Campo Imperatore (l’Aquila) :: A great ride on mountain bike

Italian ethnologist Fosco Maraini, who lived and explored the East far and wide, high and low, says about Campo Imperatore, (L’Aquila), Italy: “It could undoubtedly be Tibet. It looks like Phari-Dong plain, on the way from India to Lhasa”. (I trust mr. Maraini but I snooped Phari-Dong on Google Maps and the resemblance with Campo Imperatore is really astonishing).

Campo Imperatore (l'Aquila), a small Tibet plateau at hand's reach, ideal for an excursion in #MountainBike | photo: ©GiuseppeMarone
Campo Imperatore (l’Aquila), a small Tibet plateau at hand’s reach, ideal for an excursion in #MountainBike | photo: ©GiuseppeMarone

I don’t know if Maraini ever rode a bike on that plain – I hope he did – and had the same fun I had when I took a ride on Campo Imperatore last summer.

Appetibilis Chief Soryteller Lonza65 on a mission :: Campo Imperatore (l'Aquila) | photo: ©GiuseppeMarone
Appetibilis Chief Soryteller Lonza65 on a mission :: Campo Imperatore (l’Aquila) | photo: ©GiuseppeMarone

On the coast the temperature was far above 30° C (86° F) and there, it was scarcely 20° C (68° F), so pedalling was nice and almost sweat-free. The track I rode with Bike Inside Team friends is easy and comfortable, no steep hills to climb, wide track, sheer fun .

“There's more to getting to where you're going then just knowing there's a road.” ~Joan Lowery Nixon :: Campo Imperatore (l'Aquila) - Rifugio San Francesco | photo: ©Lonza65
“There’s more to getting to where you’re going then just knowing there’s a road.” ~Joan Lowery Nixon :: Campo Imperatore (l’Aquila) – Rifugio San Francesco | photo: ©Lonza65

The 26-km (16,15 mi) track starts from Rifugio San Francesco and develops on the bottom of the shingle canyon all the way through Lago di Racollo and back on the tarmac road. All around you can enjoy the view of the highest peak of the Appennines (Corno Grande, 2912 m – 9553ft) and the other mountains of the range (Brancastello, Prena and Camicia).

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery - air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, "This is what it is to be happy.” ~Sylvia Plath :: Campo Imperatore (l'Aquila) | photo: ©BikeInsideTeam
“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery – air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.” ~Sylvia Plath :: Campo Imperatore (l’Aquila) | photo: ©BikeInsideTeam

If you forgot to bring your packed lunch with you, you can have lunch at Rifugio San Francesco or grill yourself sausages, steaks and arrosticini that you can buy at Mucciante butcher’s. They provide the grill, the fire, the meat and the drinks. You provide the fun.

Check also our Postcards from Italy :: Campo Imperatore (L’Aquila)

Two Wheels Travel Notes :: Trabocchi Coast on Bicycle

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Trabocchi Coast on two wheels :: “…However its vulnerability is its strength: the large fishing device represents…” ~ Dacia Maraini | photo: ©MateldaCodagnone

One of the most relevant projects regarding tourism on two wheels is the Ciclovia Adriatica or Corridoio Verde Adriatico (Adriatic Bike Route), a 1,300 km bike track from Trieste to Santa Maria di Leuca. Some sections are alredy being used by cyclists, especially the ones in coast towns, and longer segments will – hopefully – be achieved in the near future on the Trabocchi coast, from Ortona to San Salvo.

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Appetibilis sport contributors cycling around Punta Aderci on a spring day| photo: ©Lonza65 and ©GiuseppeMarone

For the time being, let’s enjoy some scenic ride from the main road and from some detours like the Riserva di Punta Aderci. From June to September, don’t miss the chance to stop by a trabocco and have a fish lunch on this peculiar stilt house facing the sea. Lock your bike and relax. The landscape and the food are worth the journey…

“La grande macchina pescatoria composta di tronchi intrecciati, di assi e di gomene biancheggiava simile allo scheletro colossale di un anfibio antidiluviano…. pareva vivere di una vita propria avere un’aria e un’effigie di corpo animato.” ~Gabriele D’Annunzio, Trionfo della morte


“The large fishing device, made of intertwined trunks, planks and hawsers, gleamed as a huge white skeleton of an antediluvian amphibious being… it looked as if it had a life of its own, a feeling and a shape of a living being.” Gabriele D’Annunzio, Trionfo della Morte