6 parks close to the city
From the green heart of Como to Vanzago Woods, check out 6 parks for day trips
Outstanding natural beauties, old woods, and Spina Verde. Plus the wonderful Valle Camonica park of rock engravings, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.
Check out 6 parks not (too) far from our cities.
1. SPINA VERDE REGIONAL PARK
Those who love walking in the hills know that Como does not just mean the lake but is also an excellent starting point for trips into nature. One of the places we can recommend is the Spina Verde Regional Park in Como, which stretches across the hills to the northwest of the city. It offers countless interesting natural, archaeological and historical sights. These include Baradello Castle and the Sasso di Cavallasca trenches. There are 13 trails running through the park and free maps can be picked up at the Cavallasca offices. Another tip? Trail 7 to Pin Umbrela, the highest point. Wonderful for Sunday walks and picnics, Spina Verde Regional Park offers educational activities, protected areas, and eating places.
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2. WWF OASIS BOSCO DI VANZAGO
A nature reserve resulting from years of environmental redevelopment, the WWF Oasis Bosco Vanzago is about 20 kilometres from Milan, and it is one of the last surviving woodlands in the Po Valley. Covering some 200 hectares, it is also home to a wildlife rescue centre, a real hospital with an “emergency room” where WWF vets care for injured animals and those in difficulty. Once rehabilitated, the animals are then put back into the wild. The Reserve is open all year round apart from August and holidays with guided visits on Saturdays and Sundays at 10.30 am and 3.00 pm.
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3. APPIANO GENTILE and TRADATE PINEWOOD REGIONAL PARK
Visitors to the provinces of Como and Varese can check out the beautiful sights in the Appiano Gentile and Tradate Pinewood Regional Park, with its 130 kilometres of trails for walks that respect the surrounding environment. A wonderful area of woodland, moor and farmland, with a wealth of animals. The trails can be covered on foot or on mountain bike and visitors can also enjoy animal watching in dedicated areas, horse riding at the stables, horse trekking and Nordic walking.
4. FONTANILI DI CAPRALBA PARK
Capralba, in the province of Cremona, is the ideal starting point for exploring Fontanili Park and the rogge, the irrigation channels typical of this area. From the town centre, you can follow cycle paths, tarmacked and unmade roads through enchanting scenic countryside. You can walk or pedal to the springs themselves, following the banks of the channels. Along the way you can admire old disused mills, busy farmhouses set amongst rows of trees and plenty of low-lying shrubs dotted throughout the area.
5. NAQUANE NATIONAL PARK OF ROCK ENGRAVINGS
The first park opened in Valle Camonica was the Naquane National Rock Engravings Park, in Capo di Ponte. Surrounded by a millenary chestnut tree wood, it is one of the most important series of engraved rocks. In 1979, it became Italy’s first UNESCO site. In the park, there are 104 engraved rocks, all with information panels, divided into 5 different visitor trails covering about 3 km. The engravings depict human figures holding their arms up towards the sky, warriors, animals, buildings and mazes. Every first Sunday of the month, entry to Naquane Park is free of charge for all visitors. Tickets bought at the office at the entrance to the park are also valid for 30 days for entry to the MUPRE, the National Museum of Prehistory in Valle Camonica.
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6. CESANO MADERNO LIPU OASIS
Just a few kilometres outside Milan, Cesano Maderno is home to the Oasis run by the LIPU, the Italian society for the protection of birds, which can easily be reached along pedestrian trails or bike paths with teaching boards. It is a natural oasis where visitors can enjoy a peaceful walk in the woods along over 4 kilometres of educational trails, exploring an area characterised by microhabitats that reproduce the typical zones of the Groane. Guided night-time visits are organised at certain times of year for exploring the woods in the moonlight, spotting the different kinds of owls and other inhabitants of the Oasis.
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