Valle di Comino
Exactly where this beautiful valley begins and where it ends has always been open to debate, but it exists up high in the Apennine mountains at the meeting point of the provinces of Abruzzo, Molise and Lazio and at the entrance to the vast, spectacularly wild and untouched National Park of the same name.
What is so precious about the Valle di Comino is that within its mysterious boundaries exists a thriving uncontaminated world with culture and traditions that go back in time for centuries. With the right information, or in some cases the help of a local guide, we would like to help our guests understand that a visit to the Valle di Comino can feel like one vast open gastronomic, foraging, wildlife, mountain trekking, outward bound ‘safari’.
(Photos below - left to right). Wild boar eating our crocus bulbs outside Villa Inglese, wild horses and mules high above Casalattico on the other side of the valley, a free ranging heifer in the mountains above Atina, Apennine Chamois deer on the highest peaks of Monte Della Meta at 2240m.
Small villages, cobbled streets, ancient alleyways, abandoned castles, emerald waters, abundant woodlands, towering mountains and hills, a dazzling vegetation and wildlife are all part of its hidden charm.
There are about a dozen towns which dot the sides of the valley, they are lovely, most have an abandoned castle, each has its own particular character and each has its own individual relationship with the mountain.
(Photos below - Left to right) a small sunlit alley, the hilltop town of Picinsico, a cave part of the Gustav line above Atina.
Atina is the capital of the valley, its noble palaces and the Gustave line trenches carved into its hills show a snapshot of its long history. San Donato Val di Comino is the main gateway into the Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo. Vicalvi has the grandest castle and Alvito has the grandest terrace over the valley and also has truffles in the hills above. Casalattico has a history as a Borbonic military encampment, Veroli with it's beautiful abbey Abazzia di Casamari and Campoli Apennine at one end of the valley is the centre for truffle hunting and in the mountains above the town is the most likely place to see wolves and bears. At the other end of the valley is the reservoir Lago Cardito and the town of San Baggio Saracinisco circled by another area of tradition, culture and mountain life. Settefrati lies tucked into the mountain alongside Picinsico is where the the Sanctuary of Canneto is, once the site of a temple for the God Mephitis and historically the most ancient passages connecting this side of the mountain with Abruzzo.
Dropping down into the plain runs the River Melfa and right in the centre of the valley on a little hill sits the town of Gallinaro. This is the main agricultural area of the valley, it is here that the famous cannellini beans are grown. It is also the area of Cabernet Atina Doc which spreads down the valley passed Alvito. At the head of the Valley is the picturesque bird sanctuary and nature reserve Lago Posta Fibreno, a lovely antidote to the rest of the mountain scenery.
(Photos below - Left to right) The ancient castle walls in Picinisco, the lake and bird sanctuary of Posto Fibreno, The beautiful Sanctuary of the Madonna di Canetto.
Fiercely independent, the people of the Valle di Comino are proud of their rebel roots claiming to descend from the rebels of history, whether Saturno or Samnites. A smugglers border town culture on the edges of the Kingdom of Sicily or a rebel hold out against the Garibaldi and the Risorgimento, it's all here... Tradition, culture, religion, mysticism and nature intertwine and regularly culminate with a festa in the Piazza!
Dotted and scattered across the Valley are the archeological treasures of a culture which has weathered history from the bronze age onwards, including the Samnites, the Romans, The Vatican State, the French, the Austrians and the Germans. All have been and gone leaving their mark on this land. It has been Terra di Sicilia, Terra di Lavoro and now Lazio. All these forces in history, however, have dented but never compromised the strong identity of the people of the Valle di Comino.
Non puoi semplicemente visitare la Valle di Comino. Devi scoprirla. Ci sono cose che puoi fare da solo, e altre per cui hai bisogno di una giuda.
Vivila come un'avventura e non rimarrai deluso. E ovunque questa tua avventura nella Valle di Comino ti porti, è molto probabile che tu ti imbatta in un gregge di pecore o capre lungo la strada!
Valle di Comino