Roccaraso in summer
There are places that we tend to associate exclusively with the winter season and one of them is Roccaraso: it is a beautiful town in the province of L'Aquila which is in fact part of the very popular Alto Sangro ski area.
But Roccaraso also has a lot to offer in the summer, when the snow melts and reveals verdant landscapes that hold truly amazing naturalistic gems. Don't forget that Roccaraso is just a stone's throw from the Majella National Park and from Abruzzo National Park, Lazio and Molise, two naturalistic areas where nature reigns supreme, giving everyone a truly unforgettable summer holiday.
In Roccaraso and its surroundings, however, there are also references to very sad historical pages linked to Italy during the Second World War: in fact, the village, which developed in the year 1000 around the ancient monastic complex of San Vincenzo al Volturno, he found himself at the center of the Gustav Line, which led to the destruction of the village at the hands of the Germans themselves.
Summer in Roccaraso
Roccaraso rises at 1236 m. high, on the edge of the Cinquemiglia plateau, surrounded by peaks such as the Piano Aremogna (1450 m high) and by the Monti di Roccaraso, which are part of the mountain group of Monte Greco.
Roccaraso has always been important from a strategic point of view, due to its geographical position: it is no coincidence that in the course of its history it has been disputed, for example, between the Volturnesi and the Borrello counts, but above all it has been at the center of the famous Gustav Line, built by the Germans during the Second World War to stem the Allied advance.
However, when these conquered the nearby Sulmona, only 35 km away from Roccaraso, then the Germans of General Kesselring abandoned the city not before having completely razed it to the ground and summarily killed innocent citizens.
Every ancient Renaissance and medieval monument of Roccaraso was therefore cancelled, but the following post-war reconstruction allowed the city to be reborn, becoming today a much loved tourist resort in Italy.
Roccaraso is the destination summer perfect for those who want to spend their days outdoors doing activities such as sport fishing, Rafting in the Aventine stream and the nordic walking, particularly in the areas of Pizzalto and Aremogna. In Roccaraso, precisely at the Campetto degli Alpini, it is possible to participate in nice war simulations in the famous game airsoft, completely immersed in nature.
Sport and more: in Roccaraso the trail network is highly developed and it is no coincidence that the network was inaugurated in 2007 Roccaraso Paths, with routes that lead above all towards the Aremogna plateau.
Who loves walking a horse riding instead, he can go to the riding school located near the Agriturismo Castellaccio, where they organize excursions in the heart of the Bosco di Sant'Antonio.
The little ones, on the other hand, can have fun in the Pratone, the large green area of Roccaraso where there are carousels and even an 8 m high wall. where to approach exciting free-climbing. Alternatively there is the Parco Avventura, located in the shadow of Colle Belisario and reachable by chairlift dell'Ombrellone: near this park there is also the opportunity to try your hand at archery or take part in quad excursions at the Frog off the Road.
Fans mountain bike they have a wide choice of routes, from those at the Campetto degli Alpini to the circuit that starts from the Belisario refuge, which can be reached with the Ombrellone ski lift. Alternatively there is the circular path which connects Roccaraso to Rivisondoli in 6 km.
In summer, never too hot at these latitudes, it's really pleasant to walk the streets of Roccaraso to discover the symbolic places of the town such as the Church of San Rocco, the only building saved from the Nazi destructive fury: inside, in addition to the monumental altar supported by wooden columns, there is a beautiful Baroque chapel with the statue of San Rocco. In the Church of Santa Maria Assunta there is instead a splendid silver statue of Sant'Ippolito, as well as 11 altars and a wooden pulpit.
Dominating Roccaraso is a mountain that hosts the Monte Zurrone Memorial dedicated to the Fallen Without a Cross, i.e. the 145.000 soldiers who died without receiving a proper burial. The cross of the shrine is 14 m high. and is visible from all over Roccaraso. Every year, just in June, the Day of Remembrance takes place, to always remember one of the most terrible pages in Italy's history.
In the hamlet of Pietransieri there is also the Limmari shrine, in memory of those 128 people killed in 1943 in the woods of Limmari, including children and women.
From Roccaraso it can be reached easily Sulmona, the city of sugared almonds which apparently were produced, in an archaic form, as early as the 1783st century BC: the Fabbrica Pelino has been producing them since XNUMX.
The famous poet Ovid was also born in Sulmona, to whom a city street and a bronze statue in Piazza XX Settembre are dedicated. A walk in Sulmona allows you to visit the aqueduct wanted by the Swabians in 1256 with its monumental pointed arches, the Fontana del Vecchio, the Church of Santa Maria della Tomba which shows a magnificent Romanesque-Gothic style facade and the Cathedral of San Panfilo , in whose crypt the remains of the saint are kept.
A stone's throw from Roccaraso is the picturesque medieval village of Roccascalegna, with the castle built on a rocky outcrop that seems suspended in the void and dominates the entire Rio Secco valley.
The Castle, born as a Lombard stronghold later modified by the Swabians, the Angevins and the Aragonese, is an unmissable stop on a holiday in Roccaraso, due to its appearance unchanged over time, with the towers, the patrol walkway and the famous balcony Jus Primae Noctis: the latter is linked to the legend of Baron Corvo, whose bloody footprint was imprinted on the stones of the balcony after being killed by a girl who refused to lie with him before getting married.
