The 5 best parks in California

California is not just the state of Hollywood and the long beaches of the Pacific . In this strip of land you can come across an infinity of landscapes , each one totally different from the other.

Unmissable on a road trip in the south-west state are the parks, many of which are among the most beautiful and interesting in the USA.

Here are the 5 best:

1. Yosemite National Park

The Yosemite National Park extends over the Sierra Nevada mountain range, about 300 km from San Francisco. An inevitable stop for a trip on the road in the southwest, the Yosemite has an area of over 3000 km² and offers an incredible variety of animal and plant species.

yosemite

The rich fauna that populates the park, a UNESCO World Heritage since 1984, includes brown bears, wolves, marmots and many other species. Big attraction of the park are the redwoods, more than 1000 within the protected territory, many of which are located in Mariposa Grove, where the Wanona Tree resided, the huge tree in which a tunnel was dug at the end of ‘800 and fell into ruin 1969.

Another incredible place is the Yosemite Falls , the beautiful waterfalls that reach at their point more than 735 meters high. One of the best vantage points is at the Glacier Point at 2100 meters above sea level. The main attraction of the park is definitely the Half Dome , the very high granite rock that dominates all over the park with its 2700 meters, unfortunately not accessible to most as it requires some experience in climbing. Read more

yosemite glacier point

 

2. Death Valley

Located on the border between Califonia and Nevada, Death Valley , as the name suggests, is an extensive desolate valley that offers landscapes of impressive beauty. The Death Valley manages to enchant and intimidate at the same time: of the great lakes and the lush area that was more than 10,000 years ago there is only a boundless desert landscape , theater of the great gold rush in the 800.

death valley

From the very beginning we perceive how this land is hostile to life : ghost town, abandoned mines and animal skeletons dot the valley of death. Gas stations and areas where water and food can be bought are scarce along the way, so take precautions before entering.
In the official site of the park ( here the link ) you can find all the precautions to which you need to undergo how to fill up with water and fuel and avoid getting stuck inside the desert area The temperatures in the warmer months exceed 45 degrees Celsius and phone coverage is really poor.

The valley offers several attractions such as the Dante’s View at 1669 m high on the Black Mountain, from which you can admire Mount Whitney (the highest of the park) and the great depression of Badwater . Another interesting point is Zabriskie Point , where you can admire an almost lunar landscape. Ryholite is instead a ghost town that at the time of the gold rush boasted a population of 10,000 inhabitants. But it does not end here: Death Valley is certainly one of the most impressive places in the US and in the world, one of those places to visit at least once in life, with due precautions. Read more

zabriesky point

 

3. Joshua Tree National Park

Surely one of the most fascinating parks in the USA, the Joshua Tree National Park owes its name to the trees of Joshua, the trees that populate it named for their branches that rise up to the sky. What is surprising about this park is the cohesion between two different desert ecosystems, that of the Colorado Desert and the Mojave.

joshua tree

Not only that, the Josghua Tree offers an impressive sky during the night: far from the visual pollution it is possible to see the celestial vault in all its splendor. Among the great attractions of the park stand out the Keys View from which you can enjoy a breathtaking landscape, unmissable during the sunset, the Wonderland of Rocks , where it seems to have landed on the moon, the Black Rock Canyon from which to observe the forest of Joshua Tree and the Skull Rock the absurd rocks that the erosion of atmospheric agents has turned into real skulls. Read more .

JoshuaTreeSkullRock

 

4. Sequoia National Park

The Sequoia, however, most beautiful, most impressive are the Sequoia National Park, another wonder of south-central California. Together with Kings Canyon National Park they form a single large protected area that alternates impetuous peaks, placid rivers, sequoia forests and valleys with postcard views.

 

There are many activities that you can take part in the park and certainly the trekking is the most popular: the climb to the Moro Rock or the trail to the Crystal Cave are among the favorite routes. The protagonists are, however, the huge sequoia of the Giant Forest, which can be reached along 17 miles of hairpin bends. A few miles further north you will be able to get to know the world’s biggest living being, General Sherman , a 84-meter-tall sequoia weighing 1,910 tons. It is thought to have between 2300 and 2700 years! Read more .

general sherman

Kings Canyon has very similar landscapes and is also home to several sequoia: do not underestimate it, but this park also offers beautiful trails and it is a wise idea to spend at least a full day.

Kings Canyon National Park

 

5. Lassen Volcanic National Park

The Lassen Volcanic National Park fully represents the restlessness of California: gayser , boiling water springs and hot mud pools, all dominated by the Lassen Peak , the park’s symbolic volcano. Its last eruption dates back to 1914; now the situation is quite stable and quiet and it is difficult to imagine the abundant lava flows that continued to erupt until 1921.

