10 Tours in the Park, from Spring to Christmas 2006
A few people know that among the European Protected Areas, Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park is the one preserving the greatest number of spontaneous plants with the 30% of Italian vegetal biodiversity and 20% of the European vegetal biodiversity.
This is the reason why the Park would like to involve the greatest number of persons in the knowledge of this extraordinary richness. We therefore suggest this original initiative consisting of 10 extraordinary adventures, from spring to Christmas, to discover its most fascinating and wild woodlands, with centuries-old beech and chestnut tree woods, uncontaminated forests, grasslands and clearings with flowers of rare beauty, and often unique. Like tesserae of a multicolored mosaic, the result of the millenary action of man on the territory, woodlands alternate with grazing lands, with the charming spring blooming, and with the rural landscapes witnessing ancient gestures.
Month after month, you will be invited to take part in extraordinary appointments, to discover and admire, season after season, the most secret and concealed places of the Park, along trails close to a wild nature preserving the traces of an ancient and respectful presence of man.
This wonderful journey will end in an enchanted atmosphere, where the magic of the wood will combine with the magic of Christmas, with the historical and charming representation of the Living Christmas Crib in Cerqueto.
Subscriptions: Tel. 0862/6052205-6052249 - E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Participation fee: Euros 5,00 per person - Euros 2,00 from 10 to 15 years of age - Free of charge up to 10 years of age
- Sunday 18th June 2006 - Monti della Laga
The Waterfall of Bosco Martese
Long but easy walk from Ceppo to Morricana waterfall, among beech trees and silver firs, poisonous but rare and precious yews, and bilberries rich in pharmaceutical properties, across streams murmuring in the silence of the wood, up to the deafening crash of the "Morricana" waterfall.
The tour will leave from location "Ceppo", on the Teramo slope of Monti della Laga, at about 1,300 m of altitude; the slight slope will lead us to the 1,500 m of the wonderful waterfall; we will cross then one of the most charming woodlands of the Park, with the dark foliage of the yews and firs alternating with the light green of the beech trees, dominating the forest.
It is the environment of wolves, deer and roe deer; sometimes also the bear has visited Bosco Martese, among the thickest and most distant forests, in the lateral valleys rich in streams we will have to cross on rustic bridges.
The water and wind in the trees will be imitated by musicians in their most varied and pleasant sounds. Nature and art... nature and music, the most "successful" marriage.
- Sunday 9th July 2006 - Gran Sasso d'Italia
National Celebration for the Wild Flowers
From Santo Stefano di Sessanio we will get to Campo Imperatore, without abandoning the strip of fields cultivated with legumes and cereals, that will offer us an extraordinary landscape, enriched by the multicolored wild flowers. The red color of poppies, the blue of cornflowers, the yellow of pastels and Golden chamomile will combine in a kaleidoscope of shapes and colors that will be revealed by the botanists of Centro Ricerche Floristiche dell'Appennino. Evidence of the ancient and eternal link between man and vegetal world, these plants have reached our land simultaneously with the import of cereals from the Near East. Today they resist in the Park thanks to the non-use of herbicides in cultivations, since they are rarer where intensive agriculture has replaced traditional agriculture.
- At the end of the tour, short demonstration of natural dyeing: how to dye fabrics with the use of spontaneous plants (by the Association of Natural Dyeing "Maria Elda Salice", Milan)
- Sunday 6th August 2006 - Gran Sasso d'Italia
The Clearing of the Buttercups
Suddenly, from the thick of the forest we will reach the grassland, under the sunlight blinding and warming us up: we are on Voltigno plateau, at 1,300 meters of altitude.
Voltigno is a very large grassland covering small and gentle hills with thousands of species of scented herbs. It is surrounded by one of the most beautiful woodlands of the Park, dominated by grey beech trees and imposing maples, with one hundred shrubs entangled in the undergrowth, offering us berries and fleshy fruits.
Among the hills, there are many canals leading the water deriving from the rainfall and the melting of the snow to Lago Sfondo, the lake situated in the lowest part of the plateau, and to "Cespo che Balla", a curious and huge sod which, stepping on it, cannot keep still.
Here and there, in the rich grazing lands, there are other spontaneous and scented herbs like thyme, cinquefoil, and common yarrow, small gentians and big mullein, soft dandelions and daisies, together with strong plantains: one thousand flowers with one thousand colors.
A place of shepherds and sheep breeding where we will have the opportunity to follow the phases of cheese production, with a tasting of Pecorino cheese.
