“Tour post,” the rubric for getting to know in 48 hours the lands of the Trabocchi, this month is taking you a handful of kilometres from the sea of Torino di Sangro to Majella National Park.
3:00 PM – Costa Verde Beach in Torino di Sangro
Enjoy the sea of Torino di Sangro in the beautiful surroundings of the Costa Verde beach, mainly pebbly, surrounded by thriving and green hills and known for its depths ideal for underwater fishing.
5:30 PM – A stroll throught the Lecceta and a visit to the English Cemetery
Not far from the sea, immerse yourself in the lush vegetation of the Lecceta, a regional natural reserve which stretches for 180 acres south of the mouth of the Sangro River, in a unique natural setting where the largest terrestrial tortoise population in the region grows and reproduces. Within the area there are two walking or mountain biking trails.
From the Lecceta you can reach the picturesque English Cemetery of Torino di Sangro, where rest 2617 soldiers from territories of the British Commonwealth who died in the second world war in the battle for the breakthrough of the Gustav line on the Sangro River, in November-December 1943.
9:00 PM – Dinner, all you can eat “arrosticini”
Along the coast the gastronomic tradition is mostly marine, but heading south towards Pollutri, one will find Lu Barrott di Nicola, a little restaurant in a rustic and informal atmosphere, very popular for “arrosticini” and succulent grilled meat.
10.00 AM – Atessa and the Sassu Museum
Leaving the coast, just 40 minutes away by car you will arrive at Atessa, a charming and ancient town in the lower Valley of the river Sangro, where you can admire the ancient village and palace, located between the ‘Ndriano Arch and the central Piazza Garibaldi, home of the prestigious Aligi Sassu Museum in which 210 works of art on paper are exhibited, made by the great master from 1927 to 1990. The review highlights and retraces the most significant moments of the artistic and existential diagram of the Italian painter and sculptor: the early works of futurism in the 30’s, with the famous cyclists, the evocative red men, the suffered crucifixions, the mind-boggling cafes, lively battles, but also painful shadows tied to prison and anti-fascist activity, lively bullfights from the 60’s, and the dreamlike illustrations of Orlando Furioso.
12:00 PM – Tornareccio, the “city of honey”
At the conclusion of your cultural tour, head to the nearby village of Tornareccio, the “honey capital.” The small town has been naturally ideal for over 100 years for producing a diverse variety of monoflora, like the Acacia, the Lupinella, the Sulla, and the millefiori of the mountains. Today the ten thousand hives and 32 companies operating in the sector produce half of the abruzzese honey (250 tons of honey each year, 5% of the nation’s supply). Here you can buy honey, which is celebrated every year, at the end of September, with the “Tornareccio Regina di Miele”.
13.30 – Agrituristic Lunch
Get yourself in gear and replenish the palate with local specialty gourmet at Agriturismo Travaglini just outside Casoli (Via Piano delle Vigne.) You must try the “sagne a pezze”, the “pallote cace e uova,” and the “pizz e fuje.”
3:00 PM – Casoli, the City of Oil
The territory of Casoli is known for the production of extra virgin olive oil, so if you happen to be nearby it might be a good idea to restock your hoard of “green gold”. Just 10 km from the agrituristic Travaglini, in Caprafico, a rural scenery of outstanding beauty, it’s well worth a visit to the Trappeto di Caprafico olive company of the Masciantonio family, for an oil tasting.
4:00 PM – Trekking in Majella National Park
Work off all those accumulated calories with a hike to the nearby cave in Sant’Angelo, a place of worship of medieval origin at the edge of the village of Palombaro. The hiking trail works its way into the Majella National Park. You can start your itinerary (circular and about 3 km in total) from Piano Massaro. Good hiking!
6:30 PM – Casoli, the Ducal Castle
You can reach the beautiful town of Casoli, climb on top of the old village, and visit the majestic Ducal Castle. From here you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Majella and the surrounding valley. The castle is connected with the name of Gabriele D’Annunzio, a frequent “tenant” who loved to pin up on the walls his life, his thoughts and his emotions, in the same rooms where they perfected the strategy of the Majella Brigade, which contributed to Italy’s liberation from German occupation.
8:00 PM – The Majella in a “mouthful” (of beer)
Quench your thirst at the Birrificio Majella, Massimiliano Di Prinzio will let you taste beers refermented in the bottle, free of colorants and preservatives, neither filtered nor pasteurized. Here nothing is left to chance, the barley malt is of premium quality, the grain is typical of the area, the Solina wheat (native to Abruzzo) comes from organic farming, the water comes from the Del Verde fount, and the acacia honey is from the Majella National Park. Jam is used in one of its beers, Cluviae, is made with casolana apples, typical of the area, and a variety of spices that come from the nearby mountains.
9:00 PM – Dinner with a lake view
In Contrada la Torretta, treat yourself to a dinner (romantic if you’re in sweet company) with a beautiful view over lake Sant’Angelo. La Taverna restaurant on the lake offers typical dishes made with local raw ingredients. Among the house specialities are the “sagnette al farro con ceci,” mushroom and truffle dishes, pallotte cacao e uova, and grilled meat.
9.00 AM – White-Water Rafting the Aventino River
Challenge the rapids of the Aventino, putting to the test your adventurous spirit with an excursion by dinghy or kayak, a walk in the bed and banks of the river (water trekking), or a night out night-rafting.
12:00 PM – Fara San Martino, the pasta capital
The territory of Fara San Martino offers split landscapes of incomparable beauty. Visit the ancient village and then go down to take a look at the cave monastery of San Martino In Valle. From here intrepid spirits, if they want, can also reach the Summit of Monte Amaro, along the gravelly route H1. If you prefer a picnic, the headwaters of the Fiume Verde River, in the locality of San Pietro, meet your needs with a fully equipped picnic area.
3:00 PM – Dessert with the chamois of Abruzzo in Lama Dei Peligni
At the end of your meal, for dessert go on over to Lama dei Peligni. Here at I Segreti di Donna Anna, guests can enjoy authentic sfogliatelle lamese, a soft and crumbly pastry stuffed with “la ragnata” (grape marmalade), cherry jam, cooked must and walnuts. Finish the afternoon with a visit to the Maurizio Locati Visitor’s Center, an important educational and scientific centre dedicated to the Apennine chamois, the protagonist of this corner of the National Park, or take the nearby Taranta Peligna to take a peek of the caves of Cavallone, the highest natural caves of Europe which are open to the public.
Translated by Alan Glenn Embree
[Credits | Photography: Nicola Cupaiolo (cover ph.), Carmelita Cianci, Marina Di Paolo, Piergiorgio Greco, Abruzzofotografia, Abruzzo Rafting]