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Santo Stefano di Sessanio

A journey through time in the Lands of Baronia


09 maggio 2023

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3 min

  • Borghi più belli d’Italia
  • Comuni d’Abruzzo
  • Mountain resorts
Angelo Amboldi - Flickr


Descrizione lunga

One of the Most beautiful villages of Italy, Santo Stefano di Sessanio (in the province of l'Aquila), the southern gateway to the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park, will steal your heart by projecting you into a magical atmosphere. It may be because of the high altitude, the ancient houses built in white limestone, the enveloping silence of its paved alleys, that here you will really have the feeling of being projected into a distant time.
Located at an altitude of 1,200 metres above sea level in a panoramic position over the Tirino valley, a starting point for numerous hikes, it is a real jewel set among the mountains, below the picturesque plain of Campo Imperatore.

Rising between the 11th and 12th centuries, from the 13th century it was part of the Barony of Carapelle, passing under the rule of various noble families. Among these is the indelible mark left by the powerful House of Medici, whose emblem is the Medici Tower. This has become the symbol of the village from which the tower houses and alleys unravel in concentric circles. Collapsed following the 2009 earthquake, it was recently rebuilt and restored to its former glory.

Under the rule of the Signoria of Florence, Santo Stefano di Sessanio reached its peak as an outpost for the trade in "carfagna" wool, which was produced here, processed in Tuscany and sold throughout Europe. With the Unification of Italy and the end of the millenary activity related to transhumance, the village unfortunately experienced a long phase of decline. 
Pioneering its rebirth was Daniele Kihlgren with a model for the recovery of the ancient uninhabited village that led to the creation of an Albergo Diffuso involving the old houses in the center, renovated while preserving the integrity of the buildings and the identity of the places. The use of salvaged architectural materials and poor furnishings typical of the Abruzzo mountains, embellished with period furniture and linens worked with ancient weaving techniques, tell of the ancient experience of the houses, which brings to light their deepest soul.  

The cross-country ski trails in the surrounding area, cultural events, small artisan workshops, along with the albergo diffuso, have brought life back to the alleys of the village that fascinate, with their intimate and authentic atmosphere, tourists from all over the world including many internationally renowned artists, inspired by the superb beauty of ancient Sextantio.
The ancient history of this village is also evident from the Church of St. Stephen Protomartyr, built between the 14th and 15th centuries, and the Chiesa della Madonna del Lago, built in the 17th century. 

If you want to combine scenic and architectural beauty with a tour in the typical flavors of the place, then stop at one of the inns in the village to enjoy a delicious lentil soup. This product of the highest quality, Slow Food presidium and the protagonist of a Festival that enlivens the streets of the village in September, the Sagra delle Lenticchie di Santo Stefano di Sessanio, belongs to a rare quality, which grows only in the arid soils of high mountains between 1200 and 1450 meters. Excellent to taste, it is the basis of traditional dishes that tell the story of this area, writing it in the flavors and ancient gestures of cooking. 


  • Villages
  • borghi montani
  • borghi più belli d’Italia
  • Comuni
  • Cultur
  • Mountain resorts
  • Moto
  • Paesi
  • Presidi slow food

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Location of the Destination


42.344410309771, 13.644555387069



Last updated

13/12/2023, 11:10

Published by AbruzzoTurismo