The “Little Tibet” of Italy
Suffice to say that while doing research for our new Small Group Walking Tour of Abruzzo we were completely blown away by Campo Imperatore. We were awestruck by the vast expanses of this high-altitude plateau completely surrounded by high mountains resembling the Dolomite rock.
Located at between 1500m and 1900m it stretches on for 80km². Campo Imperatore is known as Little Tibet. It is no surprise that Porsche, BMW, Audi and others all use the roads which cut through this plateau to test their new cars and shoot their commercials here. Plenty of films have been shot here as well, from The American with George Clooney to The Name of the Rose with Sean Connery.
In the Spring Campo Imperatore is coated in wild flowers, in the Fall it displays all the beauty of Autumn colours. We look forward to come here again on our Small Group Walking Tour of Abruzzo scheduled for next October 2020.
Campo Imperatore, covered in snow from December all the way to late May, was home to one of the earliest ski resorts and cable cars in Italy. Heavily promoted and sponsored by the Fascists, it seems fitting that Mussolini was later imprisoned here, in the Ski Hotel, in August of 1943. His imprisonment didn’t last long and he was released shortly afterwards by German troops.
FUN FACT: Until not long ago the hotel-prison has become a major tourism attraction. Some couple even payed up to 400€ to spend a night in the same room Mussolini was imprisoned. Don’t ask us why, but some people choose to do this on their honey moon!!
The towns near Campo Imperatore are a great compliment to the natural beauty of the Apennines.
On our Small Group Walking Tour of Abruzzo we use Rocca Calascio as our base, but the nearby towns of Santo Stefano di Sessanio, Calascio and Castel del Monte are equally charming. Back in the Middle Ages a lot of these lands belonged to the Medici family who had thousands of sheep grazing here. This is where the wool came from which played such a great part in building their fortune back in Florence.