A stage of medium length and difference in height, without particular difficulties, through which we walk first in Lazio, then in Molise (for the first time!) and lastly on Abruzzo soil.
The highlight of the day is the (optional) climb to Monte La Meta (2,242 m), which offers a splendid view of the Mainarde group.
The stage represents a variant of the Sentiero Italia (which from Rivisondoli bends south-east, towards Pescolanciano, and then heads south-west towards Isernia), preferred for the cultural interest of the village of Picinisco and the scenic beauty of the Mountains of the Meta.
In the initial stretch, from Picinisco to Prati di Mezzo, the signs are totally absent and often the track must be guessed.
In the uphill stretch towards Prati di Mezzo it is possible to meet very territorial sheepdogs: be careful.
The only water point is in Prati di Mezzo.
From Picinisco, we take the asphalted road and start to climb (approximately 700 m drop) gently towards Prati di Mezzo. After about 4 km, at a sharp hairpin bend, we leave the road and take an old mule track in the woods, not easy to spot, very old and little traveled, often invaded by tall grass: the signs are completely absent and the GPS track must be monitored. We continue like this, without climbs, up to Prati di Mezzo, where we find a bar and a fountain.
After a break, from Prati di Mezzo we pass a gate for the animals and resume the path, from here on well marked; we continue to climb (about 550 m height difference) gently along the Vallone della Meta, alternating woods with pasture meadows. The trees are gradually disappearing and we reach without difficulty the eastern shoulder of Monte La Meta, at an altitude of 1,967 m; from here, the more skilled hikers can face the ramp (approximately 250 m height difference) that leads to the top of the mountain, an effort amply rewarded by the splendid view over the Lago di Barrea and the surrounding mountains - if clear, the Tyrrhenian Sea appears to the west!
From the shoulder, we start the descent (about 550 m drop), first on stony ground, then on comfortable meadows; back in the beech forest, we quickly arrive at the Sorgente della Fonte. We cross Piano delle Forme and, turning north, we reach the Rifugio Campitelli.
The mountain range of the Monti della Meta, with its peaks over two thousand meters (the highest is Monte Meta, 2,242 m), separates Lazio from Abruzzo and Molise.
A natural barrier that was also the border for the Italic population of the Samnites and the Volsci.
The Rifugio Campitelli is located in the municipality of Alfedena where the Samnite city of Aufidena once stood, in the locality of Monte Curino.
Conquered by the Romans in the 3rd century BC, during the third Samnite war, Aufidena was a city made up of fortifications (oppida) and placed in control of the Sangro river valley.
The first to discover the remains of the Samnite city was Antonio De Nino, a local historian, in 1877.
Not far from the bivouac, in the Piano delle Forme, there is a small pond frequented by the local fauna. Wonderful herds of deer can be seen early in the morning.
In Abruzzo there are numerous dishes based on lamb; one of the tastiest is the lamb stew with cacio & ova (cheese and eggs). The meat, cut into small pieces, is sautéed with eggs and seasoned pecorino.
Rifugio Campitelli, in the locality of the same name (unattended, the keys must be requested at the Municipality of Alfedena). Tel. +39 0864 87114 - +39 0864 87432
Starting point reachable by car.
Starting point reachable by bus from the city of Sora.
Here the LINK to check the timetables.
Starting point NOT reachable by train.
Va' Sentiero is a grassroot project, thanks to the spontaneous contribution oft housands of people.
Even the most complicated dream, a 7,000km uphill dream,
can be achieved... together.