Biodiversity in Italy: Beyond Food & Wine

Biodiversity in Italy: Beyond Food & Wine

Eataly Magazine has explored how Italy's biodiversity created one of the world's most celebrated cuisines; today, our friends at Select Italy will discuss how the country's culture has also profited from the rich tapestry of species and microclimates.


Italy boasts an astonishing 58,000 animal species, 6,700 species of higher plants, and the richest groups of mosses and lichens in Europe. And the future seems to be even brighter: forestland (and the biodiversity within) has increased by 26.7 percent in the last three decades.

One of the most appreciated aspects of Italian biodiversity is the resulting richness in the food and wine. The countless list of plants, coupled with centuries of different regional traditions in cultivating, producing, and perfecting local varieties, has given birth to one of the most appreciated cuisines all over the world. A Ligurian world-renowned delicacy like basil pesto with pasta, for example, is truly delicious thanks to the incredible biodiversity of the region, where at least seven different natural varieties of basil grow.

trofie al pesto

However, biodiversity isn't all about food and wine: it is the variety of the species of plants, animals, and micro-organisms that live and interact within the different ecosystems. This means that tasting regional Italian food or sipping the astonishing variety of its famous wines is not enough. The best way to fully appreciate Italian biodiversity is to visit these incredible places: a nice stroll in the Alpine forests, a visit to local farmers, or scuba diving in the Mediterranean Sea are all enjoyable activities that allow you to discover Italian biodiversity.


There are so many different Italian areas to visit that it is quite impossible to make a comprehensive list. At Select Italy, our experts have narrowed it down to three areas selected as the most biodiverse in Italy.

Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo

Situated between the regions of Lazio, Molise, and Abruzzo, the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo houses the largest variety of mammals in Italy. Famous for the presence of the rare Marsican Brown Bear, the park boasts also the Apennine chamois, wolves, deer, and golden eagles. Although visiting the rest of the region is highly recommended (Abruzzo boasts one of the best cuisines in Italy), it is worth remembering that the ancient glory of Rome is only two hours away by car! Heading to one of the most desired city in the world seems the perfect thing to do after spending a day in the pristine landscape of the park.

Po River

If you are interested in bird watching, the Po River is the hottest spot in Italy. Extending from the French border to the Adriatic Sea, the Po River crosses the entire Pianura Padana, making it the longest river in Italy. A nice stroll on its shores is the perfect way to spot some of the most enchanting species of migratory birds in Europe. Another great peculiarity of this river is that flows through many important Italian cities: Torino, the city of chocolate and FIAT; Cremona, the birthplace of the violin; and Ferrara, the medieval city home to the Este family are just a few examples of what the river offers.

Ligurian Coast

The endless Italian coast is undoubtedly the perfect habitat for biodiversity. Thanks to the astonishing variety of fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds, the Ligurian Coast was elected as one of the most biodiverse of the entire country. A visit to this marvelous area allows you not only to admire the incredible gifts of Mother Nature but also to appreciate at least two breathtaking places that are the result of the genius and passion of Italians: the Cinque Terre and Genova. While the first is world-renowned for the unique atmosphere of its picturesque terraces, the city of Genova is an authentic hidden gem, a crossroad of different cultures that have been visiting the city in the last centuries thanks to the ancient glory of its port.

liguria portofino

Buon viaggio!

This article was guest written by Pietro Marco Fraccalvieri of Select Italy, an agency specializing in Italian travel.