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An archaeological and natural deposit under the open sky


24 maggio 2023

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4 min

  • Comuni d’Abruzzo
  • Mountain resorts


Descrizione lunga

Follow us in silence on the Tirino, among the cleanest rivers in Italy, where we will give you a heavenly experience in the territory of Capestrano, in the province of L'Aquila. 
The canoe follows the gentle flow of the rio into which a can of green paint seems to have fallen. Colouring it all, among white willows and black poplars that are reflected in the moving liquid, is vegetation, submerged and emerged: thanks to the crystal-clear transparency of its waters, fed almost exclusively by underground springs, the sun's rays penetrate below the liquid surface, giving way to the rich proliferation of vegetation.

You can also explore the Tirino by kayak and along the banks on e-bikes or on horseback, as well as enjoy no-kill fishing, much to the delight of the trout that dart around here.
Reluctantly disembarking, you reach Capestrano in a few minutes, about six kilometres away, perched on a sunny hill overlooking the Navelli plateau and the Tirino valley. It is the realm of the warrior prince, whose statue is the symbol of the region and of the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park, of which it is a part.

The sculpture, from the mid-6th century B.C., was found in 1934 in the countryside further downstream during work to clear land. Subsequent excavations unearthed a necropolis of the Vestini people, who once inhabited the area, with tombs and grave goods dated between the 7th and 4th centuries B.C. 
Even today, the area continues to provide surprises and will soon be valorised with dedicated routes for students, visitors, and tourists.

You can admire the original statue of the Italic giant, more than two meters tall, with an incredibly large disc-shaped headdress, in the National Archaeological Museum in Chieti, with an evocative display by artist Mimmo Paladino, who makes it look like an alien creature. While a copy, which you approach with respect, stands at the entrance to Castello Piccolomini, overlooking the rooftops of the fortified village of Capestrano. 
Take a good look at the warrior with the stunned expression: it is the most important non-classical sculpture of ancient Europe. 

Another "warrior," but of a different kind, to whom the village gave birth was the Franciscan St. John of Capestrano whose intense evangelizing activities in the first half of the 15th century are remembered.
The prince and the holy friar are the most celebrated citizens of the village. Their origins seem to date back to the period between the 10th and 11th centuries A.D., but the first historical document referring to the village bears the date 1284. In modern times Capestrano was dominated by the Piccolomini Todeschini, Medici and Bourbon families, becoming the seat of a marquisate and later a principality.

Admire in the highest part of the village the massive Piccolomini Castle, with its two cylindrical towers and square tower, enlarged by Antonio Piccolomini around the mid-1400s. The rear entrance is protected by a moat over which a drawbridge was originally lowered, later replaced by a stone staircase. In the inner courtyard is a 15th century well, and wide stone stairways provide access from the courtyard to the upper floors. 
Today it is home to the Town Hall and a small military museum dedicated to the two great wars.

You cannot leave Capestrano without tasting the freshwater crayfish, roasted or "in purgatory," the Tirino trout roasted, in green sauce or in guazzetto, and the chitarra al sugo di gamberi di crayfish, which represent the excellence of the local cuisine.
And if you are in the area at the "right" times, enjoy the "Ciambelle di San Biagio", the "Sweet Anise Pizza" of Easter, the succulent "Pizza di San Martino" (with anchovies and peppers), the "Seven Soups" of the Vigilia di Natale (minestra di lenticchie, minestra di ceci, spaghetti al sugo di trota, baccalà, cavoli lessi in pastella, rape rosse e pizze fritte salate in sostituzione del pane).
All this, washed down by fine wines such as Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Pecorino and Trebbiano, which testify to the strong winemaking tradition of the village, also known as the "oven of Abruzzo" thanks to a microclimate characterized by Mediterranean temperatures that promote fine viticulture. 

What else to see:

  • The Church of San Pietro ad Oratorium
  • The Convent of St Francis
  • The Church of Santa Maria della Pace
  • The Capodacqua Lake



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Location of the Destination


42.267623377536, 13.769130706787

Last updated

15/02/2024, 13:51

Published by AbruzzoTurismo