Stuart Haines’ fabulous second edition pocket-sized ‘Walking in Abruzzo’ guidebook leads the way in making Abruzzo accessible and enjoyable for even the novice walker.
The 40 seasonal day-walks through the Maiella, and Gran Sasso national parks and the Sirente-Velino regional park are circular, the importance of which can’t be over-emphasised in Abruzzo. Although many of the areas are impressive, the smaller hamlets can be remote and have 2 buses a day! It’s also somewhat reassuring to have these all available as a GPS download link.
I loved the handy English language translations of walking vocab that helped make sense and bring alive some of the places we visit… ditch/valley isn’t one of those words that you learn normally as a non-Italian but ‘fossa’ explains the town that sits beneath one of our favourite ruined castles, Ocre, to walk from.
Each of the walks lists time, difficulty and terrain (low & high) with detailed directions, map and good points of interest that should please nature lovers and culture vultures on the lookout for hidden frescoes along the way. That low and high route spread thankfully takes into account those like me whose love of heights can be somewhat overwhelmed in Abruzzo as well taking into account fitness, plus catering for those seeking a gentle morning’s amble or ramble.
Abruzzo walks include:
The Maiella National Park
- Walk 1 Fara San Martino gorge and Val Serviera
- Walk 2 The hermitage of San Bartolomeo di Legio
- Walk 3 Monte Morrone from Passo San Leonardo
- Walk 4 Morrone di Pacentro and Monte Mileto
- Walk 5 The Orfento valley
- Walk 6 Caramanico and the Orfento gorge
- Walk 7 Monte Amaro from Lama Biancha
- Walk 8 Monte Amaro from La Maielletta
- Walk 9 Monte Amaro from Fonte Romana
- Walk 10 The Alento valley above Serramonacesca
- Walk 11 Monte Porrara ridge
Corno Grande and Campo Imperatore
- Walk 12 Monte Prena and Monte Camicia
- Walk 13 Santo Stefano and Rocca Calascio
- Walk 14 The west summit of Corno Grande
- Walk 15 The east summit of Corno Grande
- Walk 16 Campo Pericoli and Pizzo Cefalone
- Walk 17 Monte Bolza ridge
- Walk 18 Pietracamela and Prati di Tivo
- Walk 19 Monte Corvo and the Val Chiarino Monti Della Laga
- Walk 20 Monte di Mezzo circuit from Campotosto
- Walk 21 Cima della Laghetta and Monte Gorzano
The Abruzzo National Park
- Walk 22 Villetta Barrea and Civitella Alfedena
- Walk 23 The Val di Rose
- Walk 24 Monte La Meta and the Mainarde crest
- Walk 25 La Terratta
- Walk 26 The Scanno town and lake loop
- Walk 27 Serra del Campitello and Monte Godi
- Walk 28 Monte Marsicano
- Walk 29 Colli Alti and Bassi from Pescasseroli
- Sulmona Valley and Monte Genzana
- Walk 30 Anversa degli Abruzzi and Castrovalva
- Walk 31 Monte Mattone from Pettorano sul Gizio
- Walk 32 Monte Genzana from Pettorano sul Gizio
- Walk 33 A tour of the Valle del Gizio
The Sirente-Velino Regional Park
- Walk 34 Monte Sirente
- Walk 35 The Celano gorge via Fonte degli Innamorati
- Walk 36 Monte Velino
- Walk 37 Monte Ocre
- Walk 38 Fontecchio and Pagliare di Tione
- Walk 39 The Navelli plain
The Simbruini Regional Park
- Walk 40 Monte Viglio
Do buy a copy ready to try a bit of walking in Abruzzo, Stuart’s commentary is relaxed and descriptive, his complementary photographs help bring alive the walks encouraging you to go go go. Abruzzo is an excellent region for exploring by foot at a rambler or hiking pace, something the Italians (along with the Dutch, Germans & Scandiwegians) have known it seems since time begun. However, despite the wonderful hiking opportunities Abruzzo offers it is not always easy to get information directly in the region; often park tourism offices are closed, and official website info & maps do not clearly indicate how to find or begin the walks in question.
Sulmona Valley Walks
Do also check out his new website Sulmona Valley Walks. Stuart went out with other local guides in the Peligna Valley and to map the routes and he has published 25 of the walks in English on this website. They offer a wide choice across the grades that are available for download now (one for free!).
If you fancy using Stuart as your guide you could consider going and staying at Casa La Rocca and sample the organic wines that he and his partner create from their vineyards or perhaps, if you’re lucky, the cider that they are going to start from their orchards this year!