Rocca Calascio is one of the numerous castles in the Abruzzese area. However, it is one of the most suggestive and interesting fortifications for tourists, also because famous films such as “The Name of the Rose” and “Lady Hawk” have been shot here.
In addition to this, so to speak, “cinematographic” fame, Rocca Calascio reserves the tourist with an all-round experience of architecture, history, culture and nature. The Castle dominates a small mountain village, now uninhabited, from a height of 1,460 meters, a feature that places it among the highest fortifications in the whole Peninsula.
The construction of the fortress began in the year 1000, when the structure of the castle was not yet complete and was limited to an imposing quadrangular tower with the function of sighting enemies.
The Trabocchi coast
For all those who are heading to Abruzzo to spend their summer holidays, we recommend a suggestive and perhaps little known place, because it is off the beaten track. It is a magical and surprising stretch of coast in the Province of Chieti, called the ” coast of the Trabocchi “.
The name derives from the peculiar buildings on stilts used for traditional fishing in this corner of the Adriatic, the “Trabocchi”, which mark the territory without fail, projecting the visitor into a distant past (but not too much) made of ancient crafts and popular customs now lost. .
The municipalities that are part of this coastal area, all in the province of Chieti and each with its own traditions and originality, are nine:
- Francavilla al mare;
- San Vito Chietino;
- Rocca San Giovanni;
- Torino di Sangro;
- San Salvo;
- The natural landscapes that are created here are very interesting, decorated by the Trabocchi which, in various shapes and sizes, sprout along the coast making it unique visually and emotionally.
The beach alternates rocky, sandy, pebbly, low and high, in a truly varied and heterogeneous conformation.
To fully enjoy the atmosphere of the Trabocchi coast, feel free to explore both the coastal area and the immediate hinterland. You will certainly be fascinated and surprised.
For all speleology enthusiasts but also for the simple curious and for families with children, the Stiffe Caves , in Abruzzo, will represent a leap into a magical and mysterious world , created underground by flowing, where impetuous where placid, of a stream ready to re-emerge from the depths of the earth. In fact, the underground environment known as the “Stiffe Caves” is actually a so-called “resurgence”, that is, a place where the river, after a more or less long underground path, returns to the surface.
One of the peculiarities of the Stiffe Caves, open to the public and passable in picturesque natural ways dug into the subsoil, is that the environment and landscape varies according to the periods of the year. The flow of the river that flows through them increases or decreases according to the amount of water that reaches the course from the Rocche plateau. between stalactites and stalagmites of various sizes and shapes, a placid and silent stream or a rushing and thunderous river can flow, which can also give rise to waterfalls and lakes of considerable size.
This fascinating place has been known and exploited since ancient times. In the twentieth century, a hydroelectric power station was built here in order to obtain maximum energy efficiency from the enormous amount of water conveyed into the stream.
In the ’70s and’ 80s, a tourist exploitation of the Caves began, which were officially inaugurated in 1991 with the opening of the “Grotte di Stiffe” Tourist Complex.
In the province of Chieti, on a hill from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view to say the least, stands one of the most enchanting castles in the whole region, that of Roccascalegna . To compete with him there is perhaps only the equally suggestive Rocca Calascio, in the province of L’Aquila, chosen as the location for successful films such as “The Name of the Rose” and “Lady Hawk”.
Already known to the Arabs, who called it “Ruqqah Gawrali”, the castle was always used for defensive purposes. Precisely for this reason the fortress was placed on a hill difficult to reach and to conquer, on a mighty sandstone rock that supports it hovering over a deep overhang, creating a unique panorama in the world.
La Rocca is much loved for this particular aspect, particularly by photographers and enthusiasts of “shooting” in general.
Surprisingly surrounded by gentle patches of Mediterranean scrub, despite the altitude, the Rocca rises in an area on the edge of the Majella National Park. The relatively mild climate, which favors the growth of Mediterranean plants, is due to the fact that, as the crow flies, the Rocca is not too far from the sea (about 20 kilometers).
This is without doubt one of the places not to be missed if you are heading to Abruzzo for a holiday.
