Sirente Velino Park
The landscape variety is the essence of this path that crosses a territory that offers a true concentration of history and nature: from prehistory to the Middle Ages, from caves to transhumance routes, from the most rugged mountains to the roundness of the hills.
Starting from Ovindoli, the first village where to stop is Fossa, with its historical center built around the "Ciciuvetta", a mithraeum dug in the rock alive in 201 AD that welcomed the idol of the Invicting Sun. The frequent recourse to the arches in the architecture of the dwellings, deriving from an ancient legend according to which the only way to escape from the evil spirits was to take shelter under an arch, striking the traveler. Interesting is the visit to one of the most ancient necropolis of the Iron Age of the region where you can discover the tomb architecture of this part of Abruzzo and you can guess the characteristic funeral rite of the time.
For those who love speleology it is a must to stop at the Stiffe Caves near San Demetrio ne 'Vestini which, with their 700 meters of length, are characterized by waterfalls and ponds of great beauty. The true protagonist of the caves is the Sirente that, from a small stream with calm and crystalline water, becomes a river with rapids and waterfalls. In different stretches of the Caves you can admire beautiful concretions, stalactites and stalagmites that form, according to the figures that evoke, places with fascinating names: hall of silence, waterfall hall, hall of concretions, hall of the black lake and hall of the last waterfall.
The next stop is Prata d'Ansidonia. Here the church of S. Nicola, rebuilt in baroque style in the 18th century, preserves an elegant carved ambo from 1240, considered by some to be the most beautiful in Abruzzo. At about 3 km from the village is the archaeological area of Peltuinum which rises over the entire valley, where you can admire elements of the Roman theater and remains of the city walls.
In the area of S. Pio delle Camere you will see here and there the towers that testify to the presence of ancient castles or fortresses built for defense and sighting, such as that of S. Pio and, later, that of Bominaco. This area is known as the "via della zafferano", for the cultivation of the precious spice, the red gold of Abruzzo. With the remains of the Castle and the two churches of S. Pellegrino and S. Maria Assunta, Bominaco formed the Benedictine monastery of Momenaco. The church of S. Maria Assunta of the XI-XII century, built on the rock, is a remarkable example of Romanesque-Abruzzi basilican churches, with a splendid interior full of capitals, architraves and sacred objects. In the Oratory of S. Pellegrino, the 13th century frescoes are among the highest pictorial manifestations of the Middle Ages in the region.
Fontecchio will welcome you with its ancient medieval center, partly surrounded by walls and characterized by alleys and hairpin bends. Characteristic are the numerous arches that form porticos between the buildings, the so-called "medieval shops" with their stone staircases, the fountain of the 1300 school of Viterbo, consisting of a polygonal tank with 14 faces divided by pillars, and the so-called "pagliare", Houses that testify the ancient pastoral and peasant culture of Abruzzo.
Before returning to Ovindoli, one last stop is for Secinaro, the country of muleteers and ice-makers. Of great interest are the church of S. Nicola, built on the ruins of the medieval castle, and the church of S. Maria della Consolazione built on an ancient pagan temple. In this area also the table has a strong taste of wood and mountains: mushrooms, cheeses (typical is the pecorino di Fossa), the fragrant goat's ricotta, the ancient cereals, legumes, truffles. The first courses are based on fresh homemade pasta such as the fettuccine with saffron, the "guitar" with porcini mushrooms, the pappardelle with wild boar, the spelled soup. Second courses of meat (pork, lamb, veal, wild boar) are cooked on stone or roasted. Among the desserts, typical are the "ferratelle" produced with a plate red-hot on the fire, the amaretti and the "Nocci with almonds".
Lunghezza Km: 123
Durata: 2h, 25m
Praticabile in: Autunno Inverno Primavera Estate
Punto di Partenza: Ovindoli
Punto di Arrivo: Secinaro