This page is for users of the Cicerone guidebook. Feedback can be posted and read and any changes to routes are noted.
There has been a significant landslide at Pietracamela affecting walk 13. Marla Williams has reported the following:
“The Pietracamela walk is currently blocked! In May, the overhanging rock just above the village fell away in an enormous landslide. The rock is the size of a block of flats! Apparently at the time they thought they were having another earthquake!
We did find a way up by walking along the road to Prati di Tivo for about 200m and taking a path up to the right (which I believe was nearly opposite the Carabinieri) and following it up the hill. We crossed the water conduit and continued uphill to a small chapel. Past the chapel, the path went slightly right and joined the main route again by the river.
On the way back down, our way into the town was blocked by the landslide. After a failed attempt to climb above it, we were lucky enough to come across a local guy who explained what had happened. The water supply was cut off by the landslide, so they have set up a temporary pipe across the ‘crater’. Our new friend guided us across the landslide, following the route of the pipe and into the square at the top of the village. Back through the garden by Piazza degli Ero, the paths have been blocked off by the commune as the top of the village is effectively a danger area. The park trails 100, 102 and 148 are all effected where they lead into the village.”
May 2011 the paths were closed. We also found a local (climber) who showed us a route to the top of the town (through the no entry barriers) where we could pick up the path to Prato. We don’t normally disobey warning notices, but he assured us that it was safe and that no one would be angry with us! This proved to be the case.
Do you know if it is possible now despite the landslide at Pietracamela to walk down from Pietracamela and pick up the sentiera 148 to Intermesoli?
It’s been a couple of years now since the rock fall and I expect the path to Intermesoli is open. However I haven’t been that way myself since then and can’t say for sure. I would be suprised if the way is completely blocked. If I find anymore information I will post it here.
Have a good walk and let us know how you found it!
In July 2012 we did walk 13 in your book. And we found the route in exactly the same state as Marla Williams reported last year. Passing the landslide area was rather frightening, which we don’t want to do again. Googling the problem doesn’t give much hope.
I have had a contact With a person in Pietracamela that told me that there is an alternative way to pick up the path to Intermesoli. But the landslide is still blocking the route along the river and making the last part of walk 13 impossible unless you like the risky crossing.
Thanks for the update, Finn
I’m going that way in the next few weeks and will check out the latest situation. I’ll post whatever I find out here.
I received your book for my birthday in July, in anticipation of our visit to Abruzzo in August.
Our copy is already well thumbed and my wife and I have crossed off 5 walks in all.
We found the descriptions to be easy to follow and with the use of maps +gps/altimiter we didn’t really get losted!
We built up to walk 1 as this was the closest and longest to where we were staying in Atessa. Although I think we are quite fit we did find ourselves slower on the ascents than maybe the timings suggested. (The south downs don’t really compare!)
However, I thought it worth mentioning that Walk 1 took us considerabley longer than the 7 hours stated. The high point took us 4.5 hours to reach and we thought the descent would at worst be 4 hours, but the loose rubble under foot for much of the descent, from the stone gully onwards, slowed us considerably and the last 3km was almost the hardest, due to tiredness. The desciption of “lane” might need to be expanded upon as we thought we had an easy final 3km but once the tarmac ran out the descent to the pasta factory had a lot of uneven large stones/rubble which really took it out of us.
In all it was a monster 11 hour day! Most of which we loved and it was the high point literally and figuratively of our holiday. I don’t think the timings should be changed in the book especially as I wouldn’t want to discourage others from this awesome walk as we wouldn’t have even attempted it if it was 9hrs in the book.
We do intend to return to Abruzzo soon, book in hand.
Thanks very much for the feedback, Pip.
I agree the Fara San Martino Gorge and Val Serviera is a big as well as magnificent route – arguably more a 3 than a 2 as it can be very tiring? Hopefully anyone else setting out to enjoy this splendid day will take heed of your experience as well as mine and make an early start.
Thanks again and hope you continue to enjoy Abruzzo!
In checking a few routes recently I have noticed that the description of walk 16, Villetta Barrea and Civitella Alfedena, has a small mistake. Sorry!
From Civitella Alfedena, to find the beginning of path I3 down through the woods to the lake, you need to walk left along the road from the Wolf Museum for about 50 metres. Then the start of the path appears on the right – just past the last building.
You can still visit the wolf compound but just go back to the mueum and road after having looked into it. (In September 2011 there was a juvenile wolf being kept apart from the others in a smaller pen at the far end of the compound – a lot easier to spot!)
The Navelli Plain
News reaches me that the tratturo, the old drover’s track, across the Navelli Plain has been tarmaced. At least the stretch running north west from Caporciano. Madness – the comune must have had money left over in their budget that had to be spent! So, this affects Route 30, the Navelli Plain. Where it says unsealed track now read tarmaced track.
