Val Grande National Park is the largest wilderness area in the Alps. It is located at the border with Switzerland, a two-hour drive from Milan, and famous for its dense forests, crystal clear mountains streams and stunning landscapes. It has no resident population, paved roads, or any modern infrastructures. In other words, it is the perfect destination for nature junkies, adventure lovers and hikers.
Every year the Inachis Association coordinates programmes for of Italian and foreign volunteers who are provided with free accommodation and unforgettable experience in exchange for their help at the park. The main tasks include patrolling the territory, paths cleaning and maintenance, signs repair. Claudia Alessandrelli of Inachis told me that volunteers work for up to 8 hours a day but the schedule is quite relaxed. “In reality, the volunteers walk a lot every day. Their job is to understand the territory of the park, its nature and the local communities”.
During their free time, volunteers are encouraged to go hiking and explore the authentic Italy. To me it all sounds like fun rather than work! Don’t think you will be able to sneak for a spot of shopping or a bite to eat in a fancy restaurant, though: Cicogna, the tiny place where the volunteers stay, is far from any civilization.
The cost of the holidays is 65 euro per week, plus 5 euro per day for food.
A similar programme also exists in the Abruzzo National Park and is open to volunteers all year around.
For more details about volunteers vacations in the Alps go to the Inachis Association website.
Photos by: Stefano Girolimetto/Flickr, Inachis