On the way up to the ski resort of Prati di Tivo is another of those wonderful hill-side medieval towns Abruzzo does so well – Pietracamela. This town is well-known as a starting point for hikers ascending the Pizzo d’Intermesoli, Corno Piccolo & Corno Grande, and a popular stopping-off point before after skiing in the winter.
A lovely medieval maze of C14th grey & brownstone alleyways and buildings, all winding up to the top of the town. Many of the homes would appear to be used purely as vacation (probably skiing) homes, with some excellent examples of sympathetic restoration. There is the usual fairly standard bar & cafes, off-peak relatively tranquil, peak-period crowded out with skiers or hikers/daytrippers, often making parking a problem during the skiing season itself.
The walks to the nearby mountains fan out from the north of the town and are clearly signposted with indications of average time & distance (though not directly level of difficulty!). One can for example walk up to Prati di Tivo itself (3-4 hour walk), or to the other, more ambitious peaks mentioned above – not something we have tried yet, but one day! Picnic ingredients such as salami, cheese and bread can be bought conveniently from the local Gran Sasso Park shops so you can picnic whilst supporting the park simultaneously.
Almost immediately above Pietracamela are some rather bizarre and surprising rock paintings, atavistic in style but probably undertaken by local vandals…not quite Bansky perhaps, but attractive and strangely tranquil…