Breathtaking mountain landscapes

Around Villa Valsi

Santo Stefano di Sessanio

Unique and suggestive, one of the “borghi più belli d’Italia”


Part of the Club “Borghi più belli d’Italia”, a village of only 112 residents in the province of L’Aquila, Santo Stefano di Sessanio is located in the southern part of the Gran Sasso d’Italia, beneath the vast plain of Campo Imperatore, at an altitude of 1250 m. It is a unique and fascinating medieval town, where one can still breath the air of yesteryear. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Santo Stefano was under the control of, first, the Piccolomini of Siena, and then the Medici of Florence. Evidence of the presence of these powerful Tuscan and papal families can still be found in the architecture, particularly telling in the Medici shield still visible above the entrance gate to the Piazza Medicea in the village center.

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I dintorni di Villa Valsi sono ricchi di storia, natura, arte, eventi e paesaggi senza sosta.

La Rocca di Calascio

The magic of a medieval atmosphere


Just 9 km. From Santo Stefano you can visit the Rocca di Calascio. At nearly 1500 m. it is one of the highest fortresses in Europe. Built by the Piccolomini (a powerful Sienese and papal family) as a watchtower to control the surrounding mountains and valleys, it is only one of a number of such strongholds in the area. Given its striking appearance, it has often been used as a setting for films, such as “Lady Hawke” with Michelle Pfeiffer and numerous others. The site provides breathtaking views of the Campo Imperatore and the Gran Sasso mountain range.

Il Gran Sasso

Mountains as far as the eye can see


The highest mountain range of the Appenines. About 2 km. above Santo Stefano opens the amazing plateau of Campo Imeratore, carved by glaciers during the last Ice Age. Located at the foot of the Corno Grande, the highest peak in the entire Appenine range , reaching nearly 3000 m., it is a true spectacle of nature with its infinite spaces, incredible colours and unique species of vegetation. This was once the summer gazing area for countless sheep herds and the departure point for the famed “transumanza” where shepherds moved their animals to Puglia for the winter.

Le grotte di Stiffe

Magnificient caves with water falls


A unique phenomen in Italy. About 10 km. from Santo Stefano di Sessanio you can visit the awe-inspiring caves of Stiffe. Naturally carved by flowing water in the soluble stone of the valley of L’Aquila, it is only the grandest of numerous caves found in the region of Abruzzo. Visitors will follow an underground stream over 600 m. into the beautifully lit opening and view various cave formations and even spectacular underground waterfalls.

L'Aquila

The Capital city of Abruzzo, art and history


The Capital of Abruzzo, L’Aquila is a city rich in monuments and churches from different artistic periods. To mention just a few : the Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio, 13th century modern church of the Celestine order, founded by Pope Celestine the V, in which his canonized body can still be visited, the Franciscan Basilica of San Bernardino da Siena, in which his sainted relics can be seen, the Fountain of 99 Cannelle, one of the oldest functioning 13th century fountains in Italy and the Castello Cinquecentesco, a 16th century fortress built by the Spanish overlords of L’Aquila under Charles the V. 

Suggestions

Trekking

 


There are countless trekking routes starting from Santo Stefano di Sessanio. Expert mountain guides organize various activities and are available upon reservation to accompany groups.

Horseriding

 


Horseriding tours are available on reservation. From Santo Stefano di Sessanio it is possible to make excursions riding a donkey, a smart alternative much appreciated by the little ones.

Canoeing on the Tirino river


Canoeing trips along the Tirino River are organized by reservation every day. The Tirino is considered the cleanest river in Italy because of its pure spring waters with spectacular colors. This will be an unforgettable experience!

Day Trips

 


The Adriatic coast with its sandy beaches is just an hour’s drive from Santo Stefano di Sessanio. Beautiful villages such as Sulmona, Bominaco, Scanno, or Pescasseroli are definitely worth a visit!