ABRUZZO AND MOLISE

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ABRUZZO AND MOLISE

An easy off road adventure along the Regio Tratturo (the Royal Shepherd’s Track), among castles and pasturelands showing a modern version of the ancient transhumance within Abruzzo and Molise. A magical journey, a leap back in history and biodiversity. Discover past habits and explore inaccessible places. A unique experience where enogastronomy is synonymous with tradition and where you will encounter a new but ancient rhythm that have belonged to shepherds and flocks for centuries. Watch local shepherds prepare cheese and meet the last guardians of the ancient tradition of transhumance. Your unforgettable trip!

DAY 1: SANTO STEFANO DI SESSANIO AND ROCCA DI CALASCIO
Santo Stefano di Sessanio, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, the symbolic place of the District “Terre della Baronia” is located in Gran Sasso-Monti della Laga National Park.
Through the guide’s narration of historical facts, legends and myths concerning the ancient medieval village, it will be possible to take a step back in time, immersed in the characteristic narrow streets that once saw the protagonists of some of the most important Italian noble families of the Renaissance, the Piccolomini of Aragon and the Medici.
At sunset, we will head towards Calascio and enjoy the magical light of the downing sun on the stones of the Rocca di Calascio.  This walk is an easy 3 km route on an ancient shepherd’s track that starts from the village of Calascio and reaches the Rocca, a fortress located 1512 meters above sea level, and included by National Geographic among the 15 most beautiful castles in the world. Its plant, of exclusively military use, is characterised by the ability with which it is able to merge with the impervious surrounding territory. Along the way we will meet the Renaissance church of Santa Maria della Pietà, built as a votive offering dedicated to the Virgin.
Return to the hotel, dinner and overnight stay.

DAY 2: SANTO STEFANO DI SESSANIO AND CAMPO IMPERATORE
Activity level: leisurely / moderate – Duration: 2  1⁄2 hrs – Ascent and Descent: 100 m.

Breakfast in the hotel and departure to “Gran Sasso-Monti della Laga National Park”, where we will discover an area so bleak and remote it is known as the ‘Little Tibet’.
You will enjoy a stunning view of the highest mountain in the Apennines, Mount Gran Sasso (2912 mt.).
After a lunch break in an “old western saloon” with local food and the typical delicatessen “Arrosticini” (made from sheep or lamb meat, cut in chunks and pierced by a skewer), we will take an easy walk in Campo Imperatore area, a big highland, more than 26 Km long and 10 km wide, located 1600 m above sea level.  Campo Imperatore was also the set of cult “spaghetti western” films such as, “They Call Me Trinity” and “Trinity is Still My Name” by Enzo Barboni, starring Bud Spencer and Terence Hills.
Return to the hotel, dinner and overnight stay.

DAY 3: THE MaB UNESCO RESERVE IN MOLISE
After breakfast in the hote,l we will head south towards San Pietro Avellana, the capital of Molise’s truffle.
This village, set among dense woods, typical of the southern Apennine area, is part of the MaB Reserve (Man and Biosphere Reserve), a programme established by UNESCO for the protection of the territory and its biodiversity.
The morning activity includes a visit to two tasty laboratories, cheese and truffle, where we will take part in a truffle hunt, accompanied by truffle hunters and their dogs.
After a light lunch based on local typical products, we will continue to Capracotta, one of Italian’s highest villages above sea level, a tourist village known for its agropastoral traditions, with a stunning view of the highest peaks of the Apennine. Capracotta is located near the “Giardino della Flora ppenninica'' (Garden of the Apennine Flora), a high altitude botanical garden where it is possible to admire many species of flowers and local plants.
Accommodation in hotel, dinner and overnight stay.

DAY 4: AGNONE AND PIETRABBONDANTE
After breakfast in hotel, our journey continues to Agnone for a visit to the Pontificia Fonderia di Campane Marinelli (Marinellis Pontifical Bells Foundry), a family-run Italian metallurgical company specializing in the construction of bells. Founded and still run by the Marinelli family, it is the oldest in Italy and among the oldest in the world.
We will take a stroll through the historic centre and enjoy a light lunch based on typical local products at a “Caseificio”, a cheese factory.
Continuation towards the archaeological area “Bovianus Vetus” near Pietrabbondante, which preserves the remains of what was probably the most important sanctuary of the Samnites.
Return to the hotel, dinner and overnight stay.

DAY 5: DEPARTURE
Breakfast and departure.

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