It’s also reported that the lane leading down from Caporciano to the start of the traturro has become overgrown. This can happen over the years but is often seasonal. The comune sometimes clear vegetation and trim back trees etc. in the autumn and winter. In fact, this is how I would have spent the spare budget if I was the mayor! The alternative is to follow the road down to the start of the tratturo.
And one other tip for Route 30. When passing through Tussio, on the way to Bominaco, cross the piazza on the south east side of the church to the far (south west) end of the church. Follow the road ahead (Via Lauretana), south west past houses, until it soon bends leftwards and leads down to a junction with the road coming up from the Navelli plain. Turn right and walk on up towards the cemetery as per the book.
Val di Rose restriction September 2012
On the 7th September 2012, the Abruzzo National Park authority had still not re-opened the Val di Rose (Walk 17) to unrestricted access. Rangers were turning people without a permit back.
The route has for years been closed in July and August to help protect the new born calves in the large chamois family that live at the head of the valley. There has been no advertised change to this policy and I assume that this year, following our unusually hard winter, the breeding season began late. Therefore the rangers had kept the path closed longer than normal. There was, apparently, notice of the closure at the beginning of the path but probably only useful to Italian readers.
I walked the route in the first half of September 2011 without problem. I’ll drop the Park Authority a note to check if they have, in fact, changed policy but not publicised the news. I would doubt it – more like a one off. The Park website continues to notify the closure only for July and August.
And, of course, the rangers will sometines do things at short notice because they need to (or just because they can!).
A couple of updates to the tour of the Valle del Gizio (Walk 25).
At the point between Vallelarga and Pettorano sul Gizio where you reach the house on the corner and set off to follow the path across the field to the electricity pylon, you will find that the field has been fenced and an almond (I think) grove has been planted. You can’t walk across the field anymore. So, at the house, turn right and head up the rising tarmaced road heading into the Val Lavozza. After about 500m, turn left at a junction with another tarmaced lane and follow it, south east, to re-join the route description at the bridge over the canal. (This alternative is described in the book only now it isn’t an alternative).
Secondly, and better news, is that the path along the river back from Pettorano to the road near the railway bridge has been recently upgraded to a cycle path. It’s as quiet as ever but now a more pleasant stroll.
The mountain train from Sulmona to Castel di Sangro
Well I guess the inevitable has occurred. TrenItalia have finally axed the service linking Sulmona with Castel di Sangro and onwards towards Naples.
Sad, such a useful way to get into the hills without a car. But it was barely used for years. I always felt it should have beeen promoted as a toursit attraction – a wasted opportunity. Maybe one day soon it will? The infrastructure remains in good working order (for a while at least) so let’s hope an occasional summer time service may resume.
The closure affects the suggested ways of doing walk 8 – Monte Porrara ridge. The description of walk 25 is also now a little out of date but still accurate. Just don’t expect to see any trains.
Hello Stuart, We discovered your book while planning a week in Abruzzo and having read it over several times, planned most of our activities around it. It was obviously written with a real love for the land and an intimate knowledge of the area. We found it very usable and following the directions were able to complete several walks without worrying that the trails were not well marked. That we were able to make contact with you and have the pleasure of your company for one of the longer hikes made our vacation. Knowing that I might not be able to make the entire hike, I wanted to make sure my husband had a knowledgable companion to walk with. A 10 hour day is not an easy commitment but you gave us your time and knowledge and even a jacket that we lacked. I can not begin to tell you what a highlight of our trip that was.
We can only hope you’ll write another with more trails to accomodate your older fans. Thank you so very much for everything. We’ll look forward to keeping in touch and having another hiking day together! Moti and Miriam Kellner, Jerusalem
Thanks for your kind words, Moti and Miriam. It was a pleasure.
We have just ended our 2 week holiday in Abruzzo, which would not have been the same without your book.
The 8 walks were all a joy even if exhausting, especially in the 45 degree heat in week 1!
We agree with a previous post that the Fara San Martino walk was amazing; we loved the ascent, but the descent was never ending. The highlight had
to be seeing the chamois and the arrosticini at the taverna just down the hill from the car park.
We found the Celano gorge completely open and an amazing experience; we didn’t carry on to the shepherd’s hut as the weather closed in and we were having a ‘rest ‘ day.
The road to Monte Corvo parking is open. We parked at
Lago di providenzzia as we didn’t know; it does make it a long walk, but I am
not sure I would have been confident taking the Fiat Panda all the way to the chapel, although others were there in the same type of car, so I might just be a chicken!
We saw a taverna in Orlotano on the main road; this one was
The walk to Monte Vellino was amazing and I think the descent from Corno Grande
was the most challenging, but the final ascent and hence descent of Mt Prena was as exhilarating as we were entirely alone, could see the forest fires on the Campo Imperatore and at times were not sure we would make it down in one piece!
We are looking forward to returning next year to complete more if the walks.
Anne Johnstone and Mark Millinson
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