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The Trail of Love, downtown of "The Sea and Apennines Parks"

The Parks Info Point is back along the Trail of Love

(Sassalbo, 19 Lug 11) Every year Cinque Terre are visited by millions of tourists coming from all over Italy and all over the world. Tourists, especially foreign tourists, are very surprised to discover that, in just 80 km of territory, there are eight parks, including three national parks (Appennino Tosco-Emiliano National Park, Cinque Terre National Park, and Foreste Casentinesi National Park) and five regional Parks (Cento Laghi Regional Park, Frignano Regional Park, Alpi Apuane Regional Park, Montemarcello-Magra Regional Park, and Migliarino San Rossore-Massaciuccoli Regional Park). The broad area they form is not an umpteenth border on a map, but it is a shared project among territories which, like in a natural kaleidoscope, offer themselves to tourists in all their beauty.

For the third year in a row, the Trail of Love between Riomaggiore and Manarola (in Cinque Terre National Park), will house an information point giving the opportunity to discover that, at a few kilometers of distance, the Apennines are easily accessible with their wonderful ridge landscapes between Parma, Reggio, Massa, and Lucca.

"The territory between the Po Plain and the Mediterranean Sea, situated in the quadrilateral space between La Spezia and Pisa (sea slope), Parma and Modena (Po Plain slope) - explains Fausto Giovanelli, the President of Appennino Tosco Emiliano National Park - is a small but extremely varied territory which has experienced and is experiencing two climates (continental and Mediterranean), exactly like a borderland. This territory is characterized by many excellent features influencing each other: from food to art, from the environment to the landscape, from the products to the institutions. Parma Ham and Colonnata Lard; Parmigiano-Reggiano and Lunigiana oils; marble quarries and the Ferrari Museum; Golfo dei Poeti up to Portofino; the Malaspina and Canossa families; cliffs and beaches; mountains and lakes; peat bogs and torrents; pastures, forests, and chestnut groves; Cinque Terre, San Pellegrino, and Bismantova, Garfagnana and Lunigiana. Towns, airports, and cathedrals. In the surroundings, the lands of Verdi and Puccini, the Gothic style in the towns and Romanesque style in the country churches. The wisdom of the territory is also represented by dozens and dozens of local products with PDO and PGI labels (64 in the provinces of Appennino Tosco-Emiliano National Park only). The list of the extraordinary features we present along the Trail of Love, the downtown of the project "The Sea and Apennines Parks", could be much longer, and therefore it is necessary to consider also the several shared experiences".

The Project "The Sea and Apennines Parks" was born from the intuition of the Park Authorities and from their belief that the territories can create synergies to improve the quality of the tourist offer, but above all to create sustainable development and economy of the knowledge. The Trail of Love, symbol of a tourism of nature enthusiasts and of the "human landscape" known all over the world, had to be also the heart of this project.

"The Sea and Apennines Parks - declares Aldo Cosentino, commissioner of Cinque Terre National Park - is the demonstration that the Parks can and know how to share their experiences. Each Park is an isolated oasis, but it belongs to a broader system connecting its members not only ideally, but also pragmatically. Today, a dialog among territories and the exchange of good practices are possible. A continuity which is made possible by the fact that Cinque Terre are deeply rooted more in the mountains than in the sea, and have been able to maintain their specific features despite the management difficulties and the fragility of the territory".

The project of the info point along the Trail of Love is back again, also considering the important achievements of the last year: 4,300 contacts established in 19 weekends of activities, out of which one third among foreign tourists who came to Liguria to spend their holidays. This year, the info point will be open in July and in September for eight weekends.

"The enhancement of this Extended Area represents a great opportunity for our territories - declares Giuseppe Nardini, the President of Apuane Park. This initiative represents a tangible sign of the route the Parks are sharing. Personally, I had some doubts about the possibility to repeat successfully this experience, and for this reason I thank in particular the Commissioner Cosentino, who contributed to launch again the project with us".

A great opportunity above all for the economic operators that will benefit from this effort made by the Parks.

"Thanks to the great intuition by Giovanelli - concludes Claudio Moretti, the President of Cento Laghi Park - the Apennines are no longer a border, but a belt uniting the two slopes, creating a natural connection between the Mediterranean Sea and the continent".

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