The majestic grandeur of Italy's Little Tibet which just happens to be very conveniently located within an hour away from home, here in Abruzzo, has cast its magic spell over me yet again. I love being immersed in its wild spectacular beauty. We set off on Wednesday, eager to explore what surrounds us, looking for unspoilt beauty, peace and atmosphere. K and I travelled for miles on end, with nobody in sight. Just us and awe-inspiring nature. We headed towards Campo Imperatore. This stupendous landscape is within the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park, which is one of the largest protected areas in the whole of Europe.
We passed huge caves carved within the mountains, probably providing shelter for the shepherds that pass over the tracks. Five million sheep used to traverse the plains many years ago.
The Park is home to a huge variety of flora. Click on the link to see the fabulous display of photos from the Park's Photo Gallery.
Below are some of the photos that K took. Thousands of beautiful wild poppies swaying in the gentle breeze.
Many different types of wild flowers have their home in the park.
Photo opportunities abound. The National Park of Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga is a photographer's paradise!
We walked and walked to our heart's content. Campo Imperatore has been the backdrop to a number of films shot in Abruzzo. The excellent AboutAbruzzo Blog has a very informative post on this subject and you can read about it here. There is a very nice follow-up posting here.
A Hidden Gem
We came to the signpost which said Santo Stefano di Sessanio - 5 kilometres. The medieval village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio is a hidden jewel within the National Park. I loved it the first time I saw it, tucked away in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately, the earthquake on 6th April destroyed some of the beautiful and historical structures in the village. Renovation work is being carried out, and slowly but surely, the village is coming back to life again. Below, you can see the old tower, which is being painstakingly re-constructed.
Walking through the old cobbled alleyways was like taking a walk back in time.
Breaking Bread in Aquila
Last Sunday was the official launch of the new cookbook "Breaking Bread in L'Aquila"by New York-based Maria Filici. You can view a video of Maria talking about her new book via her fabulous Food and Fate Blog. The function was held at the Sextantio Albergo Diffuso in Santo Stefano. Here is a great review of the book from Life in Abruzzo Blog. The author has generously donated the net profits of her book to the Aquila Earthquake.
Links to Santo Stefano di Sessanio
Find out about Santo Stefano in wikipedia.
Read about Santo Stefano in Italy Magazine.
Santo Stefano also features in this article taken from the New York Times.
Here is a link to the recipe for the famous "lenticchie" (lentils) of Santo Stefano, found via Inside Abruzzo Blog.
Janet's Top Ten Adjectives
I wrote a review post on Abruzzo in May last year. Can you guess the 10 adjectives I used to describe Abruzzo? You can find out and read my post here.
How many did you guess?