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Gioia dei Marsi

Beautiful creature in the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park


31 maggio 2023

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3 min

  • Comuni d’Abruzzo
  • Mountain resorts
Gioia dei Marsi, Ph. Marica Massaro CC BY-SA 4.0


Descrizione lunga

Be quite! The Marsican brown bear is “speaking”! He is the star of Gioia dei Marsi, in the province of L'Aquila, considered the "gateway" to the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park, a century-old environmental treasure for the region and for humanity.
A place of peace and beauty that deserves to be pinned in your vacation diary.

You can also watch the plantigrade in religious silence from the Panoramic Terrace of Gioia Vecchio, a tiny uninhabited village a few kilometres from Gioia dei Marsi, the Devil's Pass and the Cicerana plateau. Here, the square in front of the 16th-century church, with its stone facade, towers over the valley below in front of the imposing Mount Turchio, like an observation point from which it is not difficult to see the dark outline of the animal in the bush moving slowly to grab some fruit.
Sometimes, even wolves can meet your gaze. And the excitement becomes huge.

You find yourself standing in a precious and ultra secular holm oak forest that stretches over 80 hectares in Colle Truscino, over a thousand meters above sea level, where even the wind blows softly to not to disturb the splendour of nature. 
Captivated by such purity, you will reach Gioia dei Marsi, situated at about 800 metres above sea level on the southeastern edge of the Fucino Plain, the fertile hollow where once stood the lake of the same name, drained in 1875 by Duke Alessandro Torlonia, who acquired the title of prince for the feat.

The operation-which became necessary because the unstable basin and subject to rapid and dangerous changes in level, was damaging the surrounding countryside and populations-changed the destiny of the entire territory forever: fishermen became farmers and later agricultural entrepreneurs, and towns like Gioia Vecchio, located in a prominent position, became depopulated, while towns close to the new plain, now among the most fertile in the country, grew. Long ago, besides the lake, there were other inhabitants, the Marsi, whose traces along with that of the later Roman civilization and to follow, you can locate them in some necropolis scattered in the countryside with remains of Roman villas and fortifications from the medieval period, the castelli-recinto, dating mainly between the 11th and 12th centuries (such as at Quercia, La Castelluccia, Alto le Tombe, Alto le Ripe San Nicola in Vallo, Culla del Diavolo, Civita delle Bianche, San Veneziano-Colle delle Cerese).

You should dedicate more time to hiking, that you can experience especially along the Giovenco Valley trails, which take you, for example, to the Gioia Vecchio pass, the Macrana Gorge, Rocca Genovese, the Sperone ring, and the Turchio and Marcolano mountains, among the favourite destinations of paragliding experts.
With a walk in Gioia dei Marsi, whose urban fabric has been rebuilt several times (after the 1915 earthquake and World War II bombings), visit the church of Santa Maria Nova, with its bright stone facade, and the church of Santa Maria Assunta, with stone altars and fine paintings. Other religious monuments can be found in the hamlets of Casali d'Aschi, with the church of Madonna del Buon Consiglio, and Borgo Sperone, with the ancient temple dedicated to San Nicola, possibly dating back to the 12th century.  

To round off a fine day, set your table to try traditional dishes such as sagne e fagioli, maccheroni alla chitarra, anellini alla pecorara, pecora alla cottora (or alla callara) porchetta, ferratelle, mostaccioli and soft amaretti biscuits, typical of the Marsica area.


  • borghi montani
  • Comuni
  • Mountain resorts

Location of the Destination


41.954320046214, 13.693470954895

Last updated

15/01/2024, 10:07

Published by AbruzzoTurismo