Rome Travel Guide

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Trekking Italian style

On Saturday (after a good rest at B&B dei Mori) we had a spectacular 4.5 hour hike with 360 degree views as far as one could see - into the Abruzzi, the Gran Sasso, Southern Tuscany, mountains all around and the Roman plain stretching to the sea (photo in prior post).

The hike, one we had avoided in the past because it's a bit tough for us to get to the trailhead and back via scooter in one day, is a loop ("anello" or ring, to Italians). It is classic for central Italy - almost no other hikers, farm animals even to the top of the mountain (horses, cows - the latter love to park themselves on the trails--the only flat spots around; the former tend to run away), cool, interesting oak woods and treeless ridges.

Unlike the previous day's excursion, the trail was well marked and we never got lost--tho' some forks were tricky. see the typical signage in photos - cow on trail in the background. The photo below is of a "uomini" or "men" - what we call "cairns" - marking the trail. Photo below right shows typical signage - vandals routineless tear down all maps, leaving blank boards).

There was a touching monument to a plane that went down on Christmas Day 1960 + we saw part of the plane many feet down the mountain (photos below).

This mountain, Pellecchia and its sister peak, Pizzo di Pellechia are known as home to eagles. We saw hundreds of birds enjoying the updrafts, but none were eagles.

We hike using a couple decent Italian guidebooks and maps, cursing them regularly as we walk for their inadequacies (they don't match the Adirondack guidebooks for detail). Pellechia is about 4,500' above sea level (qualifying as a 46R in the Adirondacks), the highest in the Lucreteli range (the closest major range to Rome), and the hike has about 2,000' net elevation. If anyone wants the description of this hike translated, drop us an email.

If it weren't for the predicted rain (which, it turns out, really didn't materialize), we would have spent another day in the Sabina mountains, an area we enjoy, with its hill towns, rolling hills planted with olive trees (Sabine olive oil is prized), and great Lucretili mountains. As it was, we had our ritual post-hike beer in Moricone on Saturday afternoon (photo right) and headed back to Rome on the busy via Salaria (over the route of a Roman counsel road - 2,000 years old - the "salt" road)--the trip that took us almost 2 hours going out with all the Romans took only 40 minutes coming back to a (nearly) empty Rome.

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