From Pescara to Fonte Vetica
A route full of surprises, which will make you discover Abruzzo and will take you to touch the sky of the highest peaks of the Apennines. Starting from Pescara, the first recommended stop is in Popoli, where it is recommended to visit the Palazzo Ducale with its impressive forms, the ducal Tavern with its ogival portal, the Castello Cantelmo, the Church of S. Francesco, the Church of the Trinity. A curiosity: here was born Corradino D'Ascanio the brilliant inventor of the helicopter and the Vespa. Located entirely within the municipal territory of Popoli, is the Nature Reserve "Sorgenti del Pescara", one of the oldest protected areas of Abruzzo. Popoli is also renowned for its food and wine tradition, especially for crayfish and trout, specialties that give life, during the summer, to a culinary festival accompanied by the motor racing of the Svolte.
A short distance away is Goriano Sicoli, an ancient village devastated by the Shiites and the Vandals who, under the Longobard domination, reorganized itself under the current Rocca. Do not miss the necropolis of the 6th century BC, the sanctuaries of the Roman period, the ancient cobblestones and the remains of an aqueduct in Valle Orsa. The hills above the village and the woods are lush with oak woods and fruit trees that are home to bears, wolves and deer, as well as numerous species of birds of prey. The animals are back here from the nearby National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise in search of new spaces; the pass, told by Ignazio Silone, has become an important wildlife corridor in the Parks region.
Continuing the tour is worth visiting Rocca di Mezzo, a town surrounded by woods and pine forests, which offers spectacular views of the Gran Sasso, the Velino and the Sirente. From here there are many excursions to Stiffe or to Sperlunga, also known as Pozzo Caldaio, a sinkhole where the waters of the Gamberale stream and melting snows come, in which the release of the air contained in the rock, in some periods, gives the feeling that the waters are boiling.
At Rocca di Cambio, instead, the Church of the Annunciation (XV-XVI century), where there is a baptismal font of the sixteenth century with an hexagonal base in white stone, a wooden tabernacle and a polychrome wooden statue of Saint Lucia of the XVth century. To visit also the Abbey of S. Lucia (XII / XIII century) with its beautiful frescoes and the ciborium in the crypt of the 1500s.
A separate speech concerns L'Aquila, a wonderful city of art that unfortunately still shows the damage of the 2009 earthquake. It is, however, a city that struggles fiercely to recover and return to offer the best of itself to those who want to know it. After long restoration works, some of the masterpieces of the capital of L'Aquila shine again, like the Fontana Luminosa, the Church of S. Bernardino and the Basilica of S. Maria di Collemaggio, where the hermit Pietro da Morrone was crowned Pope in 1294 with the name of Celestino V. He was the first Pope to exercise his ministry outside the confines of the Papal State and one of the few to abdicate after only 5 months. For over seven hundred years, on August 28th and 29th, the ritual of forgiveness is renewed here, the plenary indulgence that Celestine V granted to the faithful and which is obtained by crossing the Holy Door of the Basilica.
The final stage of the tour is Fonte Vetica, so named for a natural spring that stands on the edge of a pine and fir forest on the slopes of Mount Vado di Siella, Mount Tremoggia and Mount Camicia. It is very popular with amateur astronomers for the purity of the sky that at the zenith allows to see with the naked eye stars of more than half a magnitude above the sixth. There are no artificial lights except those of the nearby shelter (however, off shortly after twilight), so the suggestion of the show is assured.
The route crosses the Piana del Fucino, reclaimed in the 1800s and today known for the production of potatoes, carrots and other vegetables that reach all the Italian markets. instead, in the fields of the mountain of L'Aquila, barley, the excellent lentils of Santo Stefano di Sessanio and spelt are produced and are used to prepare delicious soups. The cardo in broth is also traditional in L'Aquila. Among the first courses are, moreover, to taste the "sparre", handmade pasta cut into diamonds, which takes its name from the characteristic dishcloths used in the kitchen in these parts: a typical dish of peasant cuisine, to be enjoyed with addition of local ingredients such as saffron, mushrooms and flakes of pecorino cheese. Also try the "tondini" of Popoli, excellent with trout sauce or freshwater shrimp. Among the latter you will find an excellent stew, known as "cottora sheep", the "pallotte cacio e ove" (balls with cheese and egg) and the lamb cooked on the grill or in the oven, not to mention the "arrosticini", very thin skewers of sheep meat cooked over a wood fire or charcoal. Typical of the area at the foot of the Gran Sasso is the "marcetto" cheese (or pecorino). Among the desserts do not miss the "torrone alla cioccolata" and the ricotta and fruit tarts.
Di Ra Boe (selbst fotografiert SP-550 UZ) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], through Wikimedia Commons
Lunghezza Km: 209
Durata: one day
Praticabile in: Autunno Primavera Estate
Punto di Partenza: Pescara
Punto di Arrivo: Castel del Monte - Fonte Vetica