Friday, November 22, 2019

Gran Sasso National Park | Assergi

We arrived to the L'Aquila province of the Abruzzo Region just in time for dinner as night fell over the mountains. Hard to believe we started our morning in Praiano and visited Pompeii and Ortona de Marsi on our journey. After the Amalfi Coast and the most famous ancient city, Italy's alpine nature took center stage for this leg of our trip! 

We spent one night at Hotel Nido dell'Aquila in the town of Assergi among the foothills of Parco Nazionale Gran Sasso. We're in a ski town!!

After a fantastic dinner and leisurely breakfast here at "Hotel Eagles Nest" we were checked out and off to explore the Gran Sasso via Funivia. 
Funivia means aerial lift or cable car and yes riding in one is very fun! There was not a soul in the ticket line, what a peaceful place we have happened upon. We rode up with a few mountain bikers, a few hikers. I couldn't believe how serene our ride was. And those views! 

Cam definitely enjoyed the ride. Somehow this baby is no stranger to cable cars - just last month we took him up the Cannon tram in NH. 

It was so surreal being up here. It felt like we had stumbled upon another dimension of Italy. This isn't the Italy of your fellow tourists! As we sipped a cappuccino at the peaks alpine bar I kept thinking about how cool it would be to come back and go skiing!

After exploring Gran Sasso peak we caught a Funivia back down to the base. We were pretty hungry at this point and lucky for us a food truck had set up. Piping hot porchetta sandwiches for the win. Another welcome surprise in Assergi!

As we head to join the masses in for Florence the words below on Abruzzo convey my deep feelings of gratitude perfectly. 

It’s hard to think of a lovelier corner of Italy. Alpine meadows. Lush mountain valleys, this region is one of Italy's secret treasures. No over-crowding, no heavy industry. Hiding away down its curvy roads are castles, villages and mountains made of stone and memory. Life in the Abruzzo hasn't changed that much over the years, and it's like wandering into a gentler, kinder yesterday. 

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