The Majella paths are not only enchanting paths for the legs and eyes, but also for the spirit. In this article we walk through two of my favorite paths.
La Majella has its origins in the myth: arrived from Phrygia, Maja arrives in Abruzzo in search of miraculous herbs to save her son Ermes, a giant messenger from Olympus. The mountain, however, is covered with snow and her attempt turns out to be vain. Hermes dies, forming “the sleeping giant” or the Gran Sasso massif. While Maja dies of despair, wandering on the paths of Majella. The mountain takes on her delicates features, becoming “the sleeping beauty”, mother of Abruzzo. In Guardiagrele it is written: “Majella, Mother who looks at you, blessing you forever“.
Aren’t you already fascinated by these places?
Starting from the coast, and passing through characteristic villages, you can reach many paths. It is a nice opportunity to experience the atmosphere of the small mountain villages, that seem to cling to their peaks.
The Majella paths are numerous, beautiful in every season, and for every level of experience.
Most of them can be checked on the Majella National Park website. La Majella is one of the three main national parks in Abruzzo with 700 km of marked trails. Overall 1/3 of Abruzzo is a protected natural area.
Pennapiedimonte and the Selvaromana path
The village of Pennapiedimonte is an excellent starting point for walks and excursions. Wonderfully located on the slope of the Majella massif, it is another of my favorite corners to look around and discover the breathtaking views that this area offers.
You can leave your car in Via Del Cantiere, Balzolo, in the upper part of the village, where there is also a small cafe.
This viewpoint offers a truly stunning view of the gorge where the two peaks meet. This view alone it is already worth the trip.
From here we pass through a small pedestrian tunnel that takes us on the G2 path. This path runs along this side of the mountain, offering beautiful panoramic points. We are on the pathway of the Avella torrent valley, built between 1967 and 1972 to perform maintenance work on the aqueduct built in the 1920s.
On the way we find caves used by the shepherds (which can offer shelter in case of sudden rains) and then a fresh beechwood forest.
Once arrived at Madonna delle Sorgenti (about 6 km, and 250 meters of altitude difference), you can continue through steep paths towards the Linaro waterfalls (about 7 km, with 750 meters in altitude difference from the start), and further to the Vallone delle Tre Grotte. Otherwise you can walk back the same way (preferred for the less experienced).
Several sections of the path are not protected by trees, so wear a hat, sunscreen and bring water, especially in summer.
The initial part of this route is easily doable by children, even with a stroller that tolerates gravel.
Palombaro, Martellese and D’Ugni Refuges
Another option, perhaps with the help of a trail map, is to start from the Pic-Nic area of the Palombaro valley, near the village. Here you can take one of the magnificent paths of the Majella, the G4, to the Martellese refuge (2035 m) or even to Cima Murelle (2596 m).
After a pleasant walk you reach Colle Strozzi, where you can take a short break in the picnic area (no water).
Proceeding on the path, you exit the woods (so don’t forget your hat and sunscreen), and arrive to the beautiful area around Rifugio D’Ugni. In the vicinity there is the only water point of the entire route.
From Ugni to Martellese the view is extraordinary: mountains, valleys, gullies, to the beaches and the sea. On clear days, it is possible to spot also the Tremiti islands.
From here you can go down to the starting point. If you are well trained and used to walk on the mountains, you can continue by taking the steep climb of the Carrozza, between Val Forcone and Valle dell’Inferno, up to Cima Murelle. The route is also interesting to observe the flora (so important to Maya), and the insects.
Children can reach the Martellese refuge if they are a little trained. The smaller ones can be carried “on the shoulder”. Don’t forget the water, and maybe a nice ventricina sandwich .
Further information on this route can be found here.
Other suggestive paths are those suggested to Abruzzo.no by Alex Tucci. He loves Majella so much that he ran from the beach to the tip of Monte Amaro and back, in one day!
The most trained, or lovers of challenges, can instead climb up to Monte Amaro, as suggested in this article.
Years ago, while we were in the area with some Norwegian and Swedish friends, we stopped to eat and rest at the Agriturismo Il Feudo. A quiet and genuine place, of which we have nice memories. The grown-ups can enjoy a moment of conviviality, while the children are free to run and play.
This article is dedicated to a friend, Vincenzo, a strong and kind man, lover of the mountain, of these paths.
Strasbourg, December 2019