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"Pietrales" and creativity at the foot of the Maiella


07 giugno 2023

Reading time:

3 min

  • Comuni d’Abruzzo
Lettomanoppello, Ph. Di Pimlico27 CC BY-SA 4.0


Descrizione lunga

The road goes between a lot of hills, which are followed by reliefs, plains and plateaus.
You are in the Maiella National Park, along the route from Sulmona to Campo di Giove, in the province of L'Aquila.
All of a sudden the road surface descends until it approaches a bight in the Lavino River; after that, it rises again and the first houses of Lettomanoppello appear, all gathered on a 352-meter rise at the foot of the Maiella. 

You immediately notice that high reliefs depicting mines, quarries, trees, mountains and natural vistas appear on the walls of the houses: these are the "pietrales", stone murals made by a group of local sculptors, who passionately follow the centuries-old tradition of their village.
You are in fact in the "village of the stonemasons", with hands of steel and a pure heart. Thanks to them, the stone of the Maiella becomes butter by transforming into miniatures, friezes and figures of astounding beauty. The village is rich with natural cavities and caves of stalactites and stalagmites. 

If you are in the area between July and August, you can learn the techniques by visiting workshops put on for a ten-day festival all dedicated to stone and the art of chiseling ( which takes place annually on average). In these workshops, artists from all over the world perform on the walls of buildings, public and private, leaving their indelible mark.

Reach the town's stone quarries where a high hollow appears, divided in two by a rocky spur: this is the Grotto of Sant'Angelo (or hermitage), which was a place of worship of ancient Italic peoples. In the silence of the hollow in the half-light, appear the 13th-century statue of San Michele Arcangelo and the remains of a small space, called the "bed of Sant'Angelo", on which stood a tiny church of which today only a few traces remain.
Accompanied by an experienced guide, visit the Praie Cave, about 500 metres from the town. It is considered the largest speleological cave in the province of Pescara. The cavity has two axes of galleries, almost parallel; the one on the right, which is very narrow in size, can be visited only by crawling; the other is wider and easier with an impressive scenery of stalactites.

If you don't feel like going underground, you can rest in a small green area, "Parco delle Praie", with an adjoining picnic area.
For lunch, try all the local specialties, with an overture of bruschetta with liver sausage or cream of fava beans, then maccheroni alla molinara, green sorcetti, misticanza and wild asparagus omelet.

What else to see:

  • The parish church of St. Nicola of Bari
  • The Sanctuary of the Iconicella


  • Villages
  • Comuni

Location of the Destination


42.237906918609, 14.037845134735

Last updated

15/01/2024, 11:08

Published by AbruzzoTurismo