National Park of Abruzzo – Bears, chamois, wolves

National Park of Abruzzo
Gran Sasso – Photo ©

National Park of Abruzzo: Recommended period: Spring – Autumn
(Sulmona – Cocullo – Pescasseroli – Opi – Villetta Barrea – Scanno – Sulmona)

Imagine driving out of New York City at 10 am and being in Yellowstone Park by noon. When in Rome, consider the National Park of Abruzzo. The idea will appeal to you or you are planning a vacation there.

Take the A24 autostrada from Rome for about 50 miles, exit onto the A25 “Strada dei Parchi”  (Parks expressway). Then get off at the Pratola – Peligna exit and drive to Sulmona.

The trip begins in Sulmona (403 mt above sea-level), a town situated in the heart of the Peligna valley. The city is well-known as the birthplace of Ovidio, the poet of love. It is known nowadays as being the land of confetti (there is also a museum of confetti). Its many beautiful monuments dating back to the economic and cultural heyday of the town, the XIV and XV centuries. The Natural History Museum of the Mountain Community is worth a visit. It has a vast entomological section containing almost 7,000 examples of local insects.

National Park of Abruzzo
Deer – Photo ©
National Park of Abruzzo: itinerary

The town of the snake-catchers, Cocullo, whose residents have combined the millenary Marsican traditions with the Christian devotion to S. Domenico. From here, the trip continues on the provincial road to Ortona dei Marsi, going through a karst depression area. It reaches Bisegna passing through the lovely Giovenco valley. From here, it ends up in the heart of the National-Park, i.e., the town of Pescasseroli.

Proceeding along the Sangro valley, the tour touches Opi and afterward the town of Villetta Barrea. Its artificial lake hears the same name. The tour starts back from the lake of Barrea and, following the S.S. (State road) n. 479. It climbs the mountains through the woods of Scalone up to the pass of Monte Godi. Then it descends to the town and lake of Scanno.

It is worth making a stop here. Take a walk in the narrow streets, many containing the typical fights of steps. You can admire the characteristic women’s clothes of oriental origin. Some older women still wear them on holiday. And you can also do some shopping in the goldsmith’s shops. The trail goes through Villalago after leaving Scanno. Anversa degli Abruzzi is at the end of the Sagittario Valley. It’s the town where D’Annunzio’s play “La fiaccola sotto il moggio“. After driving 20 more kilometers, the trip ends back in Sulmona.

National Park of Abruzzo
National Park of Abruzzo: Fauna

Bears, chamois, wolves, deer inhabit the Park. The symbol of the Park is the Marsican Brown Bear, it was, until recently, an endangered species. At present, this danger seems to have been averted, thanks to the particular protection activity of the Park Board. Indeed, there are about 80 examples of bears living both in the Park area and in the nearby mountains. The Board of the National Park of Abruzzo has also taken several initiatives about other areas.

An example of this activity is the Operation Chamois. It has favored the reappearance of this mountain goat even on the Eastern Majella and the Gran Sasso.

About 40 wolves are living in the Park. The Operation San Francesco started 20 years ago. It created a Tour Information center dedicated to them and a special Faunal Area.

An investigation is ongoing to find out if it’s possible to introduce the Lynx in the Park again.

Where to stay in Sulmona

Hotels, apartments, villas, and B&Bs in Sulmona: search and reserve here.

A few items from Abruzzo

La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy
Fifty years ago, a group of Italian scholars gathered to discuss a problem: how to preserve traditional Italian cooking. They formed the Italian Academy of Cuisine to document classic recipes from every region. The academy’s more than seven thousand associates spread out to villages everywhere, interviewing grandmothers and farmers at their stoves, transcribing their recipes—many of which had never been documented before. This is the culmination of that research, an astounding feat—2,000 recipes that represent the patrimony of Italian country cooking. Each recipe is labeled with its region of origin, and it’s not just the ingredients but also the techniques that change with the geography. Sprinkled throughout are historical recipes that provide fascinating views into the folk culture of the past. There are no fancy flourishes here, and no shortcuts; this is true salt-of-the-earth cooking. The book is an excellent everyday source for easily achievable recipes, with such simple dishes as White Bean and Escarole Soup, Polenta with Tomato Sauce, and Chicken with Lemon and Capers. For ease of use there are four different indexes. La Cucina is an essential reference for every cook’s library.

