Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Real Italy

Which way to Pescina?
Before departing on a road trip through Central Italy, I got hold of a guide book to the Abruzzo region by an author named Rock DiLisio: 'Abruzzo Travel Guide - The True Italia.' Rock and his family hail from the Abruzzo, and after conceding that there is a lot on offer in Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Naples, Tuscany and Lombardia, he asks: "But where can I go to see the true Italy?" and concludes: "The typical answer to the question would be the Province of Abruzzo."

Actually, it's not uncommon for most Italians from small towns to assert that their town shows you the true Italy - la vera Italia. I was sure that we would indeed encounter la vera Italia on a road trip through the mountains of Abruzzo, past Italy's tallest peak, the Corno Grande (2912 m).

Like any road trip on secondary roads, we had our share of great scenery, changes in weather, small towns and the occasional interesting traffic. Stopping in the small towns, meeting the locals, surveying the many crops - corn, tobacco, olives, walnuts, sunflowers, vegetables of all kinds, hazelnuts, almonds - si, abbiamo scoperto la vera Italia. (Yes, we found the real Italy).

Here's a photo journal of the road trip through Abruzzo, as seen through the windscreen from the passenger seat. Buon viaggio.

Headed North on the A1, Napoli to Roma.
It was some help, but generally we relied on the Italian Way - asking directions.
Our first hill town.
In the province of Molise, looking for Abruzzo -- which way?
Ah, mountains!
"Scanno 44" - our destination appears at last!
We're in Abruzzo!
Beautiful Lake Barea.
The medieval village of Barea.
Into a pine forest.
Watching out for deer - and chamoix!
The Valle dei Scannese.
Traffic hazards.
Beautiful Scanno - 1050 m ASL.
Lago di Scanno. Like Lake Louise, only Italian.
The lovely hidden Valle di Sagitario
Another hill town appears.
Tunnel through the rocks.
Coffee stop in the heart of the Real Italy.
Anversa di Abruzzi.
No, not a Roman aqueduct, a rail bridge.
Local harvest. Near Sulmona.
Fields and mountains.
Dusk in Abruzzo.
Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo.
Passo Godi, 1540m ASL. 
Giro d'Italia!
It wouldn't be Italy with a traffic snarl. Pecasseroli.
Close to our highest point, near Pecasseroli.
A patriotic town on the plain.
This is definitely a Roman road - in the Piana del Fucino.
Colour in Celano.
Towards L'Aquila, the capital of Abruzzo.
Clouds coming in.
Sheep and hay. Le pecore e il fieno.
Into each road trip a little rain must fall.
Pine forests as we climb higher.
Another traffic hazard.
A local resident.
Mountain scenery above the farmland.
Near the highest area of Abruzzo. Mist in the valleys.
Impressive road tunnels.
Rainy view.
Yes, that's what the sign says.
Back to farmland.
And a misty rainbow to end our drive.

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