Casa Marina has a total of 24 beds arranged in two sleeping quarters plus apartments for accompanying adults, all with en-suite facilities. The hostel has been set up to provide overnight accommodation for school parties, groups and people with disabilities. The grounds can be used as a campsite on request and can accommodate around a dozen tents.

THE VISITOR CENTRE AND NATURE EDUCATION LAB

Casa Marina is also a visitor centre and nature education lab. It boasts a teaching lab equipped with microscopes and special instruments (15 microscopes, a television and display cases) for running activities specially designed for schools of all kinds and children of all ages. The building also features a library specialising in topics related to the park, with publications and audio-visual materials on environmental subjects and nature education; schoolchildren, researchers and PhD students can all consult the library’s books.

 

ACTIVITIES HELD AT THE HOSTEL

  • Nature education activities;
  • Guided tours and educational workshops;
  • Holidays for school children and groups of adults with tailor-made programmes of events;
  • Summer camps.

The Regional Park of the Euganean Hills, in partnership with the Terra di Mezzo cooperative, organises summer camps for children between six and 17 years of age every year. They last a week at a time and take place throughout the summer.

The members of staff are all adults, with at least one teacher per eight children chosen from the park guides that work in the park’s visitor centres. Their interaction with these children is extremely educational and takes place in a relaxed atmosphere where every child is individually taught and encouraged, to the point where each child naturally integrates with the rest of the group.

 

THE BOTANICAL GARDEN

The botanical garden of the Euganean Hills is a themed garden where various areas representing the vegetation of the Euganean Hills have been set up, home to over 1,400 different plants, a truly impressive number given the size of the local territory. This unique characteristic is due to the existence of extremely diverse environmental factors, such as the many different gradients of its slopes, the presence of soils that differ enormously one from the other due to their different origins (sedimentary and/or volcanic) and the different levels of exposure to sunlight that exist, even on a single hill.

The botanical garden’s main aim is to display examples of the different plant associations found in the Euganean Hills, illustrating the existence of different botanical species per habitat with informative signs. Its role in preserving and encouraging the propagation of rare plants of the area or those at serious risk of extinction is just as important. The garden also makes particular efforts to reintroduce species recorded in the area in the past in particular parts of the hills and that are now believed to have disappeared.

The garden features an area for herbs and medicinal plants, dry grasslands known as ‘vegri’, forest clearings and thermophilic scrubland, woods featuring typically Mediterranean flora, wetland vegetation, ravine and calto (or ‘ditch’) species, mixed oak and chestnut woodlands and, last but not least, cliff and scree species.

Areas that are often subjected to haymaking activities are perfect examples of manmade meadows, while other marginal areas are constantly overgrown by weeds that grow and spread due to various types of human activities. Many kinds of food plants prosper amidst such undesirable plants and are found in other environments as well, edible plants that have often proved to be a precious resource for the diet of poor families living in the Euganean Hills.

Manmade terraces where crops were once grown have also been used for planting local varieties of grapes in an educational vineyard.

 

OPENING TIMES: Offices and reception: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – midday. Tel: 049 9131781 – Fax: 049 9139183

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