example, in the area of Mount St. Franco (the valleys of hell and heaven), but also in the vicinity of Mount Eagle and Mount of Scindarella. The glaciers were bigger natural points of convergence of these glacial cirques in high places, for example, the glacier that occupied Campo Pericoli nourished by circuses places north of the ridges of the Big Horn, Mont Eagle, Monte Portella and Pizzo Cefalonia. In these basins the snow is compacted and turned into ice, resulting in Val Maona to Pietracamela, where are still visible remains date back to the moraine of the Riss glaciation. Since the successive glaciations have erased the marks left by earlier ones, and because of the Riss glaciation is older than the Würm, rissiana this moraine is one of the rare evidence that the valleys of the Gran Sasso have been occupied by glaciers over and over times during Neozoico.

In 1573 it was conquered for the first time the top of the Horn Grande.La expedition was led by captain Francesco De Marchi. It was an extraordinary given the time and equipment available to climbers. The real exploration of the Gran Sasso mountaineering began in the late nineteenth century with the conquest of the different peaks in the group.
On 19 August 1573 the military engineer captain Francesco De Marchi climbed by side dell'Aterno the highest peak of the Gran Sasso d'Italia (Corno Grande, West Summit). The companions were the Caesar Milan Schiaffino and Diomede from L'Aquila, guides and porters, by Francesco di Domenico di Assergi and Simon and Giovanpietro Julius. The description of the then outstanding business is contained in a manuscript preserved in the Biblioteca Comunale di Bologna. Two centuries later, July 30 1794, the scientist Horace Teramo Delfico reached the Summit of the Eastern side by the Great Horn of Isola del Gran Sasso. But the real exploration of the mountaineering team after beginning the ascent made by Saint Robert July 20 1870. On 9 January 1880, and Corradino Sella Gaudenzio carried the first winter ascent of Corno Grande, 8 September 1887 Enrico Abbate and guidance of John Acitelli Assergi climbing Horn Piccolo, in July 1888 the Ugolini and guidance De Nicola reached the tops of the mountain and Mount Crow reservation, August 10 1892 O. Gualerzi and G. Acitelli the Summit of the Central Great Horn, making the first rock climbing, 8 February 1893 Abbate, Gualerzi, Gavin Acitelli and carried the first winter ascent of Corno Piccolo. Mountaineering guides without starting the Gran Sasso in 1910 with the crossing of the three peaks of Corno Grande, made by the Austrians and Schmidt Riebeling. Followed immediately climbing the Sucaini Roman (Sebastiani, Bram, Chiaraviglio, Berthelet etc..) And, shortly after the First World War, those of the Roman and Milanese mountaineers (Jannetta, Bonacossa etc..) On the most impressive ridges and walls of the massif. From 1932 onwards is also developed on the Gran Sasso modern climbing with the intervention of "Aquilotti of Pietracamela and climbers Aquilani (Giancola, Sivitilli, Marsilio, D'Armi and others), as well as internationally renowned mountaineer (Bonacossa , Gervasutti, Maraini etc..), with firms that touch the sixth grade. But the opening of streets full of difficulties and extreme winter the conquest of the most difficult walls belong to the last decades, because of renewed suca Rome (Council Alletto, Mario, Cravino etc.). Aquilani and mountaineers and Marches (A. Bafile, Calibani, Florio and others), describing the Gran Sasso mountain mountaineering interest in every aspect.


old postcard

An old postcard of the Gran Sasso




Gran Sasso laboratories

Gran Sasso Laboratories

Gran Sasso Laboratories


The Gran Sasso Laboratories (LNGS) are the largest underground laboratories in the world, and are located 1,400 m below the top of the Gran Sasso massif, near the Gran Sasso tunnel of the highway A24 Roma-Teramo, which through the mountains. In addition to the underground laboratories, the structure also has laboratories, which have Assergi (AQ), near the exit from the idea of Assergi.Nati Antonino Zichichi, construction began in 1982 and were built together motorway tunnel in Gran Sasso. Five years later there was held the first experiment. The underground laboratories contain three "salt" (room A, room B room C) whose typical dimensions are 100 m long and 20 m wide and 20 m in height. In addition to the three main halls underground laboratories consist of some local service (Guardiole of sorveglienza, toilets, facilities for filling and pumping of air, etc..), From the tunnel link (one of which connects all the three rooms and 'large enough to allow the passage of large trucks) and some other small experimental areas where there are some experiments placement of small geometric dimensions. In two small auxiliary tunnel, specially made, he found a place interferomentro though. Passatti times in some experiments also used the detectors placed on top of the mountain above the underground laboratories and the data recorded were analyzed in conjunction with or in anticoincidenza those buried in the laboratory. Its position in the mountains makes it possible to reduce significantly the flux of cosmic rays and allows you to simplify the detection of particles like the neutrino or the search for dark matter.






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