Roccaraso: what to do and see even without skiing

The graphic Roccaraso villagenestled in the High Plateaus at 1236 meters above sea level between Maiella Park and Abruzzo National Park, Lazio and Molise is known to be the largest sski resort of the Apennines and throughout central and southern Italy.

The city is an ideal destination for mountain lovers in every season, thanks to its evocative natural setting, consisting of magnificent views of the Alps, areas to explore, cross-country and downhill ski slopes and many trails for those who love hiking and Nordic walking.

Rocarasso

Roccaraso is surrounded by the magnificent landscapes of the Apennines, which include the Cinquemiglia plateau and those of Primo Campo, Quarto del Barone and Quarto Grande, up to Palena and the hermitage of Sant’Antonio.

Among the many peaks that exceed 2,000 meters, the highest is that of Monte Greco at 2,285 meters which overlooks Aremogna and Barea, while there is an altitude difference of 1000 meters from the town to the peak called Toppe del Tesoro which offers skiers an amazing view. in the enchanting surrounding landscape.

Apart from Roccaraso, this area also includes its towns Pescocostanzo, Rivisondoli and Rocca Piaand thanks to the efficient connections with other ski resorts Pescasseroli, Barrea and Castel di Sangrowhich form a large ski area with more than 150 km of ski slopes and 60 km of cross-country skiing trails suitable for all levels, from beginners to experienced skiers.

The different locations are connected by more than 30 modern ski lifts and are accessible thanks to the excellent infrastructure. 16 of these facilities are located in Roccaraso, where international ski challenges have also been held and where it is also possible to practice snowboarding, snowkiting and heliskiing.

All this makes Roccaraso a real paradise for winter sports in the Aremogna ski resort.

Even in the summer months, however, Roccaraso does not lose its charm and does not fail to attract visitors thanks to the rich offer of outdoor activities, such as panoramic walks along a branching network of paths.

During the warmer months you can explore it nearby refuges and nature parks, go hiking or by mountain bike, as the area offers a variety of trails, both easy for beginners and challenging for experienced cyclists.

Since 2007 it has been possible to travel the “Roccaraso trailsthat cross the area between the city center and the plateau of Aremogna and offer a series of routes to discover the area in exciting hiking sessions.

One of Roccaraso’s must-see attractions is Monte Roccaraso, the highest peak in the Apennines. The adventurous hike or cable car ride to the top offers magnificent panoramic views of rolling hills, rushing streams and lush forests.

After a day of outdoor activities, Roccaraso suggests the luxury of a little relaxation at one of the nearby spas.

The city is close to many natural springs where you can immerse yourself in hot mineral-rich waters to rejuvenate body and spirit with relaxing treatments, massages and therapeutic baths thanks to the healing properties of the thermal waters that relieve stress or tension.

One of the best times to visit Roccaraso is during Christmas when the atmosphere in the streets of the village becomes magical and in the main square stalls are set up with food and wine and handicrafts.

Old town

Rocarasso
Rocarasso

The historic center of Roccaraso is characterized by charming cobbled streets, stone houses, period buildings and traditional architecture that reflect its ancient historical past.

This fascinating medieval village consisted of colorful buildings, small churches in rough stone and historical buildings such as the “Interalia”, a theater from 1698, one of the oldest in Italy that was mostly destroyed during the Second World War.

Today the small center has been completely modernized, with the exception of the neighborhood called Torra Vecchia (the ancient fortified village) with the ruins of a tower.

A walk through the streets of the village still allows you to discover the baroque church of San Rocco built by the inhabitants as thanks for the end of the plague epidemic of 1656 and the only building that survived the destruction of the Second World War, the church of San Bernardino where, according to tradition the saint stopped during a pilgrimage and the church of Santa Maria Assunta.

The latter is an imposing 16th-century building decorated with magnificent frescoes and intricate architectural details that was faithfully reconstructed in the 1950s after damage sustained during the war.

Not to be missed when visiting the center of Roccaraso there are the Park Museum to learn about the local culture and traditions through interesting exhibitions and the nice playground, known as Pratone, with various free attractions surrounded by greenery.

Not far from the village, it is worth making a stop at its ancient settlement Pietransieri.

Giambattista Lazazzera / Shutterstock.com
Pietransieri

Here you can visit the monument in honor of those who fell in the terrible massacre of Pietransieri of November 21, 1943, carried out by the Nazis: the walls are covered with stone plaques indicating the name and age of the victims. In 1943 the Germans set up their headquarters here, in response to massive bombing by the Americans, they destroyed nearby Pietransieri in retaliation, killing 127 civilians.

Roccaraso serves as an excellent base for exploring other attractions in the area, including the picturesque village of Pescocostanzo, the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park and the enchanting Lake Scanno.

In the surrounding area there are also amusement parks, including “Coppo dell’Orso” which organizes excursions with snowshoes, bobsleigh and sledges, snow tubing, quad tracks. the Majella adventure park in Guardiagrele, with more than 130 suspended routes, the “Parco del Sangro” water park in Castel di Sangro;

How to get

Roccaraso is easily accessible by car and public transport. The city’s proximity to major cities such as Rome and Naples makes it a popular weekend destination.

By car from Rome take the A24 motorway (Rome – L’Aquila) and then the A25 towards Avezzano – Pescara. After exiting at the Pratola Peligna-Sulmona toll, continue on the SS17 towards Roccaraso.

From Naples you have to take the A1 motorway heading north, exit at Caianello and continue first towards Venafro and then towards Castel di Sangro-Roccaraso.

Roccaraso also has a train station that enables connections to other places in Abruzzo, such as Castel di Sangro, Rivisondoli-Pescocostanzo and Pescara, but also to other cities in central and southern Italy, such as Naples and Rome.

Map and map

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