Case Study

Regional Reserve Callora River: environmental restoration actions and environmental education

Contact name

Di Cerbo Claudio

Institution name

Italia Nostra onlus

Region & country

Molise Region - Italy


A natural area of the Torrente Callora was established by the municipality of Roccamandolfi (IS) years before Regional Law no. 23 of 2004. It became a Regional Nature Reserve and it was included in the EUAP Official Gazette no. 3 of 2003.
The area, a gorgeous gorge with geological features such as the so-called “giant mufflers“, is dominated by an imposing castle on the height and steep walls, which was no longer frequented by visitors. Upstream and downstream of Roccamandolfi, the area was affected by the development of public road works. This caused its degradation due to landslide and threatened the natural environment, which is made up of a series of torrential rivulets.

Background of the project

The area immediately behind the town of Roccamandolfi was subject to infrastructural interventions that caused the degradation of the environment. These interventions were the construction of a road connecting the upper part of the village to the lower one, and a road link in the upstream part of the boulder,  the construction of which was interrupted afterwards and never completed. In addition, the historic path inside the gorge connecting the country with the copious source of Cape Water was in a neglectful state.

Despite of its environmental importance and the need to safeguard its values, the area was no longer visited and no longer taken into account. In consequence, it was necessary to assert the environmental potential of the area, its natural values and define the objectives to be achieved with the primary goal to protect and safeguard it. At the same time, it was necessary to consider the natural area as a potential resource to induce socio-economic development with the creation of related activities such as canyoning.

Solution and actions taken

The solution that was considered to achieve the desired objectives was the creation of a protected area to preserve the remarkable environmental and landscape values present in it.

A series of meetings with the inhabitants were celebrated in order to illustrate the environmental characteristics and the need to safeguard the so called “forra” and its surrounding environment. Previous to them,  meetings with the municipal administrations were also hosted to clarify that the establishment of the Municipal Natural Area could also create opportunities of employment and exploitation initiatives.

Other institutions or parties involved

Different events with the associations of the territory have taken place in order to involve and inform the inhabitants. Environmental associations have also been involved in the creation of naturalistic itineraries. In order to enhance the didactic and educational aspects, contacts with the schools of every grade have been established, including schools outside the province. Visits with Boy Scout groups were organised, and a wider knowledge of the Reserve has been also achieved through the release of some publications.


With the establishment of the Reserve, environmental and landscaping restoration actions have been undertaken and some works have been carried out so the area can be used by the Municipal Administration. Moreover, a greater interest has been shown by the local population, which participated in actions aimed to the exploitation of the reserve. An increase of visitors, such as canyoning fans, has taken place generating a positive impact in the local economy.


Problems related to the slow procedures to obtain a Management Agreement, which has led to some difficulties during the management phase. However, the municipal administration has shown its will to continue with the relationship established previously with the municipal agreement.

Lessons learned

We feel that by disseminating the potential that the environment and the territory have as an economic resource, it has been possible to appreciate the necessity of its protection.

Contact name

Di Cerbo Claudio

Institution name

Italia Nostra onlus


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