Roccamorice’s Bella Vista Clad Snow Walk

Stepping out on the way to Eremo di Santo Spirito

Our pursuit of interesting new places in Abruzzo most recently took us to the snow-bound town of Roccamorice, where we had elected to stop for a Sunday lunch. The area came highly recommended by Canadian food author Kate Hill , whose grandparents came from the panoramic Roccamorice & Lettomanoppello respectively. Her tweets recounting her memories of her Nonna bought alive from the smell of sugo cooking in Roccamorice had me intrigued about this small medieval town and now that I have tasted some of the local food products at the excellent Agriturismo Tholos my curiosity only is further piqued rather than sated! We certainly intend to go back soon, ideally on a market day to discover a little more about the wonderful fruitiness that even the sausages there seem to have zipped up within.

Enough of food and onto gentle rambling.  Roccamorice is famous for its two hermitages that sit some 4km and 8km respectively above the small town. Eremo di Santo Spirito is the most famous; began in the C9th this hermitage was developed in the following century by the monk Desiderio, who became Pope Victor III, and by subsequent generations until Napoleon’s annexation of the monasteries.  It’s without doubt the Majella Mountains’ most famous hermitage, and the one that you see on all tourist guides, in fact seen in many photographic guides to Abruzzo.

Low Pastures

We’d read the road that winds round the mountains to the hermitage is frequently snowed over in winter, but we thought it would still make for an no doubt stunning mountainside walk.  It was indeed out of action for those with tyres, but for those with boots it was absolutely perfect, ideal for those who aren’t a serious hiker but do like the idea of a vista-packed ramble; there were several families out walking at the same time, the mountainside belying the surprising relative flatness of the route.

This little Abruzzo panoramic snow walk proffers a landscape abundant with snow-rippled low meadows, a wealth of high slopes supporting a forest wave, winding paths that you spy ending in caves, and all along with the safety of barriers, perfect!  I wish I was knowledgeable about birds as a lively chorus was occurring with tweets that I didn’t recognise.  We’ll be back in the Spring to next time make it through to the hermitage.

Driving Tip

It is clearly signposted throughout Roccamorice up to Eremo di Santo Spirito.  There is roadside parking where the road starts on the mountainside back about 150 metres when it is snow covered.  You wont be able to miss it as you won’t be able to drive any further!

Sam Dunham
Author: Sam Dunham

Sam is a very lucky midlife 'mamma' to A who is 11 and juggles her work as a self-employed freelance travel and food web content manager and copywriter and EFL teacher - she is the founder of English in the Woods. She is the co-founder of the social enterprises: The Abruzzo Blogger Community and Let's Blog Abruzzo. She is currently writing the book 'Abruzzo: Folk and Food.

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