Heading To Civitella Del Tronto In The Mountains of Abruzzo
With map in hand we plotted a day trip north from Pescara and visited Civitella Del Tronto high in the mountains of Abruzzo. This let us pick up sites missed when we took the train trip from Rimini to Pescara.
We were far too ambitious in our planning when we took our day trip south. So we tried to set a realistic route this time and limited our way points. Of course we failed again! We turned back while the wow factor still had us entranced. And before the rain made mountain driving dangerous.
The Towns North of Pescara
Starting on the beach road, we poked into beaches and small towns along the way. We wondered how wild this trip might be in the height of summer. A short stop in Porto D’Ascoli provided a brief view of the small towns north of Pescara.
We stopped for a cafe and finally found an auto supply store and purchased a reflective vest. Apparently there was a large fine for getting out of your car without a vest on. And the 5€ to buy one was far cheaper than getting one from the car rental company at 3€ per day.
This detour to avoid costs backfired when we found a parking ticket on the car. The parking sign was misleading and even parked for less than 30 minutes we were faced with a 41€ ticket. We eventually figured out how to pay this and avoided a userous processing fee from the car rental agency. While our base car rental rate was reasonable, the list of additional possible fees was long and high priced.
Heading Into The Hills Of Abruzzo
Continuing on SS16, we went in search of SS4 into the hills before we hit the town of San Benedetto Del Tronto. We were now seriously in search of a lunch stop and wanted to make a little more distance before we stopped. SS4 was another regional road that went through a series of small towns. The map showed a castle on this route. But we never found it. The only pleasant surprise for David was to find a field of sheep!
Entering Ascoli Piceno we went in search of an open restaurant and a legal parking spot. The Taverna di Cecco located in an ancient building still had people sitting under umbrellas. So we headed there without a glance at a menu. But no menu was needed! Appetizers appeared before us as we sat down. We were happy with the fresh carved proscuitto, bruschetta and the famous stuffed fried olives. It appeared that our choices would be limited to either carne (meat) or a primi with a secondi (pasta?).
Passing on wine since we were driving, we chose red meat to restore our protein supplies. But we almost gagged when we each got what looked like half a cow. A great meat feast! But when dessert was offered we could not even bear to think about tucking into the huge slice of Tiramisu we saw delivered to the other patrons.
We stopped for a quick view of the river far below and the statue by our car. And then we were on our way to Civitella Del Tronto.
Arriving At Civitella Del Tronto
Finding our way to SS81, we headed further into the hills. We took the small road up the mountain to Civitella del Tronto in the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park.
It was a rough switchback road on the way to Civitella Del Tronto and it showed signs of recent washouts. We never wanted to drive this road in the kind of rain. The switchback roads meant we left early when rain clouds showed up on the horizon. Although we found the alternate road down towards Teramo was a much better maintained road. We figured most visitors must come from that way.
We kept climbing until we hit the town centre. The old fort walls drew us through and into the lower piazza. The church on this lower level was closed. But then most of the town still was not open after siesta hour.
We stopped and took a few pictures of the hills. The farming being done on the steep terrain was quite fascinating to see.
Climbing To The Top Of Civitella Del Tronto
Off we went along the cobblestone walkways, up and up around yet one more switchback lane. We were never sure what we would find around the next corner.
Along the way we found two churches. Both were quite beautiful inside. We wondered how many people stopped on their way up to the fort at the summit.
The way up became steeper and narrower. But Billy Goat Linda ploughed on. We got high enough and spotted the fort tower walls close above us. But we also noted that rain clouds approached. This tipped the scales and sent us back down before we reached the summit and the actual fort.
We felt really silly after we retraced our steps to the entrance and found a series of 4 escalators. This was a much easier way to the top and a faster way down. But not with the same leg building walk! Sadly, we apparently we missed an interesting old fort right at the top. Even if this was not really evident from the crumbling wall we found. Next time we won’t forget the escalators!
A Great Day Heading North From Pescara
Bypassing Teramo on the way back, we tracked to the autoroute and back towards Pescara. We enjoyed our slow trip north. It was great to visit Civitella Del Tronto high in the Gran Sasso mountains. Next time we will plan enough time to reach the fort at the top. And plan to use the escalator at least one way!
When you visited Civitella Del Tronto did you take the escalator up? Did you miss the great walk through the town? Did we really miss a big deal by missing the fort?
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