A Regional Reserve hugging 7 municipalities in the foothills of Matese as example of cooperation among public administrations and environmental association
The area includes the foothills of Matese in the province of Isernia characterized by river and woodland. Prior to the establishment of the Natural Reserve, the territory was subjected to some inappropriate interventions along the streams. Territory was considered marginal, not known despite of its important environmental and natural characteristics. The area was considered uninteresting by lovers of nature tourism. It was necessary to make people aware about the environmental potential, the natural values and the objectives to be achieved with the primary need of protection and safeguard, and at the same time to consider such a territory as a resource capable of inducing socio-economic development with the creation of related activities. A series of meetings with the inhabitants in order to illustrate the environmental characteristics and the need to safeguard the surrounding environment and also meetings with the municipal administration to make it clear that the establishment of the Natural Area could also create occasions of employment. As regards municipality involvement the cooperation process started with the creation of small protected areas in the municipalities currently part of the Reserve. The main beneficiaries are: 7 public administrations (Castelpetroso, Santa Maria del Molise, Pettoranello di Molise, Castelpizzuto, Isernia, Longano e Sant’Agapito), their local population, tourists, local associations and entrepreneurs

Resources needed

Publishing of brochures, articles and publications was supported directly by Italia Nostra onlus (Isernia section) and the Molise Region, which has allocated a budget of around € 130,000.00 for a series of initiatives

Evidence of success

About 600 people attended the various meetings at the municipalities. More than 10 pedestrian routes have been identified, mapped, reported and tabulated and all that make it possible a total of about 800 visitors per year, which has increased by about 100% compared to the previous ones. N. 8 municipal administrations were involved for a total area of Ha 2.223. During this actions, 4 economic and social activities were promoted and/or increased and there was the birth of a recreational service

Potential for learning or transfer

Our good practice could be interesting for regions in which there are a concentration in a restricted area of environmental and geological heritage, and so ensuring the capability to develop a sustainable tourism respecting and preserving the natural characteristics of the places. In fact the intervention plan realized was characterized by basic installations for the natural paths and thought for a sustainable flow of visitors and not for a mass tourism. The approach in the management of the intervention plan could be also transferred, considered that the practice made it possible the contribution of local population as principal actor in the cultural change of the behaviour towards the natural resource as an element to be valued and protected

Please login to see the expert opinion of this good practice.

Main institution
Italia Nostra Onlus
Molise, Italy (Italia)
Start Date
June 2000
End Date


Please login to contact the author.

Good Practices being followed by

Teresa Pastor

EUROPARC Federation