Anoter strange name to pronounce, sorry……….. The weather was surprisingly better, finally we could see the top of the mountains as we drove throught the Majella National Park (740.95 km²) a national park located in the Abruzzo provinces of Chieti, Pescara and L’Aquila and it is centered around the Majella massif, whose highest peak is Monte Amaro (2,793 m). The area of the Majella national Park, especially the Montagna della Majella, has been subject to a major international geoscientific research Project, TaskForceMajella from 1998 up to 2005. The park contains about 500 kilometers of hiking trails through the mountains, cave paintings in Grotta Sant’Angelo and Grotta del Cavallone (the latter being one of the deepest caves in Europe open to the public)
Finally at the end of the road going uphill, we found ourselves driving through the Five Miles Plateau, at 1250mt of altitude. The plateau is almost 9 kms long (about 5 miles) and 1 km in width and it joins the valley of the river Gizio and the Peligna Valley (North) with the ones of the rivers Raso and Sangro (South). Entirely uninhabited and almost bare of vegetation, it’s animated in the good season by flocks and herds and frequented by tourists, while in winter it’s very cold, reaching sometimes, in serene and windless nights, temperatures of -25°/-30° . In old times the stagecoaches, fearing assaults, drove through it the fastest they could. Often, in winter, the wayfarers were buried under the snow. This is what happened in 1528 to 300 mercenaries recruited by Venice to fight against Charles V, and to 500 germans under the command of the Prince of Orange, the following winter.
Almost at the end of the plateau, there’s the medieval village of Rivisondoli. It’s a fortificated village at 1320 mt of height, at the feet of Mt. Calvario. The old village center presents a quite recent historical-artistic heritage because a devastating earthquake in 1706 and a terrible fire at the end of the XVIII century, destroyed almost entirely the most inhabited oldest nucleus.
The most importan monument of the village is the Church dedicated to St. Nicholas, rebuilt in 1931 on the same place of a previous one.
The village might be quiet recent considering the long history of the region (and of the rest of Italy) but it has quite a charm, nevertheless….
And here we are gaian, on the portal of this old private chapel, skulls and bones….I must really find out the meaning behind this symbol…..