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Castel del Monte. What to do, visit, eat in the “eagle’s nest” village of Abruzzo?

Castel del Monte, in the province of L’Aquila, in Abruzzo is a beautiful village located south of the Campo Imperatore plain, within the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park.

Its name makes us understand the main reason for visiting it. “Caste in the moutains”, or a pretty town with a fortified historic center set like a diamond in the mountains.

Castel del Monte retains its medieval soul, in addition to its urban organization with walls, houses and watchtowers, narrow alleys and squares. Even the landscape that surrounds it is truly breathtaking and majestic.

What to visit in Castel del Monte?

A walk in the center of the village will give you the impression of a journey back in time, in the tranquility and relaxation that the small mountain towns of Abruzzo can give. In Castel del Monte we recommend you visit:

  • historic center with some very suggestive views made up of small covered underpasses, loggias and tower houses, remains of walls and access gates;
  • fortified village called “Ricetto” in the oldest part of the country;
  • church of the Madonna del Suffragio;
  • church of the Madonna delle Grazie outside the historic center;
  • church of San Donato Fuori le Mura which dominates the highest part;
  • church of San Rocco;
  • church of Santa Caterina;
  • church of S. Marco;
  • Governor’s Palace;
  • residence of the Colelli family;
  • Peasant Art museums (pastoralism, wool art, old house, work in the fields, dance oven).

What to eat in Castel del Monte?

A walk, perhaps between ups and downs in the country, will certainly have stimulated your appetite. Here in Castel del Monte you can enjoy genuine food linked to the ancient tradition of transhumance.

The best known product is certainly the “Canestrato” cheese, but also the “Marcetto”, that is a spicy and fermented cream cheese, or the “Chiaranese”, sheep meat cooked slowly with water and flavorings. If you love pasta, there are several dishes prepared with fresh homemade pasta such as taccuzzelle, strongolapreti and surgi sfunnate.

You know, you can’t give up the dessert. And here is that Castel del Monte offers its delicacies such as ferratelle or naule, or mostaccioli (also typical of Scanno), nocciatterrati and cicerchioli. For coffee, it will be nice to stop in the small bars in the center of the village and have a chat with the villagers. Enjoy your visit to Castel del Monte!

Roberto De Ficis

Cover photo, Rua del Muto, by Franco Di Carlo. Subscribe to Viaggiando Abruzzo (official group) to see more photos and to send yours.

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