Civitella del Tronto
Among the Most Beautiful Hamlets in Italy, perched on a beautiful hill (600 m above sea level), Civitella del Tronto is also one of the most interesting places in Abruzzo for the beautiful architecture enclosed within its ancient walls. The aristocratic village stands on a rocky travertine cliff dominated by the Fortress, Borboni’s last bastion before the Unification of Italy. The remarkable building engineering blends perfectly into the landscape which embraces together the Gran Sasso and the Adriatic Sea.
A single stroll around the village will be sufficient to make you believe that it is one of the most beautiful hamlets you could ever see in Italy. Among the architectural wonders, in the several Medieval and Renaissance buildings, the two main streets, via Mazzini and Via Roma are dotted with elegant houses such as, Palazzo del Conte de’ Termes (XIV century).
Also worth visiting are the church of San Francesco (very interesting the 14th century rose-window and the wooden choir) and the church of San Lorenzo, the Franciscan monastery of Lumi and the wonderful Abbey of Montesanto.
The Fortress of Civitella del Tronto, 500 meters long and 25000 sqm surface, is the second largest in Europe. It was the last Borbonic fortress to fall, on March 20th 1861, three days after the proclamation of the Unification of Italy to the Piedmontese troops, after an ambush which lasted 146 days. Destroyed and sacked, it was restored only 100 years later. Nowadays it is open to the public in all its grandeur of squares, bastions and walkways, with a weapon museum which tells the history.
Not least, the territory includes part of the Natural Reserve of Salinello Gorges, situated between two mounts of the Laga chain which are called “twins” for their conformation: The Moountain dei Fiori e the mountain of Campli. The Gorges are one of the most amazing limestone canyons of the Appennine, they host among beech and ilex forests the royal eagle, the sparrow hawk, the peregrine falcon, and the common kestrel and they are marked by the rapids and falls of the torrent. Not far from Civitella you can find the hermitage of San Michele Arcangelo with caves filled with stalactites and stalagmites formations; it is built in a big cave, that has been frequented for the purpose of worship since Neolithic times. A wild and suggestive path starts from it following the Salinello river among rocks and forests until the ruins of the Manfrino castle that was built by king Manfredi of Swabia.