The trip to the castle can be done easily in one afternoon.
Head out the town and follow the green nature trail signs up. At one point the path splits - take the right hand path and keep going up. Its a well troden and signed path so you wont have too much trouble.
The castle itself is now a ruin but offers views over the town.
I took a circular route and from the castle followed a well marked path. Initially the path climbs and passes a small shrine.
This will bring you out on to a horse field. From here head to the small hut, keep it to your right as you head down back to Pescasseroli through the woods
So, once you've dodged the bears (!) Go to the end of the meadows to the far left end (the end opposite the road) the exit can be a bit muddy.
Take the gravel path to the fence around the fields to a big barn. Just before this burn turn right on to a track then take another right in to Pescaseeroli
Although there is not a great deal to do in Opi, it is worth climbing to the top for some great views.
I took the stairs back down again but rather than turn right, back the way I came, took a left. Stopping in a great little bar at the junction for a very welcome bottle of water!
Facing the bar, take the road on the right, as the road bends you take the track on the right.
Crossing the meadow, look back for a last good view of Opi.
Unfortunalty it was here, I took the 2nd right turn not the 1st....initially heard snorting, kind of like the noise a bull makes. Then a bear approached, up on its back legs with another close behind. Luckly for me it eventually run the other way.
Sadly I was frozen to the spot so no photo )-:
Head to the centre of town then down Via Pave. Cross the bridge and follow the road past Club Primula. The road then becomes a gravel track (which doesn't stop the locals travelling down it on mopeds!).
The path splits off to the right. Keep to the left hand side of the meadow. Keep on this path until you reach the road
Follow the road for a short while until you see the path on the left hand side of the road (there is a seat near it)
Follow this up to Opi
To reach the town centre, you can either follow the road up or take the steps. Either way it is a steep climb!!!
This church is more tucked away at the back of the old town - look for a map at the beginning of the road of the Churches for its location.
This church was founded in 1729 and is baroque in style. The church contains a sculpture of the carmel virgin which is paraded around the town on its festival days which occur on the 15 and 16th July.
Right at the back on the old town, just by the main road in the direction of Avezzano and Rome is this lovely old bear fountain - sadly no longer in working order. There's also a smaller lions head one on the left hand side. Above on the rock is a crucifix and inscription of the origins of the National Park of Abruzzo. It just stood out so clearly against the bright blue sky.
The zoo is mainly a scantuary for the wildlife that cannot survive in the wild - for example the two female bears nearly blind.
However the zoo does have another inmate..... apparently this big male bear became human friendly and discovered the taste for peanut butter sarnies. He was captured several times in the villages of the park and released in more remote areas....but he kept coming back.
Then one Assumption Sunday the locals were out on the street enjoying the festivities as they do. Well the bear decided to join in but on the way found an unlocked cheese shop and promptly helped himself! Well that was the final straw and the naughty bear was incarcerated into the zoo.
But thats not the end of the story.....the shopkeeper was compensated for his ruined cheese stock but come the Christmas market "bear cheese" complete wiith claws marks was a popular buy that year!!
The parish church in Pescasseroli is called the " SS. Pietro e Paolo" and is cited in historical documents dating back to 1115. It stands on an earlier monastic cell belonging to the benedictine monastery fortress of S Angelo di Bareggio.
Both the gothic front portal and the basilica interior with its nave and two aisles preserves the original structure. In the left aisle there is an alter of the Black Virgin.
The festival of SS. Pietro e Paolo is on 29th June.
Another festival takes place on Christmas Eve when there are fireworks here.
This is the birthplace and home of the maternal grandfather of the philospher, historian and literary critic Benedetto Croce (1866-1955). A large but elegant 19th century Palace - it can be found in the old town in the square of the same name - Piazza B Croce. It was his belief that the name of Pescassdroli derived from "pesculum ad sarolum", meaning "rock near the Little Sangro".
There is another poetic version of the origins of the name - see general tips.
Just before the Municipo on Viale Lucia is a shady garden area where often street traders set up stalls. It also has the obligatory war memorial. The gun is symbolic as it was sited on the hills above Pescasseroli during the war attacks with the threat of being turned on the village if they helped the reistance.
Well the village survived and as well aas this memorial a scantuary was built at the foot of the Monte Tranquillo. More of this in the off the beaten path section.
This is the town hall and often the centre of the village life. People have to come here to pay their rates. Local people would sit around the square here people watching, chatting with friends and having a coffee.
The main town centre is the Piazza S Antonio
where the locals congregate around the fountain and the cafes here. These water fountains all around Europe are so handy for ice-cold water - wish we had moe of these back home. Not so sure about the decorations around the madonna though ;-/
Pescasseroli as headquarters of the national park and has a small natural history museum and animal sanctuary - the main ones being the mariscan brown bear , and a sort of botanical garden.
It cost 6 euros to enter - bit overpriced for what there is to see but you have to see the naughty bear .......
The old town is a warren of narrow old cobbled streets and alleyways with some delightful old stone houses - more pics in the general tips section.
An unusal house can be seen in the street Valle del Fiume - with a column supporting two arches standing over two outer stairs.