... cows and horses in the road.This is a very impressive Alto Piano with expansive views and great hiking
We took the cablecar from Fonte Cerreto and then walked in a circle passing by Rifugio Duca degli Abruzzi, Rifugio Garibaldi and Valico della Portella. The view was really amazing and the hike not too hard. It's a great getaway in Summer, when most of Italy is simmering in the heat. These are the highest mountains in central Italy and cooler temperatures are guaranteed. If you have the chance, stop at the hotel for breakfast or lunch: we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food and the excellent cappuccino.
We took a drive up to Campo Imperatore on our July vacation to Italy. If you drive here, you will feel like you will never arrive as the drive is along winding roads, and of course, you are going up. The scenery all the way is spectacular. The hotel at the site is historical in that it served as a prison for Mussolini. The room where he was imprisoned has been preserved and you can view it for a small fee. Also, if you are a hiker, this is a great place to go.
Campo imperatore is a great place you totally have to visit when you are in Abruzzo. It has a landscape you won't see anywhere else. Once you are there you don't forget to stop at local butcher shop which offers arrosticini, the meat sticks you can grill and eat there, they're simply delicious.
Truly a hidden gem. The plateau with the mountains in the background make this area great for hiking, camping or a picnic lunch. If you can make it for the Festival of the Sheep in August, that is one experience you do not want to miss.
Splendid alpine scenery plus the very interesting hotel that was Mussolini's vanity project and brief (comfortable) jail ( with a view) all make for a great day out. Bring a full tank of gas and be prepared for winding narrow steep roads and sweeping vistas.
Views are mesmerizing. While driving along the way, for over one hour you feel you are in the middle of nowhere - and you ARE in the middle of nowhere!If you are looking for peace and quiet, a nice walk in the mountains is a must! There are several paths to choose from and also a few mountain dews, where you can eat, rest or spend the night in!While climbing up the mountains, you will notice a variety of alpine plants, very unique of the area. The "Stella Alpina", a protected species, is quite rare, but keep looking and you will spot one!
As already posted below, the destination can easily be reached. Short drive from L'Aquila to Cerro Ferraro and a cable car from there (7 Euro/11 one way/ up&down).Just don't miss a huge parking area on site (at the bottom of the hill), turn right to the camping before you reach the main square and drive 1 min down (camping being on your left side). Better unload your wheelchairs and strollers at the main square as there is a long stair from that parking area back to the square. You can easily access the cable car then, no further stairs.Actually, we saw a large parking area on the top, directly at Campo Imperatore but never drove there by ourselves so not sure how they did it.Get your long-sleeve clothes as it's really windy and cool up there (like +33 degrees C bottom and only 20 up there). Once the cable car brings you up you'll find right there a cafe and restaurant. We saw horses waiting for their passengers so I believe you can have ride to the peak (otherwise it's a half-hour climb). You have a breathtaking view directly from the upper cable car station (7 min ride every half an hour) or you may walk the plateau to see the mountains and valleys. There are valleys high there you can walk in, and you see that highest mountain peak from the station. Awesome, nature as beautiful as it can be.You can ride the cable car with baby stroller. But I don't think you can climb these further trails with the stroller, it's unflat and full of stones.
For those interested in the natural environment and hill walking/trekking, it is hard to go past Campo Imperatore. This is the hub of the Gran Sasso National Park for its major walks. It is easily accessible by car or cable car and you are spoiled for choice regarding the spectacular walks available. The facilities are clearly dated but the attentiveness of the staff and quality of the service we found excellent. We were also impressed with the quality of the coffee provided in the bar downstairs in the hotel. We found Najeeb to be an excellent barista (consistently so day after day) and staff on Reception at the hotel provided excellent information on the walks.
No skiing this year for us unfortunately but we love the mountains and so decided to spend a weekend in Abruzzo and see the snow. The cable car (Funivia Gran Sasso) goes up from Fonte Cerreto (about 20 mins drive from L'Aquila) every half an hour and the view from the top is truly breath-taking. Space for sledging with the kids and a walk in the snow with the splendid craggy peak of Gran Sasso in the distance. It was cloudy down below when we set off, but the cable car came through the clouds and we were in the brightest sunshine watching the spindrift from above. Magical.
We went here in May, so the alpine flowers were just starting to fade a little, but still beautiful. The place is just so vast it's almost frightening. Suggest a picnic and simply sit and take in the stunning views. For those more energetic, perhaps a walk further up the mountains on one of the many rugged trails...
If you like mountains during the summer, this is a place you cannot miss. You will enjoy wonderful landscape, easy trekking for kids. Give it a try.
In summer, you have really nice hiking to do all around the place. Vista is pretty amazing, you can even drive up if you're not into hiking. Some of the hikes are pretty hard but you can just stop anywhere in the mountain really and hike some less steep nicer hills. You don't have to pay anything to go there.In the winter, when everything is covered by snow and the sky is clear it's simply amazing. There is a small ski resort that you can go to with the funivia. It's not big but it's a lot of fun. The snow is usually pretty good, and the vista is just incredible. you can also go snow shoeing all around and it's just gorgeous. You can go on their website: http://www.ilgransasso.it/ to know when the ski resort is open etc... However note that the road is closed as it becomes a ski slope! So you have to take the cable car to go up (funivia) which costs about 15 euros a person. If you want to rent equipment (esp. skis) you can do it at the top of the mountain by the Scuola Sci (take the sort of tunnel on the left when you arrive). The rental price for complete equipment (skis+boots) is 20euros per person.
The area is vast but for a very enjoyable day trip we were taken to specifically see the area where the film The American was made. Situated in the province of L’Aquila in the Gran Sasso Massif, it is a perfect location for both photographers and walkers, (it’s also a ski resort in winter). In warm mid September we were on the “drive, see and eat day out” with our Italian friends. To them the eating was just as important as the views!We entered the park and made our way to Campo Imperatore for lunch. Here on the plain there are two large wooden “shacks” with lots of simple metal troughs outside burning charcoal for BBQ’s. Which to choose? We were told that the best of the two was Rifugio Mucciante, Gran Sasso Italia. You enter the cabin and there is a simple shop and butcher’s shop. You choose your meat from a large selection and go outside to BBQ it . The quality of the meat is superb and of course tastes better in the open air. All you’ll need for a delicious lunch is provided and if you are vegetarian there is a good selection of cheeses. It did seem that all the Italians were eating here so could be very very busy at weekends. From there we drove to Castel del Monte and then to the Rocca Calascio for a walk up to the Rocca and then down to Santo Stefano di Sessano where there is a pleasant café with restaurant called Tra le Braccia (with a hanging notice that said “Bikers Friendly”). There were certainly quite a few motorbikes about and no wonder. Breath taking views and empty roads during the week days in September. There are photos and much more information on the web if you are tempted to go. We were lucky that the autumn weather was warm but it can be much colder and windy up there so bring a warm jacket.
Distesa che sembra non finire mai fra le montagne in sottofondo che circondano l'altopiano. Il vento è il suono principale delle valli.