This is a very good homepage about Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo! This homepage is a very good alternative to www.pna.it. Volunteers from the park are running the homepage.
This is the largest town in the Abruzzo NP and where we had our base for a week in June. Even so village life is unspoilt and totally untouristic - perhaps not so in August when the italians from Rome come up to escape the heat of the city!
More info on my Pescasseroli page
Fondest memory: Surrounded by the mountains and plenty of hiking opportunities it was the perfect "escape from it all" destination. See much more on my pescasseroli page.
In June there must have been just a handful of us tourists in the several hotels in town - it was really serene and calming being able to wander the narrow cobbled streets in peace. apparently when the roamn holidaymakers arrive virtually all the homes open up their ground floor as shops whilst they live in the upper rooms.
Civitella Alfedena lies in the Upper Sangro Valley at the foot of the Monti della Meta, on a small hill overlooking Lake Barrea, right in the heart of the Abruzzo National Park.
Fondest memory: We enjoyed a lovely hike here from the Comiscara area of the Park, one of the most attractive area with its waterfalls. It took a leisurely 90 mins after we had spent some time admiring the waterfalls.
The pic here shows us strolling down the hill at the end of the hike into Civitella Alfedena - more info on that page.
The park is the habitat of the last surviving Apennine wolves and the Marsican brown bear; also important is the presence of the otter, wild cat, marten and other elements of Apennine fauna, including the southern squirrel. Other remaining mammals are the red deer and roe deer. Bird life includes the golden eagle, the eagle-owl, the goshawk, the lilford woodpecker, the Apennine rock partridge and the alpine finch.
Fondest memory: Several of the hill towns of Abruzzo NP have sanctuaries for these animals - for example Pescasseroli has bears and Civitella Alfedena the wolves which can be visited.
Favorite thing: Another hike we did was in the Val Fondillo area - a valley before the Comisciara one - starting near the old timber mill. The path is fairly level along the valley following the course of the stream and then its a short drop down to the Grotte delle fate - a litle cave with the source of a spring for the river - a little disappointing to see but a pleasant walk nontheless.
Favorite thing: The information boards give details of the trails and nature around - a popular one was a hike up through the beech forests to a rifugio on path G - the one we took however was a pleasant balcony path over to the village of Civitella Alfedena.
At the end of the old road there are information boards about the Park and the hikes to be taken and the flora and fauna of the area. A couple of weeks earlier we would have seen many orchids in this area - including the lady's slipper - we did see one but it had just about died off :-(
Fondest memory: However we did enjoy the short trail (10 -15 mins) that takes in some of the waterfalls in this area. This is is called the "Cascate delle tre cannelle - not surprisingly it cascaded down in 3 parts!
Favorite thing: This is the heart and very origins of the national park - with spectacular scenery. The road through it has now been clossed to traffic and visitors now have to walk the 2km path to get to the start of the walking trails, the information boards available and the waterfalls. Good on them I say - less traffic for the hikers and less pollution :-)
Favorite thing: Opi is a small but delightful medieval hillside town of just some 500 inhabitants, just a few kiometres bus ride away from Pescasseroli. A pleasant hour is all that is needed to here to enjoy wandering around the old streets and enjoying its lofty views of the Abruzzo NP.
The National Park of Abruzzo was founded January 2, 1923 and today it covers 44,000 hectares, including 22 towns. In 1980 the Autonomous Board "National Park of Abruzzo" begun a zonation project to divide the parc into territories or zones for protection. Presently there are 4 zones: Full Reserve, General Reserve, Protection Zone and Development Zone. A Centre for the Apennine Ecological Studies has also been established in order to do research and publish data on the rarest animal species.
Fondest memory: Just hiking in the area here and enjoying the wonderful views of the mountains and waterfalls around.
Scanno is apparently a fascinating town in Abruzzo on the shores of the lake of the same name. An intricate network of streets, mansions and unexpected small squares, elegant balconies recalling the distant capital of the kingdom, Naples.
The town is famous for gold filigree and the renowned Abruzzese jewel worn by ladies, the presentosa, usually presented at betrothal in the form containing two little hearts. Very famous also the women's costume, still worn today by many of the local elderly women
The have kept alive their ancient traditions: the serenades, the festivals of the "travi" and "pagnottelle", the "Glorie di San Martino", the "mira del gallo" and, the best known of all, the "Catenaccio", a procession of couples in costume re-enacting the traditional parade accompanying once spouses to church and then, late at night, to their new home, accompanied by a folk orchestra. The Catenaccio is repeated every 14 August along the medieval lanes, to the light of camera flashes.
Fondest memory: Really wished we could have got here to see this but the trip was run on our transfer day and it was not possible to reach by public transport from Pescasseroli :-((
In the heart of the Park on the banks of the Sangro River, rises a small medieval hilltop village called BARREA. overlooking the lake of the same name.
This is the 'south gate' of the lake created by the damming of the Sangro. It has little more than a thousand inhabitants and has similar features to other towns in the valley.
Fondest memory: Coming up here was worth it for the views alone.
Favorite thing: Piazza Santa Maria della Valle, with the parish church, is the main entrance to the town. Porta Santa Maria, one of the three historical doors opened into the town walls; the door was demolished in the early 20th century, along with Porta della Codacchiola (of St.Antony) whereas the Porta della Croce is still standing.