The Adamello Brenta UNESCO Global Geopark is located in the west of the Trento Province, in north-eastern Italy, and covers an area of 1188 square kilometres. It includes the largest protected area in Trentino, the “Adamello Brenta Nature Park”, and the administrative territory of its 30 municipalities. The core of the Adamello Brenta Geopark comprises two different mountain groups facing each other: the Trentino portion of the Adamello plutonic range and the Brenta Dolomites, a World Heritage Site since 2009. These two mountains, thanks to their unique features and geological-naturalistic peculiarities, represent its main elements.
Therefore, the Adamello Brenta Geopark is an extremely articulated and diversified area, with the spectacular uniqueness of its mountain landscapes at its heart and the remarkable geological and geomorphological diversity of the two mountain ranges that dominate it. The two environments, although located a short distance apart and subject to similar past and present climate conditions, have experienced different geological histories and have highly different landscapes. The peculiarities and diversities of the border areas are distinctive and characterizing factors that had a decisive influence on the lives of the people living in these areas in the past. This interaction underlines the unbreakable link between activities of human beings and their geological-environmental context.
From a geological point of view, the area covers a “key area” of the Rhaetic Alps characterised by the presence of the tectonic boundaries between the Austrian Alps and the Southern Alps and of the crossover of three structural segments of the Periadriatic Lineament. The geological units found in the Geopark are evidence of a long and complex geological evolution. The vertical walls of the Brenta Dolomites, the great heights reached by the major peaks and the significant variety of outcropping geological formations enable a “vertical reading” of a timeframe dating from the Lower Palaeozoic (350 million years ago) to the Oligocene (30 million years ago), and the perfect conservation of the glacial landforms of both the Last Glacial Maximum (15.000 years ago) and the Little Ice Age (about 200 years ago) in the Adamello area allows for extending this reading up to recent history.
From a geomorphological point of view, the Geopark shows clear evidence of both the glacial morphogenesis that remodelled the area intensely and of karstic morphogenesis with a vast array of unique and spectacular epigeal forms and an articulated and well-known hypogeal network.
The Adamello Brenta Geopark has a privileged role in highlighting and enhancing the geodiversity, closely linked with the biodiversity that governs the natural development of endemism and characteristic vegetable associations featuring about 1,500 species of flora. Rising from 477 m to 3.558 m of altitude, the Geopark vegetation is extremely diversified with forests of fir, beech and larch trees, flower-filled meadows, grasslands, pastures, streams, bogs and inaccessible cliffs. At the highest altitudes, the scenery is spectacular and unique: on these mountains, that are still home to brown bears, it is not surprising that the fauna is extraordinary. Chamois, deer, eagles, foxes, badgers, pine martens, capercaillies and black grouse, marmots, ptarmigans and many other large and small animals live in the protected area. The glaciers of the Adamello-Presanella Group and the karstic springs of the Brenta Dolomites, precious reserves of pure water, feed numerous fast-flowing streams that create spectacular waterfalls, among which the most famous are those of the Genova Valley and of the Vallesinella Valley. An additional water supply consists of 51 mountain lakes in the Geopark area, including the world famous Tovel Lake in the homonymous valley, and of the two main Sarca and Chiese Rivers.
The Adamello Brenta Geopark with its 61 Geosites is an open-air laboratory where schoolchildren, students and geotourists can understand and become familiar with those phenomena.
There are many opportunities to visit the Geopark area and learn of its rich geological and naturalistic heritage: from guided excursions along the numerous trails along which geotourists are taken to read the area’s geological history and experience the traditional knowledge and local historical-cultural values, to geo-laboratory and activities for children and families, thematic exhibitions, publications and guide-books.
Many environmental education projects are organized to promote the direct participation of children and young people with a scientific, emotional and sensorial approach. The objective is to encourage them to learn more about, to respect and to protect the environment and its geology. The Geopark guest quarters provide accommodation not only to university students for their geology fieldwork, but also to individuals and groups who can easily find more details at the Geopark’s various visitor centres and information points.
The Geopark is the ideal place also for implementing shared policies for sustainable development. The Adamello Brenta, as part of the strategy of the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism, is strongly committed to the development of projects aimed at enhancing the local economy in a sustainable way and to the promotion of new tourist development methods that pay more attention to the environment.