Campo Imperatore
Campo Imperatore is a mountain grassland
Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses and other herbaceous plants . However, sedge and rush families can also be found. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica...

 or alpine meadow formed by a high basin shaped plateau
In geology and earth science, a plateau , also called a high plain or tableland, is an area of highland, usually consisting of relatively flat terrain. A highly eroded plateau is called a dissected plateau...

 located in the Province of L'Aquila
Province of L'Aquila
thumb|left|200px|Map of the province.The Province of L'Aquila is the largest, most mountainous and least densely populated province of the Abruzzo region of central Italy. It comprises about half the landmass of Abruzzo and occupies the western part of the region...

 in the Abruzzo
Abruzzo is a region in Italy, its western border lying less than due east of Rome. Abruzzo borders the region of Marche to the north, Lazio to the west and south-west, Molise to the south-east, and the Adriatic Sea to the east...

 region of Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 in the Gran Sasso
Gran Sasso
Gran Sasso d'Italia is a mountain located in the Abruzzo region of central Italy. The Gran Sasso forms the centerpiece of the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park which was established in 1993 and holds the highest mountains in continental Italy south of the Alps and is part of the...

 massif. It is the largest plateau of the Apennine ridge. Known as Italy's "Little Tibet", it is located in the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park
Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park
The Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park is a natural park in Italy, which was established in 1991. It has an area of 2,014 square kilometres...

Campo Imperatore has a tectonic origin shaped by alluviums
Alluvial plain
An alluvial plain is a relatively flat landform created by the deposition of sediment over a long period of time by one or more rivers coming from highland regions, from which alluvial soil forms...

 and glacier
A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. At least 0.1 km² in area and 50 m thick, but often much larger, a glacier slowly deforms and flows due to stresses induced by its weight...

s. The plateau, which is 27 km in length and an average of 8 km in width, lies adjacent to the Apennines' highest peak Corno Grande
Corno Grande
Corno Grande is part of the Gran Sasso massif, and is the highest peak in the Apennine Mountains and the highest on the Italian Peninsula, at 2,912 m above sea level....

, and Europe's southernmost glacier, the Calderone
Calderone glacier
The Calderone glacier located in the Gran Sasso d’Italia mountain group in Abruzzo, Italy lies just beneath Corno Grande, the highest peak in the Apennines....

; also surrounding the plateau are Monte Prena, Monte Aquila, and the Camicia Mountains to the north and Monte Scindarella, Mesola and Monte Bolza to the south.

The plateau's altitude ranges from 1500 to 1900 meters. It covers an expanse of approximately 80 km².
Campo Imperatore is home to one of Italy's oldest alpine ski resort
Ski resort
A ski resort is a resort developed for skiing and other winter sports. In Europe a ski resort is a town or village in a ski area - a mountainous area, where there are ski trails and supporting services such as hotels and other accommodation, restaurants, equipment rental and a ski lift system...

s. Located on the plateau's western edge, the resort began commercial operation in the 1920s and continues to thrive as a ski resort to this day due to its proximity to Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 (132 km ). The resort's hotel became dictator Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

's prison in August 1943 with his fall from power until he was freed by German commandos in September 1943. On the eastern side of the plateau is a 4 km cross country ski trail, which is maintained by the nearby town of Castel del Monte.

On the southeastern side of Campo Imperatore are medieval
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 hill town
Hill town
Hill town is the term used to describe citadel towns built upon hills to ward off invaders. Often protected by defensive walls, steep embankments, or cliffs, such hilltop settlements provided natural defenses for their inhabitants....

s once ruled by the Medici
The House of Medici or Famiglia de' Medici was a political dynasty, banking family and later royal house that first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de' Medici in the Republic of Florence during the late 14th century. The family originated in the Mugello region of the Tuscan countryside,...

s, Castel Del Monte and Santo Stefano di Sessanio
Santo Stefano di Sessanio
Santo Stefano di Sessanio is a comune and hill town in the Province of L'Aquila in the Abruzzo region of Italy. Located in an Italian national park, the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park,in the highest region of the Apennines, this medieval hill town sits adjacent to the high plain of...

 as well as the ruin of one of Europe's highest fortresses, Rocca Calascio
Rocca Calascio
Rocca Calascio is a mountaintop fortress or rocca in the Province of L'Aquila in Abruzzo, Italy.At an elevation of 1460 metres, the Rocca of Calascio is the highest fortress in the Apennines...

