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Abruzzo, Province of L'Aquila, Italy
Campo Imperatore is a mountain grassland or alpine meadow formed by a high basin shaped plateau located in the Province of L'Aquila in the Abruzzo region of Italy in the Gran Sasso massif. It is the largest plateau of the Apennine ridge. Known as Italy's "Little Tibet", it is located in the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park. Campo Imperatore has a tectonic origin shaped by alluviums and glaciers. The plateau, which is 27 km in length and an average of 8 km in width, lies adjacent to the Apennines' highest peak Corno Grande, and Europe's southernmost glacier, the Calderone.
The plateau's altitude ranges from 1500 to 1900 meters. It covers an expanse of approximately 80 km². Campo Imperatore is home to one of Italy's oldest alpine ski resorts.On the southeastern side of Campo Imperatore are medieval hill towns once ruled by the Medicis, Castel Del Monte and Santo Stefano di Sessanio as well as the ruin of one of Europe's highest fortresses, Rocca Calascio. In spring, summer and fall, shepherds from these neighboring hill towns maintain herds of sheep, "semi-wild" horses, and cattle in the plateau. The pastures are covered with field grasses and meadowland wild flowers.