This park also offers immense forests , sulfur reserves and crystal clear lakes. Among the most interesting water basins is Lake Manzanita , one of the most photographed in Lassen, where it is possible to camp, kayak and swim.

lake manzanica

An unmissable excursion is the one at the falls, the Mill Creek Falls , 23 meters high. Not least is the King Fall , slightly lower but similarly spectacular.

 

 

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The most famous Little Italy in the United States: a journey in search of Italianness

In my many trips to the United States I have visited many so-called ” Italian ” neighborhoods, some very interesting and authentic, others more attraction for tourists looking for stereotypes.

I am not particularly attracted to the Little Italy scattered around the world but some have impressed me and sometimes I am also pleased to meet people who are far away (or who have never even been in Italy) to claim their origins with passion: we are always very good at criticizing our country, but when we are far away, it lacks to anyone even with all the contradictions and idiocies that characterize it.

  • 1 Little Italy Americans not to be missed
    • 1.1 Ellis Island Immigration Museum
    • 1.2 Little Italy Manhattan, New York
    • 1.3 Little Italy by Arthur Ave, The Bronx, New York
    • 1.4 Little Italy, San Diego
    • 1.5 North End Boston

Little Italian America not to be missed

When I plan my itinerary to visit a particular city in the United States and in the world I see if there is an Italian neighborhood (which is not said to carry the name of “Little Italy”): in these years I have learned that often the best communities of compatriots and their descendants are far from the tourist center and are sometimes also found in small towns.

Ellis Island Immigration Museum

The United States is a country born of immigration , especially the European one with which colonization began. So in my ideal journey in search of Italianity in the United States, it should all start with Ellis Island and its Immigration Museum .
Many of our compatriots have passed through this “reception center” where migrants coming by ship from Europe were visited and questioned: those who were well and could constitute a resource for the USA was accepted, the others rejected without appeal.

How many stories of hope and despair have seen the walls of Ellis Island : when you’re in New York City do not miss this museum. On this page, libertyellisfoundation.org/passenger , you can search by name for the passengers who have been registered at the reception center over time. With my surname there is only one woman, Teresa Tobanelli , from a village in the province of Brescia (near where my grandfather was born …). She arrived in New York in 1920 at the age of 36 and had left Genoa on board the ship “Pesaro”.

Probably I will never know what he did once in the USA, what his fate was.

Little Italy Manhattan, New York

The most famous of all is the Little Italy of Manhattan in New York City: historically it is one of the oldest and most important in the United States. The streets of the district still tell stories of hardship and suffering, of people who lived crammed into tiny apartments, with really bad sanitary conditions.
Despite the great economic and social difficulties, our countrymen have managed to import with pride, so many traditions, our food and our holidays.

little italy new york

Today the Italian community no longer lives here, many have moved from a long time in the Bronx or New Jersey and the Chinese community from neighboring Chinatown has invaded the streets adjacent to Mulberry Street, the hub of Little Italy in Manhattan.
What remains are shops and restaurants but the streets can still remember when in this southern part of Manhattan, many Italians lived chasing the American dream.

Little Italy by Arthur Ave, The Bronx, New York

The most authentic “little Italy” in all of New York is the one found at Arthur Avenue , in the Bronx, precisely between East 189th Street and Crescent Avenue. I really recommend you take a walk through these streets, stop and eat something at Arthur Ave Retail Market, a market of typical products of Italian origin.
Among all the Italian communities that I have visited, this is really what fascinated me the most: far from the chaos of Manhattan and really inhabited by Italians, now second generation.

arthur ave new york

Little Italy, San Diego

Near Downtown , then in the heart of the beautiful Californian city, we find a small but lively Italian community: even here now a lot is mostly aimed at attracting tourists but has certainly been more protected than that of Manhattan. It is not difficult to find our compatriots arrived at a young age and that after so many years have not yet managed to shake off the typical Italian accent in the pronunciation of English.

A walk around here is a must on your trip to San Diego.

little italy san diego

North End Boston

Boston ‘s North End neighborhood is a very quaint neighborhood that long ago welcomed a large community of Italians. Today walking through the streets of this area, you will find Italian shops and restaurants, even if now the new generations often do not even know our language anymore.
Truly one of the must-see districts in Boston, plan a nice tour of the area!

boston little italy

Other Little Italy that I have had the opportunity to visit but which have actually struck me less, or because they have now fallen by melting pot , or because it is not said that an Italian community always correspond to restaurants and shops that highlight it, are those of Chicago, San Francisco, Baltimore, South Philadelphia and Hartfortd in Connecticut.

 

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