It’s not often you hear feedback that a newly launched book, in this case ‘Walking in Abruzzo’, is already “well thumbed” but those were the type of comments that were being received within a week of its launch.
We too were trembling in our walking boots with anticipation of seeing the final copy after being sent some sample walks earlier in the year. But it’s exceeded our expectations and pricked our vanity, as lifeinabruzzo.com is even mentioned as a resource in the back!
Pocket-sized, I loved the handy 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.
Out of the 30 hikes detailed 29 are circular, the importance of which can’t be over-emphasised in Abruzzo – with many of these great walks being ‘remote’ and in somewhat rugged areas the notion of trying to pick up public transport that probably runs at most 3 times a day, to take people to work at 7, back for lunch at 2 and then for dinner at 7.30! It sounds silly and such a simple rule but it’s not something we have found even in an Italian guidebook we have tried to follow, set off and yes hang around in a small Abruzzo hamlet after your walk for another 6 hours is not something that we recommend.
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.
The author Stuart Haines commentary is relaxed and descriptive, his complementary photographs help bring alive the walks encouraging you to go go go. If you fancy using him 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!