What to do and what to see
From Roccaraso start a series of paths that allow hikers to visit truly enchanting corners of the area. The Lucky Path it is number 101 and has as its starting point the locality of Ombrellone at 12756 m. of height. You walk on what in winter is a ski slope, at the foot of Colle Belisario, and then cross a beech forest, the so-called trampoline area, thus reaching 1362 m. high in the Fortunato locality.
The Quadrone Trail which winds along trail no. 103: in this case you walk in a beautiful beech wood following the totems scattered along the way, until you reach Campitelli and then Valle Canara.
Il Path n.102 it is nicknamed La Pineta and always starts from the umbrella: the walk enters a fir forest and climbs up narrow bends up to Punta Rossa and what remains of a pine forest, located at 1379 m. of height. Climb up to a natural viewpoint with a view of the Arazzecca and Maiuri mountains, entirely covered in beech trees. The area is dotted with holes caused by explosions and a series of battle positions where artillery pieces were placed.
Another excursion that can be organized in Roccaraso is the one that takes place on the Campitelli path (the n.105): you start from the locality of Ombrellone, you reach that of Punta Rosso Vecchio and continue towards a marvelous beech wood, to then reach a meadow with lots of dogwood, red currant and dog rose bushes.
The path continues in an alternation of woods and clearings, until it reaches a panoramic point that offers a wonderful view of Mount Arazzecca, the Sangro Valley and the village of capracotta. You continue walking in the beech forest, an ancient den of brigands, and then go up again towards the Valle Arenario, the Campitelli clearing and Fonte della Guardia.
The last stretch of this challenging hike leads to 1575 m. above Passo della Selletta, from which, after a stop in the refuge, you descend towards the Valle San Rocco and towards the Campetto degli Alpini.
From Roccaraso, precisely from the hamlet of Pietransieri, you can also reach the Mount Secine, 1883 m high: this trek crosses the Piana del Re and has the Fonte Cernaie as its arrival point, that is a beautiful clearing from which you pass woods and meadows up to the Selletta and the top of Monte Secine.
35 km from Roccaraso there is another place that cannot fail to be on the list of things to see near the Abruzzo tourist resort. It's about the Rio Verde waterfalls in Borrello, a real kingdom of biodiversity located in the luxuriant heart of a Regional Nature Reserve: they are about 200 m high. and they are the highest waterfalls in the Apennines and, after the equally beautiful ones of Stroppia in Piedmont, in all of Italy.
It can be reached via the Nature Trail which starts from the Visitor Center and which leads tourists to walk always along the Rio Verde, also meeting a panoramic terrace with a view over the whole Val di Sangro. Alternatively there is the Vecchio Mulino Path, a much shorter road that winds through the thick of a wood, or the Cascate del Verde Path. The latter is certainly the most beautiful and scenic road, with unpaved sections, other paved sections and wooden stairways that allow you to have an exclusive view of the landscape.
Don't forget that Roccaraso is also the final destination of the Tourist Train which starts from Montesilvano, in a section that allows tourists to enjoy all the landscapes of Abruzzo, from the Adriatic Sea to the mountains.
It climbs along the Trans-Siberian railway in Italy, crossing villages (from Sulmona to Chieti up to Pescara), skirting valleys, plateaus and lakes, until it reaches Campo Giove, in the heart of the Majella mountain massif.
Summer in Roccaraso is not limited to staying in the village, limiting yourself to taking a few short walks in the surroundings: the surrounding area is magnificent from a naturalistic point of view and excursions, even longer ones, are a must for those who want to get to know these places in depth . It is therefore advisable to have at least one available 15 days, also in such a way as to devote himself to some leisure without fear of taking time away from other activities.
In fact, in the summer in Roccaraso there is no shortage of events and the Gnome party: despite the name, not only children but also adults can have fun going back to childhood, walking in the forest near the Pizzalto ski resort among figures wearing the clothes of magical inhabitants of the woods. There is no shortage of creative workshops, dances, storytellers, puppeteers and markets where you can buy some typical artisanal products or taste local delicacies.
Summer enlivens Roccaraso also with gastronomic events such as the Fresh Pasta Festival in the central Piazza Garibaldi or the Feast of the Escape, a kind of bread fried in pork fat.
Speaking of food, Roccaraso allows tourists to pamper themselves with a few lunches or dinners in the trattorias or refuges of the area, in total calm, savoring, for example, potato gnocchi seasoned with the classic mutton ragù, polenta with sausage, soups of mountain vegetables (especially the wild spinach that is harvested in the summer) and desserts such as mostaccioli and amaretti.
A good glass of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo concludes any self-respecting meal in Abruzzo, Roccaraso included.
Staying in this location is easy and comfortable, being there accommodation of all types, from B&Bs to holiday homes, up to family-run hotels and other more sought-after hotels. There is always the possibility of sleeping at high altitude, in one of the huts that dot the mountains surrounding Roccaraso.
Don't forget that tourists can dedicate a few hours to their physical and mental well-being at the High Baths, located in the heart of the woods just 2 km from Roccaraso: they are located at 1300 m. high and combine well-being and nature, for an experience to remember and to be redone as soon as possible.
Roccaraso summer holidays
If you are considering a summer holiday in Roccaraso, below you can find some useful links to find hotels and holiday apartments.
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