Hiking On The Majella In Abruzzo, Among The Stone Walls Of The Ancient Shepherds
Between the western part of the Majella massif and the Morrone mountain group is Passo San Leonardo, an Apennine pass placed at an altitude of 1,300 meters that connects the town of Pacentro (AQ) in the Valle Peligna – a medieval village among the most beautiful in Italy, with the municipality of Sant’Eufemia a Majella (AQ) in the spectacular Valle dell’Orta.
In winter the town, located inside the Majella National Park, houses a small ski resort with easy ski trails, among birch and eucalyptus woods, and with the possibility of practicing cross-country skiing and ski mountaineering. But in spring and summer it transforms into a strategic starting point for various ascents, both on the Majella side travelhoundsusa, with Mount Amaro, which represents its highest peak (2,795 meters), and that of the Morrone, a mountain considered sacred as a favorite place of Pietro da Morrone who was Pope with the name of Celestino V.
It ‘s a Sunday at the beginning of June when, left the car in the parking lot of the shelter located in Passo San Leonardo, I walk solo with the backpack and the inseparable camera to the access point of the path, with the Signpost Q1, which leads directly to the Lama Bianca nature reserve, a protected natural area of ??Abruzzo.
The reserve takes its name from the characteristic shapes of white blades that take the limestone rocks of the northwestern Majella. It is an area of ??great environmental interest because it hosts more than a hundred species of birds, in addition to the Apennine wolf, deer, roe deer and Marsican brown bear.
But it is also a place of importance at the hiking level that offers a network of marked and equipped trails, accessible also to the disabled and to the elderly thanks to the gentle slopes, the presence of funds suitable for the carriage of prams and information tables written in braille language.
The access point is located right in front of the parking lot. In truth, the path is not born right here but begins on the S.S. 487, just outside the town of Pacentro, on a mule track still traversed by shepherds and herds to reach the Majella pastures. Traces of the agro-pastoral influence of the area are also found in the buildings and in the dry stone walls of which the area is rich. And it is precisely these buildings that have partly aroused my curiosity.
These are artifacts that over the centuries have profoundly changed the appearance and composition of the landscape and are still a heritage of rural buildings. A heritage represented by uninterrupted sequences of paths and former cultivations, contained and bordered by dry stone walls, heaps of stones and huts, shelter for animals and tools, witnesses of the millennial work of stone removal of land made by man to make room for new surfaces to be used for cultivated fields and pastures.