A turquoise jewel of Abruzzo, the waters of the Tirino are illuminated by millions of shades from azure to emerald, green. The river flows through the valley of the same name in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park and its waters are so crystal clear that you can see the bottom with green carpets – visible to the naked eye – where a native edible plant with the flavour of celery, ginger and fennel called "sedanina" grows.
A bike ride and a walk along its banks will be a magnificent experience, but sailing its waters by canoe will leave a lasting memory in you! Considered one of the most beautiful and clear rivers in Europe, it is a true paradise on earth surrounded by lush nature and populated by a very rich variety of flora and fauna.
And this paradise caught the eye and pen of Liz Boulter, a journalist of the Guardian Travel. "Many photographs of Tirino River in Italy appear to have been eagerly retouched, but its blue, turquoise and emerald hues are real. It is the cleanest river in Italy – some say in Europe – and thanks to the sun penetrating deep into the water, its bed is a riot of tropical-looking aquatic plants. We stopped on our way down from the High Apennines in Abruzzo for a glorious September trip through the locks. The Tirino rises at Campo Imperatore, the huge plateau at 1,800 metres in the Gran Sasso massif, but the first 15 miles of its course are underground; it reappears in the foothills near the village of Capestrano... [...] Returning meant drifting with the current [...] no need to paddle [...] in blissful silence, the wooded banks gliding by like a dream sequence [...] For hungry canoeists, river fish, grilled trout, crayfish spaghetti."
Three springs – Capo d'Acqua, Presciano and the lake below the village of Capestrano – flow underground for 25 kilometers feeding the Tirino River with azure blue and emerald, green waters. Indeed, the river's name comes from the Greek word "tritanus" which means “triple spring”. Along the course of the river, century-old willows and poplars are home to a wide variety of birds such as the grebe, common pochard, coot, dabchick and grey heron. An important indicator of the healthiness of the waters is the presence of rare and protected species such as the crayfish (Astro potamobius pallipes). Thanks to the river's low temperature and abundant oxygenation, also the brown trout dwells permanently in the waters of the Tirino river.
A canoe paddle will bring you into contact with this extraordinary habitat. You can start from San Martino, in the municipality of Capestrano in the province of L'Aquila. Then, paddle up the river to the foot of the Capo d'Acqua springs and continue the journey backwards. Travel by paddling unhurriedly, listening to the many sounds of nature, observing the silent and majestic vegetation, inundating yourself with the smells and scents of the wilderness. Canoe trips are also organized at night, when the full moon illuminates the waters of the river, in a fairy-tale scenery.