Day 33. To Santo Stefano di Sessanio

Yesterday, Friday 19th August.

We escaped Rome early and headed west for the Abruzzo region and the beginning of the high plateaus of central Italy. As you move east you begin to come across what seems like an endless procession of villages/towns built on the side escarpments and cliff faces. These are quite spectacular to see from the road but virtually impossible to photograph.

One of the biggest, and only 40k east of Rome, is Tivoli which has some very interesting fountains and water features so we decided a tourist visit was in order.

Tivoli

Apparently that’s what they look like. TomTom had a little trouble finding them and we found ourselves heading straight back down the escarpment on these very windy steep cobblestoned streets, all the way to the bottom because there was nowhere to turn around.

We kept heading east and pulled into this place for morning tea.

As we moved further east the towns were on ever higher hill tops which getting roads to back in the day must have been quite a feat. The amazing thing is that now there’s a freeway that runs through the region and it doesn’t take the low road, it takes the high road, one range top to the next via these massive and very impressive viaducts.

If you look over the top of the first column of the first pic you’ll see a hilltop village. That’s the one in the photo above which is where the second pic is taken. This viaduct is actually twice as long as can be seen.

To the hills of the Abruzzo region and the Parco Naturale Regionale Sirente-Velino.

Before arriving at our hilltop medieval village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio in the Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga. An interesting and essential read here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santo_Stefano_di_Sessanio

This place has become quite popular in recent years because now it’s only 2 hours from Rome to a large extent via the fore mentioned freeways. There is much restoration going on as there was a major earthquake in 2009. But very medieval and our wander through town and it’s varying levels by stair, lane and alleyways was very interesting.

As mentioned there is lots of restoration going on.

We had dinner at a local restaurant and encountered our first genuine attempted rip off which is pretty dumb when Norma’s paying the bills. “No, that doesn’t add up to E36, it adds up to E28” They weren’t impressed that we called them out, but it did take a bit of the shine off the place.

Day 22 Santo Stefano 185k

185k for the day.

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