The tour starts and ends at Rome Fiumicino airport from where there are good international connections. The airport is an easy train journey from central Rome for those people choosing to spend a few days exploring the Eternal City before or after the tour. For a wonderful insight to Rome, we recommend Rachel Potts as a local guide.
Meet Rome Fiumicino airport in Arrivals at 11.15am. We drive 1hr to Tivoli where, after a light lunch, we meet our local guide for a private tour of Villa d’Este. After the visit we continue 1h30mins to Santo Stefano in Sessanio, set at 1250m above sea level. The hotel we stay in here, Sextantio Albergo Diffuso, is an extraordinary mix of the old and new - a ruined medieval village faithfully restored using traditional techniques into some 30 rooms for adventurous 21st century travellers. Time to settle in before a welcome drink and dinner in the hotel restaurant this evening. See our Blog entitled A Unique Place to Stay.
A lovely walk across the high plains, encircled by the peaks of of the Gran Sasso National Park, undulating between 1580m and 1780m. There is the opportunity to see wild horses grazing and enjoy an abundance of alpine flowers. Dinner in a village restaurant this evening. (16.2km/10.2miles)
We walk out of the village of Santo Stefano and follow small tracks which lead us up to the imposing ruins of Rocca Calascio. Explore the remains of the fort before walking down into the village for lunch. In the afternoon we return to Santo Stefano by foot (or minibus). Later in the day we join a local chef for a cookery class of Abruzzesi specialities and dine on the fruits of our labour. (10.5km/6.6miles)
We depart Santo Stefano after breakfast and drive towards the pretty town of Sulmona, famous across Italy for its sugared almonds, for the start of our walk. Hike along farm tracks to a small church where we have our picnic lunch before climbing to a trail following the hillside, with wonderful views of the fertile glacial basin, which leads us to the beautifully preserved village of Pescocostanzo, at an altitude of 1400m, where we stay for two nights at the hotel Archi San Rocco. (12.5km/7.9miles)
A spectacular walk takes us off the beaten track through woods and open meadows to a remote ridgeline. Enjoy a sense of splendid isolation and emerge with lovely views to the village of Pietransieri where we have our picnic. In the afternoon there is the opportunity to continue the hike back to Pescocostanzo. Dinner in a wonderful local restaurant this evening. (11.2km/7miles am) + (9.2km/5.8miles pm)
We depart Pescocostanzo after breakfast and a short drive takes us to the lakeside village of Barrea where we have a coffee before setting off on our walk to the delightful village of Opi. Stroll around the village before lunch in a small trattoria. In the afternoon we climb up into high pastures populated with wild horses which brings us to the town of Pescasséroli at 1160m. We stay in the beautiful hotel Villino Quintilliani on the edge of town for the next three nights. Dinner in a local restaurant this evening. (13km/8miles)
Today we meet the shepherd and cheese maker, Giuseppe, who introduces us to his livestock and shows us how he makes his cheeses. There is the chance to taste the range of cheeses over lunch. Free afternoon to relax or take a short walk up to Mancino Castle which affords wonderful views over Pescasséroli. Dinner in a delightful family-owned restaurant this evening. (6.5km/4.1miles)
A magnificent final walk climbs 750m through beech woods to a spectacular ridge at 1800m. We follow this panoramic ridgeline along the regional border of Abruzzo and Molise before descending to mountain pastures and a small refuge where we have our picnic. In the afternoon we descend on shepherd’s tracks between ancient drystone walls which lead back to Pescasséroli. Final dinner in our hotel. (11.4km/7.2miles am) + (5.8km/3.6miles pm)
We return to Rome Fiumicino airport for 12 pm.