Type of protected area - Where it is located
Typology: Regional Natural Park; established with L.R. April 23, 1987, n. 21.
The Conero Regional Natural Park, established in 1987, is an environmental oasis born around Mount Conero in the province of Ancona. Mount Conero is the only relief (572 meters) overlooking the sea from Trieste to Gargano, in symbiosis with the cities of Ancona and Camerano and with the seaside tourist centers of Sirolo and Numana. Monte Conero takes its name from one of its ancient products, Komaròs, for the ancient Greeks, marine cherry or Strawberry tree for us. The strawberry tree is a typical shrub of the Mediterranean scrub. The Conero regional park has been managed only since 1991; it has an area of 6,011 hectares. The park includes that stretch of north coast that goes from Passetto to Trave, continues with the bay of Portonovo, then Monte Conero and the internal hills, and reaches the south coast that goes from Sirolo to Marcelli di Numana until ending along the plain of the river Musone. There are several ancient testimonies of art, culture and history that the Conero Park hosts in its uncontaminated environment, such as Santa Maria di Portonovo, San Pietro al Conero, Antiquarium on the Picene civilization in Numana and the Watchtower. The boundaries of the protected area include, however, also other surrounding sectors, whose presence contributes to the creation of a set of environments and landscapes, natural and human, of great variety and interest. In the park it is possible to walk in the 18 paths that wind through the woods, alone or accompanied by expert guides.
Conero Park, Le Due Sorelle on the right (photo Nelli Elena - Florence)
The major biological and physical contents are concentrated in the Conero mountain range, which led to the establishment of the first protected area of the Marche region. In fact, the Conero constitutes an exceptional environmental situation in the homogeneous context of sandy coasts of the Adriatic coast. The presence of a rocky massif that rises suddenly from the coast, already determines in itself an element of value in the landscape of the coast, also the eastern slopes of the Conero cover elements of interest such as caves, cliffs and stacks. Among these, the rocks known as the "Two Sisters", who have taken on a symbolic role in the collective imagination of the Conero. To the landscape qualities are added biological factors of great importance: the presence of the mountain-island has favored the refuge of many plant species, disappeared in the surrounding areas due to the presence of the sea, while the role of island-refuge has allowed the conservation of spontaneous vegetation . On the slopes of the Conero, where agriculture and stable forms of residence have not been able to develop, an absolutely unique flora and fauna heritage has been preserved in the regional context.
A particular environment, within Monte Conero, is represented by the Portonovo area. The ancient landslide has constituted a strip of land reaching out to the sea, on which over time a dense vegetation of Mediterranean sclerophylls with a prevalence of holm oak has settled. Within the landslide body, some retro-dune ponds have been created near the coast. These ponds once occupied a large part of the plague of Portonovo, but have gradually reduced to the current lakes, called Calcagno and Profondo, due to the landfills produced by anthropic activities related to tourism. The waters of the two ponds have different characteristics, the more brackish the Big lake, the sweeter the Deep lake.
Flora and fauna
The cliffs of the eastern Conero constitute a habitat that hosts numerous species of birds, among which some rare, such as the pale swift, the greater swift, the solitary sparrow, the peregrine falcon and many plant species such as strawberry trees, gorse, holm oaks, pines. The many plants that make up the Mediterranean scrub are protected here and represent one third of the entire floristic heritage of the Marche region.
Animal and plant communities of great biological interest survive in the Portonovo ponds as they are unique in the Marche region; the different quality of the water contributes to varying the composition of the plant and animal populations. The marsh vegetation that surrounds them is mainly formed by a graminacea, the swamp straw, and a ciperacea, the falasco; however, they are also associated with typhus, willow, rush and sedge.
Monte Conero (photo Nelli Elena - Florence)
Portonovo - Conero Park (photo Nelli Elena - Florence)
Information for the visit
The park's visitor center is a multifunctional facility capable of satisfying the first contact between tourists and the park in the summer, and greater integration between the park and residents throughout the year. In the Visitor Center information and guided tours are organized along the 18 hiking trails in the Park; thematic exhibitions and summer evening meetings are also organized. The headquarters are at the building of the multipurpose center in Via Peschiera, 30 / A. to Sirolo Tel. and Fax. 071/9331879. In summer (from 15 June to 15 September) it is open every day from 9 to 13 and from 16 to 19, while in winter it is open from Monday to Saturday from 9 to 13. The Center remains closed in January and February.
How to get:
The park can be reached by car by taking the A14 Bologna-Bari motorway and exiting at Ancona Nord, Ancona Sud or Loreto-Recanati. By train on the Milan-Lecce, Rome-Ancona lines, Ancona station. Or with other public transport such as the bus at the Ancona - Sirolo station (Autolinea Reni) or the ferry to the Port of Ancona.
Conero Regional Natural Park Authority
Via Peschiera, 30
60020 Sirolo (AN)
Tel. 071/9331161-Fax. 071/9330376
curated by Nelli Elena