- Sunday 20th August 2006 - Gran Sasso d'Italia
The Tale of the Wood
Chiarino woodland, the valley, and the grazing lands have given life and support to the local population for centuries: they have provided fodder to the alpine summer grazing land and timber for the winter fire and craftsmanship.
However, the past history has not been that "simple": the dispute for Chiarino woodland between the local population and "i Cappelli", the lords demanding its property, until the final "repurchase" of the wood by the people of Arischia will be illustrated during the walk, as well as the fascinating techniques to build, without nails, the so-called "arche", coffers where the properties of the family were kept in a recent past.
- August 2006 (date to be decided) - Monti Gemelli
The Wood under the Stars
In a place surrounded by the darkness of a night of August scattered by stars, we will find ourselves in the charming scenario characterized by Gole del Salinello, where we will be involved in an evocative theater performance. It is a wonderful canyon dug by the waters in the ancient limestone, between Montagna di Campli and Montagna dei Fiori, representing a unique naturalistic and historical feature of the Park. The area is crossed by a trail developing along the riverbed, lapping the caves which housed in the past various cultures, since Paleolithic times. Among the others, Grotta S.Angelo, where there is an innovative museum which, by highlighting prehistorical evidences, has also considered the naturalistic value of the place. The Gole represent a unique meeting between the Mediterranean climate and the mountain climate leading to the presence of species finding here their ideal habitat at unusual altitudes. We will discover then the Mediterranean vegetation growing along the riverbeds and the mountain vegetation which, always thanks to a localized climate, grows at lower altitudes than the usual ones.
- Sunday 24th September 2006 - Monte Bilanciere
The Silver Fir Wood
From the town of Cortino to Fonte Spugna, towards the summit of Mt. Bilanciere. We will move in this particular area of the Park opening over Gran Sasso d'Italia and Monti della Laga, an extraordinary observation point. From Fonte Spugna, a trail begins to climb and, in less than one hour, leads to the summit of the mountain. The position between Mediterranean and mountain environment makes these places particular for the biodiversity characterizing them. It is the realm of the silver fir, the protagonist of the tour, with its straight trunks waiving their tops and the dark foliage, standing out against the lighter beech tree wood. Next to the wood there is a wildlife area dedicated to the deer.
The atmosphere of these places is enchanted, and will be enriched by a theater performance in the wood, which will animate an enchanted mountain, among rocks, plants, and grasslands.
- Sunday 15th October 2006 - Monti della Laga
National Celebration for the Chestnuts and the Charcoal Piles
The Chestnut tree Wood
Across centuries-old tree woods, still producing "the bread of the poor", we will go along the same ways used by the coalmen until a few decades ago, and which are still used by some of them and their sons, maintaining alive an ancient profession. The process lasts several days and is continuously under surveillance: the stages are represented by the building, covering, lighting, smoking, and "scarbonatura".
The lunch will be cheered up by the roasted chestnuts, prepared for the occasion with the best chestnuts of Laga.
- Sunday 12th November 2006 - Gran Sasso d'Italia
National Celebration for the "Conca degli Ulivi"
A symbol in the Bible and in the Koran. And a symbol of victory, health, prosperity... From Noah until present times, the olive tree is with us through religion, art, literature, poetry. From the olive tree comes the gold of the Mediterranean, and from the latter the secret of good health and longevity for those using it.
In the charm basin of Capestrano and Ofena, hometown of the Warrior of Capestrano, where the river Tirino springs - one of the cleanest watercourses in Europe - we will watch at one of the most ancient rituals of the Mediterranean civilization: olive gathering and pressing.
It will be an occasion to visit the olive press and taste the oil of the Park on the local bread together with an expert taster explaining us the features of the good olive oil.
- Tuesday 26th December 2006 - Gran Sasso d'Italia
Christmas in the Wood in Cerqueto (TE) (taking part in the Living Christmas Crib)
A particular day to spend in a charming mountain town, at the end of the journey among the forests and tales of the Park. The magic of Christmas and the magic of the wood melt, while Gran Sasso d'Italia dominates the scenario in an imposing and spectacular way, surrounded by meadows and vegetation. There are indeed several reasons to visit this small town. The inhabitants of Cerqueto have always lived in the mountains, like woodcutters, shepherds, and wool carders, among the disappeared professions. At Christmas, the narrow alleys are lit with torches, with characters re-enacting the Nativity, going back in time. In Cerqueto it is also possible to visit the Ethnographic Museum of Popular Traditions, opened in 1964 thanks to an initiative of Don Nicola Jobbi, to gather objects and tools witnessing the traditional professions.