Astroni Nature Reserve Naples
This WWF-protected natural park is about one kilometer from the Agnano exit. Tel +39 081 5883720. It is open on Sundays and public holidays from 08.30 to 14.00. (Note that prices and times may be subject to change.)
History and description
The Riserva Naturale Cratere degli Astroni is located inside the crater of a dead volcano covered with trees. At 3,600 years old, is the youngest crater in the larger natural area known as the Campi Flegrei. Its area is about 250 hectares.
The Aragon dynasty, when it ruled Naples, used the crate as a hubting ground.
At the bottom of the crater, which is 10 meters below sea level, there are three lakes created by volcanic activity and two hills.
What to see
The lakes inside the crater are called Lago Grande, Cofaniello Piccolo and Cofaniello Grande. Lago Grande is the largest of the three. The other two are fed by rainwater.
The hills are called the Colle dell’Imperatore and the Colle della Rotondella.
The vegetation in the crater is unique in that there is a phenomenon that ensures, due to the presence of the lakes and to the shape of the crater itself, that trees that normally grow on mountains live at the bottom of the crater while those species that normally thrive in lower areas are now on the edge of the volcano.
In the warm months, much of Lago Grande is covered by white water lilies. The Cofaniello Piccolo is simultaneously covered with small duckweed.
There are wild orchids and tree trunks are covered with different kinds of mushrooms.
130 different species of birds can be admired during different seasons, some of which enjoy protected status. The great spotted woodpecker has been chosen as a symbol of the park.
There are four species of birds of prey, including the peregrine falcon and five species of snakes, including the vipera.