The Colli Bassi and the Colli Alti are part of the group of mountain prominences – among others, the Colli dell’Oro (Hills of Gold) and the Collacchi – that can be seen around the valley, where the buildings are more concentrated. Up here, the municipal territory stretches out, opening to the variety of excursions. The hills offer nature trails for trekking and Nordic walking, ski touring and snowshoeing, riding and mountain biking, to achieve beautiful views and enjoy the environment.
Hills and high grounds were the site of ancient human settlements in the territory of Pescasseroli and the Park. On Mount Marsicano there are caves and shelters of archaeological value, evidence of settlements since the Middle Palaeolithic (35 thousand-120 thousand years ago). You recognize ocres (fortified sites), where the dominant classes of the Safini and the Marsi lived in, on Colle della Regina (Hill of the Queen) and Mount La Rocca (at La Difesa).
The area of the Colli Bassi, without houses and cultivated with mountain farming, in the economic boom of the twentieth century changed its appearance. Tourist residences were built, with roads and sports facilities, but also some reafforestation action was implemented. Subsistence crops disappeared and the many dry stone walls were left to themselves. The environmental impact, the building exploitation and the interests of expansion were hampered by the protection policies of the Park, which in 1976 included the Marsicano within its boundaries, and by the emerging environmental world.
After the critical stage between strong growth, business and aggressive cement (speculation) and natural integral protection (conservation), the territory lives in the balance between man and nature. Pescasseroli keeps this characteristic and a recognized value among Italian holiday resorts.
A trail to consider is the Park’s path E2, which allows a good view of Opi and rejoins the cattle track. Opi belonged to the town of Pescasseroli, before the latter one was divided by the feudal landowners in the sixteenth century. In 1574 it was ordered to build a chapel on the border with the sign of the Holy Cross.
Behind the Colli Bassi there is also the wide valley known as Vandra, used more in the past than today. It keeps springs of water, as spring of Mecca and spring of Rocco, and is very rich in vegetation.
For the more experienced of the mountain a difficult but compelling hike is offered by Mount Marsicano. It is among the highest peaks of Abruzzo and from its summit with clear sky you sight the Tyrrhenian Sea on one side, and the Adriatic on the other.
Text by Stefano Dark – Images by Umberto Esposito, Stefano Dark and NPALM
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