Majella is the second highest massif in the Apennines after Gran Sasso; its highest peak, Mount Amaro, rises to 2793 m above sea level.
This is Abruzzo, the greenest region in Europe, in the Central Apennines at the boundary between the provinces of Chieti, L'Aquila and Pescara.
Majella National Park
Pliny the Elder called the Majella - part of the world heritage of National Parks - the "Father of Mountains", while the people in Abruzzo consider it the "Mother Mountain". It is a high, imposing, wild massif consisting of four large orographic elements: Majella, a large and compact limestone massif, Mount Morrone, Mount Porrara and the Pizzi Mountains.
The Majella National Park, with its valleys and carsic plateaus interspersed between mountain peaks, is unique for its geographical location, rigours, size, grandeur, wildness and weather variability. Within the Park we find a rich and varied fauna (chamois, roe deer, deer, golden eagles, Marsican brown bears, wolves and more), and an equally varied flora, with over 2100 different plants species, comprising one third of the entire national flora. At lower altitudes we find deciduous oaks such as the Turkey and Sessile oak, while between 1000 and 1800 metres beech forests dominate the landscape. At higher altitudes, above 1800 metres, there are three different habitats: alpine woodlands (mountain pine and dwarf juniper), high pastures and the barren screes, where the rare Apennine edelweiss blooms.
These isolated landscapes with a haunting and mystical beauty have been chosen since antiquity as spiritual places for meditation.
Over the centuries, the caves in the park have given shelter to shepherds, brigands, ascetics, soldiers and partisans. Among the many hermits who "lived" in the hermitages of the Majella was Pietro da Morrone, elected in 1294 Pope Celestine V, the one in Dante's words "who by his cowardice made the great refusal".