For a trip out of town with your family or with your group of friends, we recommend this itinerary that brings together different souls from Abruzzo: the geological-naturalistic aspect and the artistic-religious one. It is a feasible itinerary during a single day even during the winter season.
Start with a visit to the incredible Stiffe Caves that belong to the municipality of San Demetrio dei Vestini, in the province of L’Aquila. The Stiffe Caves are, technically speaking, a “resurgence”, ie the point where a river comes to light after an underground stretch; in the case of Stiffe this point is located at the top of the ravine that overlooks the small town of the same name. For more information read here.
The visit continues in the village of Castelli, famous for its ceramics. The mountain village of Castelli is considered the capital of Abruzzo’s art pottery. It is a small medieval village and belongs to the most beautiful villages in Italy.
Castelli is one of the main access points to the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park. Castelli is renowned worldwide for its ceramics, an artistic tradition that has its roots in the Renaissance period and perhaps even earlier. During the visit of this village we recommend you to visit the sixteenth-century church of San Donato, defined by Carlo Levi as “the Sistine Chapel of majolica”, and of course the Ceramics Museum and the Art Institute “F. A. Grue”. Here you can stop in one of the different taverns and farmhouses for lunch. For more information read here
After lunch and after a good coffee, head towards Caporciano and, from here, reach the hamlet of Bominaco. Here in the context of a very well-kept mountain hamlet, you can visit the Oratory of San Pellegrino, also called the “Sistine Chapel of Abruzzo”. It is an incredible place with the internal walls of the church which are entirely covered by a cycle of frescoes: a cycle on the childhood of Christ, one on the Passion, scenes from the Last Judgment, stories of San Pellegrino and other saints and a series on the calendar. This church, together with those of the nearby church of Santa Maria ad Cryptas in Fossa, represent an important testimony of medieval Abruzzo painting. The Oratory of San Pellegrino was declared a national monument in 1902.
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