Grazing In Abruzzo
Bruce Franchini (Director), Lidia Bastianich (Actor)
Lidia loves the region of Abruzzo! She describes the people there as welcoming, giving and jovial, and the hearty food of the region has left her with such fond memories. In the Abruzzese kitchens, Farro, a kind of wheat berry, is cooked as a whole grain and is manufactured in many shapes-both by small artisanal pasta makers and larger pasta companies. She makes this pasta with arugula and ricotta. Following her main course of Lamb with Olives, she creates the deliciously fun Scrippelle-which look like fettuccine-and tosses them in a hot caramel, citrus and apricot sauce for dessert.

Abruzzo. History and art guide
by Latini M. L. (Author)
Although it is a bit too synthetic, to the detriment of the overall readability of the text, the work provides an exhaustive description of the artistic heritage of Abruzzo, inserting points for observation not always recognized. Recommended.

Abruzzo 1st Edition
by Michael Kenna
Abruzzo, located in southern Italy, is known as the green region of Europe because of the system of parks and nature reserves covering more than one-third of its territory. In Abruzzo, Michael Kenna found a cultural identity that elsewhere, for the most part, has been lost to globalization and instant communication. Kenna photographed medieval ruins, ancient villages and a countryside rich in traditional cultivation. As curator Vincenzo de Pompeis writes in the book s introduction, 'Abruzzo's heritage, together with its impressive natural scenery, brings to mind romantic connotations that have historically attracted many international landscape artists, particularly in the 19th century. Michael Kenna fits perfectly into this rich historical vein of celebrated landscape artists who have worked in Abruzzo. Kenna's work often evokes the influences of Romanticism. In his photographs of historic rural landscapes, for example, there is an air of melancholy, which accompanies memories from the past. His images of ruins stir up feelings of passing time, of the constantly evolving ties between history and nature.' This gorgeous new monograph by renowned landscape photographer Michael Kenna is published to coincide with a major museum exhibition in Loreto Aprutino, Italy. Richly printed in duotone on matt art paper, and presented in an olive-green cloth slipcase with black debossed text on one side and a tipped-in image on the other, Abruzzo presents 65 images from the series, published here for the first time.

Michelin Map Italy: Abruzzo, Molise 361 (Maps/Local (Michelin))
Michelin created its first travel guide over 100 years ago to promote road travel and inspire driving confidence. Today, Michelin Travel & Lifestyle offers travelers an extensive range of travel guides, maps and online travel resources. These products deliver the same Michelin promise of quality and consistency consumers expect from one of the world's most trusted brands.
Publisher of travel guides, maps and atlases, Michelin Travel & Lifestyle offers a complete travel portfolio. Where to go, how to get there, where to eat & stay, and what to see & do ... all in one collection with extensive international & domestic coverage, especially for Europe. Our series includes Michelin (Red) Guides, Green Guides, Must Sees and Michelin maps and atlases.

Canti Della Terra D'Abruzzo
Ettore Montanaro
Buy MP3: all 51 at the same time, or each one individually.

Italian Folk Songs from Abruzzo 1927-1930
CD and MP3 reissue of the freat italian folk duo. Comes with rich notes and photos of the couple as well. Pasquale and Clara Sciascia immigrated to the U. S. from the Abruzzo region of Italy, settling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From 1927 to 1933 they recorded 44 songs fro the Victor, Columbia and Brunswick record companies. The Sciascias were the first to record a number of Italian and Abruzzese folk songs, 14 of which are reissued here for the first time in 90 years. The songs feature wonderful duet singing and exquisite string band accompaniment. Also included are notes on the couple and their music, photos, and the transcribed and translated lyrics. Includes 20 page booklet.