GRAN SASSO, APENNINES
Chosen by Eugenia Di Pasquale
Why do you love this place?
“As a child, the Gran Sasso mountain was a kind of fairytale told to me by my grandparents and by my uncle. Almost every Sunday they went there. When they returned, I heard them talking and commenting on the landscape they had seen, the colour of the mountains, the light of dawn that made it a paradise. They told me they had seen many wild animals, breathtaking views, but to see them myself I had to wait for them to develop the camera film they always carried in the backpack. For me it represents the combination of many emotions, the memory of many stories that still make my heart beat. It’s a thread that keeps me tied to my affections and a place where I feel free to laugh, cry, take a deep breath to clear my thoughts and worries, and find peace.”
What’s your favourite way to explore it?
“I love walking along Campo Imperatore (1,800 m), especially during the spring, when everything becomes green, the meadows reach the maximum of their vigour, everything blooms. It can be reached from the A24 Roma-L'Aquila-Teramo motorway (exit 14), Assergi exit. Then continue to Fonte Cerreto and follow the signs (SS17 bis). The walking ascent is around three or four hours, and two or three for descent. Keep in mind though, that for the last stretch you have to climb on easy rocks - I do not recommend it to those afraid of heights.
What about for first-timers?
“Beginners should look for the west summit of the Corno Grande, or to jump on the cable car from Fonte Cerreto.”
What to pack for your adventure?
“My usual travel companions include my camera to capture the beauty of the place that my words cannot express; my bread and eggs for energy; and my grandfather’s wooden walking stick, which helps me feel close to him when I’m at the summit.”
Best photo opportunity?
“There are many glimpses that will attract your attention, especially in the very first and last hours of light. When the rays of sun illuminate the highest peak of the Apennines with warm and golden colours, you’re getting an unforgettable scene.”
Favourite place for a bite to eat after the descent?
“Located on the plateau of Campo Imperatore (Fonte Vetica), I highly recommend the Ristoro Giuliani. It’s an isolated hut in the valley, where you can taste typical products of Abruzzo, from cheeses to meats roasted outdoors, all accompanied by a good glass of wine. In short, it’s a mandatory stop.”