On the largest plateau of the Apennines, an infinite horizon
'Being on the plateau is like walking on another planet - writes the photographer Lorenzo Costumato - and you have the feeling of being pioneers exploring uncharted territory. From a chromatic point of view, Campo Imperatore is like a palette of an impressionist painter. A photographer can do nothing else but surrender to the shades of warm colours, emphasized by the sunlight.'
The climber Fosco Maraini called this vast plateau 'Little Tibet', bordered by some of the most impressive mountains of the Apennines, which covers about 75 square kilometres at an altitude ranging from 1,460 m in Val Voltigno up to 2,138 m at the weather station. The particular charm of this place is given by the vastness of space and, because the vegetation is exclusively herbaceous, there are no obstacles to the free view facing the horizon. The endless pastures, where in summer the shepherds bring their herds of sheep, cattle and horses, acquire a special beauty when the snow melts and the blooming crocuses colour the entire plateau. Here eagles, hawks, crows and many other species of sparrows fly during the migratory period.
In the southern part there are ten small circular, shallow lakes whose origin we are not completely certain of, according to some they are of meteoritic origin to others meteoric, others attribute them to the work of man.
Campo Imperatore is a splendid place to visit in the summer, but also a famous ski resort with its 15 kilometres of slopes for alpine skiing, 60 km for Nordic skiing, ski touring possibilities and a snow park for snowboarders, with half pipe and boarder cross slopes and a ring for cross-country skiing.
Campo Imperatore is not only of natural interest, at 2,135 meters above sea level it is the home of the Alpine Botanical Garden dedicated to the cultivation and study of the flora of the high-altitude areas. Rising to 2,145 meters above sea level we find the astronomical observatory equipped with a telescope of more than one meter in diameter and operated by the Roman section of the Institute of Astrophysics. Finally, it is famous for being the last prison of Mussolini in 1943.