The reserve, founded in 1998, embraces a territory which is rich in both natural and environmental features.

The lay of the land is divided into two completely different areas by the waters of the Aterno river: the narrow limestone gorges in the mountains, the refuge of nocturnal birds of prey like falcons, eagles and sparrow hawks and the wide flood plains in the valleys where a rare example of river forests welcome migratory birds like grey herons and mallards, kingfishers and dippers.

and furthermore….

The peculiarity of the reserve is the extraordinary balance between the wildlife and the age-old presence of mankind. The rock paintings of “Rava tagliata”; the Roman aqueduct of the “ucchélle” which runs through the gorge on the right side of the valley through a tunnel hewn out of the rock; the surprising abundance of caves and natural refuges; the impression of the hermitage suspended over the river and the votive niches, reminding the faithful of miracles; the little rural church of Madonna de Contra: all contribute in making the gorges of Saint Venanzio a truly spiritual place.