In spring, summer and fall, shepherds from these neighboring hill towns maintain herds of sheep, "semi-wild" horses, and cattle in the plateau. The pastures are covered with field grasses and meadowland wild flowers. Campo Imperatore is also home to the Alpine Botanical Garden
Botanical garden
A botanical garden The terms botanic and botanical, and garden or gardens are used more-or-less interchangeably, although the word botanic is generally reserved for the earlier, more traditional gardens. is a well-tended area displaying a wide range of plants labelled with their botanical names...

 of Campo Imperatore. Founded in 1952, the garden is devoted to cultivation and study of some 300 species indigenous mountainous plants, including rare and endangered plant species, among them Vaccinium gaultherioides, Yellow Gentiana (Gentiana lutea
Gentiana lutea
Gentiana lutea is a species of gentian native to the mountains of central and southern Europe. Other names include 'Yellow Gentian', 'Bitter Root', 'Bitterwort', 'Centiyane', and 'Genciana'.-Growth:...

), Edelweiss
Edelweiss , Leontopodium alpinum, is a well-known European mountain flower, belonging to the sunflower family.-Names:The common name comes from German edel, meaning "noble", and weiß "white", thus signifying "noble whiteness".The scientific name Leontopodium is a Latin adaptation of Greek...

 of the Apennines (Leontopodium nivale), and Adonis distorta, all plants that have adapted to Campo Imperatore's unique environment. Campo Imperatore is also the habitat for the Apennine wolf, Apennine wildcat
Wildcat is a small felid native to Europe, the western part of Asia, and Africa.-Animals:Wildcat may also refer to members of the genus Lynx:...

 and the Abruzzo chamois
The chamois, Rupicapra rupicapra, is a goat-antelope species native to mountains in Europe, including the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, the European Alps, the Tatra Mountains, the Balkans, parts of Turkey, and the Caucasus. The chamois has also been introduced to the South Island of New Zealand...

. Nearly extinct, the latter is making a comeback through a joint effort by WWF Italia
World Wide Fund for Nature
The World Wide Fund for Nature is an international non-governmental organization working on issues regarding the conservation, research and restoration of the environment, formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in Canada and the United States...

 and the administration of the Gran Sasso National Park. Other species of wildlife include wild boar, fox
Fox is a common name for many species of omnivorous mammals belonging to the Canidae family. Foxes are small to medium-sized canids , characterized by possessing a long narrow snout, and a bushy tail .Members of about 37 species are referred to as foxes, of which only 12 species actually belong to...

es, grass snake
Grass Snake
The grass snake , sometimes called the ringed snake or water snake is a European non-venomous snake. It is often found near water and feeds almost exclusively on amphibians.-Etymology:...

s, and a wide variety of bird life including golden eagle
Golden Eagle
The Golden Eagle is one of the best known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. Once widespread across the Holarctic, it has disappeared from many of the more heavily populated areas...

s and peregrine falcon
A falcon is any species of raptor in the genus Falco. The genus contains 37 species, widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America....


Also located on the high plateau, taking advantage of the elevation and absence of man-made light, is the Campo Imperatore Near-Earth Objects Survey (CINEOS), an observatory
An observatory is a location used for observing terrestrial or celestial events. Astronomy, climatology/meteorology, geology, oceanography and volcanology are examples of disciplines for which observatories have been constructed...

 built in 1951, which forms a branch of the Rome Observatory
Rome Observatory
The Rome Observatory is one of twelve Astronomical Observatories in Italy. It consists of three sites: Monte Porzio Catone, Campo Imperatore and Monte Mario...


Campo Imperatore has been popular with film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

makers. The location has been used in more than twenty films, among them The American
The American (2010 film)
The American is a 2010 American thriller film directed by Anton Corbijn and starring George Clooney, Thekla Reuten, Violante Placido, Irina Björklund, and Paolo Bonacelli. It is an adaptation of the 1990 novel A Very Private Gentleman by Martin Booth...

, The Name of the Rose
The Name of the Rose (film)
The Name of the Rose is a 1986 film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, based on the book of the same name by Umberto Eco. Sean Connery is the Franciscan friar William of Baskerville and Christian Slater is his apprentice Adso of Melk, who are called upon to solve a deadly mystery in a medieval...

, Krull
Krull (film)
Krull is a 1983 heroic fantasy film directed by Peter Yates and produced by Ron Silverman. Released by Columbia Pictures, it stars Ken Marshall as Prince Colwyn and Lysette Anthony as Princess Lyssa....

, Ladyhawke
Ladyhawke is a 1985 fantasy film directed by Richard Donner, starring Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer. The film marked the second 20th Century Fox film to be co-produced and co-released by Warner Bros.. The first was The Towering Inferno; this time Warner got the U.S...

, Il sole anche di notte, and L'Armata ritorna.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.