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The Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park is located in Abruzzo and is one of the largest protected nature reserves in Italy. The territory is mainly mountainous, with peaks reaching 3000 meters above sea level, from which it is possible to have a panoramic view of the sea from over 40 kilometers away.
Beautiful are also the expanses of meadows where you can easily find sheep, cows and horses. Among these mountains there is no lack of history, with its characteristic medieval villages.
The national park is characterized by the presence of three mountain groups: the Monti Gemelli, the Monti della Laga and the Gran Sasso d'Italia chain, of which the latter is the most representative.
Numerous paths depart from Campo Imperatore to discover the peaks of the Gran Sasso chain. It is located on the side of the province of L'Aquila, a few tens of kilometers from the city.
A place renowned for its beauty, its beautiful hiking trails and the large meadows in the valley, it offers a variety of routes, from the simplest to the most complicated. Among the most complicated is the climb to Corno Grande, the highest mountain of the Grande Sasso, with its 2912 meters above sea level. An intermediate stage towards the Corno Grande is Sassone, a huge stone on the slopes of the mountain.
For those who do not have the suitable equipment for climbing the Corno Grande, the summit of Monte Aquila can be reached easily and offers unique emotions. From here you can see a beautiful view of the distant sea and the valley below, as well as the Corno Grande and the surrounding peaks. Although simple, the crossing of the short and narrow ridge is not, however, recommended for people suffering from vertigo.
Beautiful is also the road that leads to Campo Imperatore, with its wide valleys surmounted by mountains, on which it is likely to see cows, sheep and horses grazing. These valleys were also the setting for two famous films by Bud Spencer and Terence Hill.
Made entirely of white limestone, Santo Stefano di Sessanio houses a small fortified historic center of incredible beauty. It will be suggestive to cross its alleys and its tunnels.
From Santo Stefano you can take the most beautiful route to reach Rocca Calascio, an ancient village symbolized by a beautiful castle on top of a mountain peak. To avoid the first couple of kilometers on the paved road, there is a small parking lot at the beginning of the path. At a certain point, the path will fork: to the left to reach the town of Calascio, to the right to reach the castle of Rocca Calascio.
Near the castle there is the church of Santa Maria della Pietà, an ancient religious building with a hexagonal shape. The place is popular only as an excursion destination.
At the foot of the castle, in the direction of Calascio, you will find the ancient village of Rocca Calascio, whose houses have become small shops and tourist restaurants. As a conclusion of the itinerary, you can descend along the path, to discover the medieval village of Calascio, about twenty minutes away on foot.
Pietracamela is a small town on the side of the province of Teramo, which offers numerous panoramic points of the surrounding valley. From this small village there are also several hiking trails that lead to Prati di Tivo or to the underlying town of Intermesoli.
Prati di Tivo is the highest inhabited point on the Teramo side and is very popular both in winter and in summer. In fact, ski slopes and numerous hiking itineraries on the Grande Sasso start from here, towards the Rio Arno waterfall and the Madonnina del Gran Sasso, until rejoining the paths of Campo Imperatore.
Lake Campotosto is a large lake west of the Grande Sasso, near the border with Lazio. The lake also offers a beautiful view of the distant Gran Sasso chain and the Monti della Laga and is ideal for camping in contact with nature.
A few kilometers to the north, however, there is the Valley of the Hundred Waterfalls, which takes its name from the large number of small waterfalls in the area. It is located in the Monti della Laga group, among centuries-old beech forests and wild flowers. The Valley owes its fame to the various springs which, fed by the Fosso dell'Acero stream, on the slopes of Monte Gorzano, form numerous splendid waterfalls. It will be pleasant to venture among its paths in search of waterfalls.
The Tirino Valley is not far from the Gran Sasso chain, south of Calascio. It is a place immersed in the green of nature and rises around the course of the Tirino river, one of the most beautiful and cleanest waterways in Italy. The valley also has centers of historical and archaeological interest, such as the Piccolomini castle of Capestrano, the archaeological area of Capestrano and the Castle of the Dukes of Cantelmo di Bussi.