Each of us has a place where "everything originated". Mine is Vallepietra, a small village between Lazio and Abruzzo, embraced by the Simbruini Mountains, within the splendid valley which takes its name from the Simbrivio river.
My mother, the third of six children, was born here. My grandfather grew beans and potatoes along the riverbanks and despite the war and his imprisonment in Germany during the German occupation, he continued to work the fields until he was ninety.
“A town means not being alone, knowing that there is something of yours in the people, in the plants, in the land, that even when you are not there, it is waiting for you” writes Cesare Pavese, one of my favorite authors. And that's exactly how I feel.
I am passionate about hiking, and I know the Vallepietra mountains like the back of my hand. I tried several times several routes and lived truly unforgettable experiences. The paths enter the wood directly from the village.
The first path is the Ara Antica which can be reached in about 40 minutes from Holy Trinity road, the upper part of the town, crosses the wood until you reach a plateau about 1,000 meters high.
A breath-taking panorama that allows you to admire (starting from the left) Mount Faito, the Arcinazzo plateaus, Picco Assalonne and Colle della Tagliata and the Sanctuary.
During the descent, you walk along a small stream that flows within a unique context forming small waterfalls. The brambles on the sides of the path in summer are weighed down by the presence of juicy blackberries which are the delight of the walker.
From the center of the town, it is then possible to descend to the Simbrivio river through the ‘utelle’, to then skirt it and continue to the Sanctuary of the Holy Trinity, a pilgrimage destination for centuries.
For the few who don't know it, the Sanctuary is a truly magical place, not only for its historical events and legends but above all for its location. It is in fact located below a rock wall about 300 meters high called Colle della Tagliata.
From here you can reach the summit of Monte Autore (1,854 m.) and those of Monti Tarino (1,961 m.) and Tarinello (1,846 m.).
Monte Autore, very panoramic, can be reached via a path that runs along the entire crest of Colle della Tagliata. After the Colle, you descend through beautiful mountain meadows, cross a splendid forest of centuries-old beech trees, and then climb up to the top.
The path to Monti Tarino and Tarinello starts from the car park of the Sanctuary of the Holy Trinity and for a long stretch runs alongside wonderful beech woods and splendid lawns which are covered with flowers during the spring season. Descending from Tarino, you go up towards Tarinello, with its magnificent rocky outcrop.
A very short distance from the Sanctuary is the Campo della Pietra, an expanse of meadows set among centuries-old woods where wild animals graze. It welcomed one of the film sets of the film "They Call Me Trinity" (Lo chiamavano Trinità), remembered with a plaque visible from the street.
Here it is possible to make a circular route and cross what was the ancient border between the Papal State and the Kingdom of Naples, whose symbols, the so-called "ceppi", can still be admired.
Then there are other routes, such as those that lead to the hermitages and caves around Vallepietra, such as the Mora di Santo Matteo and the Mora delle Monache. Or the spectacular Valley of the waterfalls, which follows the tributaries of the Simbrivio and their beautiful water features or the legendary Monte Assalonne (1,518 m).
The presence of Simbrivio favors the maintenance of a unique and rare biodiversity. During the spring, on the sides of the paths that cross meadows and woods, the spontaneous mountain orchids are born, tiny but with indescribable shades of color, which reproduce thanks to the presence of an uncontaminated environment.
There are over 60 different species in the area, continuously monitored by the research group of the spontaneous orchids of the Simbruini Mountains located in Vallepietra. Nature and biodiversity are the pride of these mountains.
Vallepietra is a place where valleys and streams wind harmoniously everywhere, nestled between the peaks of the Simbruini Mountains, a beauty to be enjoyed but at the same time a precious resource to be conserved and protected.
Vallepietra is the place of the soul, of peace, of lightheartedness, of childhood, because there is no child who has not played hide and seek in its small alleys at least once, me included.
"I had everything in my memory, I was my town myself: it was enough for me to close my eyes and collect myself... to feel that my blood, my bones, my breath, everything was made of that substance and beyond me and that land there was nothing." (Cesare Pavese)Discover Tiziana Irali on her Vallepietra planet website