Abruzzo National Park
photo Credit https://www.instagram.com/federica__cecchini/
Abruzzo includes within its territory several protected areas and 3 national parks. One of the most fascinating at a naturalistic level but also more known on a national scale is the one known by the name of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park.
The original nucleus of this park was inaugurated in the pretty center of Pescasseroli, in the province of L’Aquila, way back in 1922 making it the second oldest national park in Italy, after that of Gran Paradiso (inaugurated just a year earlier). Since then, the park has been involved in the protection and conservation of rare or endangered fauna and flora. Among the animals protected here there are, for example, splendid specimens of Abruzzo chamois , Apennine wolf and Marsican brown bear ; among the plants, there are instead the wonderful Scarpetta di Venere, the Genziana and the rare Pino Nero.
Among the places not to be missed within the Abruzzo National Park are:
- The villages of the park . There are numerous villages that sprout here and there on the heights and plateaus of the protected area. Among the most characteristic there are Villetta Barrea, Pescasseroli, Opi, Barrea, Scanno and Ortona dei Marsi.
- The lakes of the park . Among the most evocative lakes in the area are Lake Barrea, surrounded by three small but pretty towns, Villetta Barrea, Civitella Alfedena and Barrea, and Lake Scanno, a village known for its goldsmith tradition and for the traditional costumes worn by the local women.
Majella National Park
Abruzzo is famous throughout the Peninsula and worldwide for its scenic and natural beauty. In this region there are three National Parks. The most famous is that of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise, the second oldest in Italy after the Gran Paradiso Park. However, the Majella National Park also has much to offer visitors.
Among the most appreciated Flora of the Park there is the splendid Cornella della Majella. Here also hermitages such as that of Santo Spirito a Majella , in Roccamorice (PE), that of the Madonna della Mazza , in Pretoro (CH), that of Santa Croce al Morrone, in Sulmona (AQ) and many others can be visited .
The Necropolis of Fossa
The Necropolis of Fossa , located in Fossa, in the Province of L’Aquila, is an Abruzzo archaeological site of considerable importance at a national level.
The Necropolis has even been nicknamed ” small Stonehenge ” because of its historical and archaeological relevance, given above all by the fact that the tombs housed here cover a very large time span, ranging from the 10th century. BC until the 1st century AD
The burials, strategically located on the northern bank of the Aterno river, during the excavations have reserved many surprises for archaeologists. The 500 burials so far found and explored occupy a large area that covers almost 2000 square meters of territory.
The mounds are of different types and dating, as already mentioned, to different historical periods and also very distant from each other. This temporal distance is manifested above all by the type of technique used in making the mounds.
The oldest tombs are traced back to the people of the Vestini and contain numerous objects of daily life whose location in the coffin is explained by the current cult of the afterlife, typical of many populations of the time. Then there are circular tombs made of stones, dating back to the Iron Age (X-VIII century BC) as well as tombs of adult men, characterized by the external arrangement of stones in a vertical position with heights (in descending order) ranging from 50 cm to 4 meters.
The Necropolis was later used by the Romans. The chamber tombs with “luxurious” carved funeral beds in bone and ivory, obviously reserved for notable personalities, are traced back to this period.
The archaeological site of Fossa is a place with a particular atmosphere and rich in mysticism that certainly deserves a visit, remaining the most important protohistoric necropolis in all of Abruzzo.
Archaeological Site Alba Fucens
Abruzzo is a tourist destination of exceptional value from all points of view. The best known is undoubtedly the natural and fauna one, thanks to the three National Parks that arise in this region. Abruzzo is however very interesting also from a historical and archaeological point of view.
The most indicative example of this archaeological vocation of the Region is certainly Alba Fucens , a site which saw the birth of a very important and lively Roman settlement and which today preserves ruins and finds of national value. The name Alba Fucens derives from the possibility of enjoying from this settlement an admirable view of the sunrise over Lake Fucino, near Avezzano, later dried up and converted to agricultural land.
The archaeological area includes a very well-preserved Italian city, surrounded by a mighty city wall and located at almost 1000 meters above sea level. The temple of Isis and the Shrine of Hercules are the best preserved religious buildings in the ancient city. Among the most important buildings and civil places at historical and archaeological level there are the “forum”, the “macellum” (ancient market of the second century BC) and the neighboring spas.