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CAMPO IMPERATORE / THE LITTLE TIBET – Abruzzo (IT)

Summary: Considered to be the LITTLE TIBET of Abruzzo for the wonder that distinguishes it, CAMPO IMPERATORE is a beautifully unreal vast tableland, with glacial origins, located about 1,800 meters above sea level in the province of L’Aquila in the heart of the Gran Sasso Massif and inside the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park.

Campo Imperatore was also, along with the nearby area called Campo Felice, one of former POPE and now SAINT JOHN PAUL II’s favorite mountainous places in Abruzzo.

Home to a SKI RESORT of the same name covering a total of 15 km of ski slopes It is an area which is also a SHORT DISTANCE from the COAST; in fact if you are lucky with the weather it might happen to be able to go SKIING and go to the BEACH (SUNBATHING or SWIMMING) in the same day.

The entire valley has been often used as SET for MOVIES and COMMERCIALS (i.e. LADYHAWK starring Michelle Pfeiffer).

Not far from Campo Imperatore we can find the “ROCCA CALASCIO” Castle, also known as LADYHAWK CASTLE, a medieval castle that now you can VISIT FOR FREE.

Full Description:

47Considered to be the LITTLE TIBET of Abruzzo for the wonder that distinguishes it, CAMPO IMPERATORE is a vast tableland, with glacial origins, located about 1,800 meters above sea level in the province of L’Aquila in the heart of the Gran Sasso Massif and inside the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park.

Different hours and lights within the same day and seasons affect so much on the changing colors of this landscape which is almost unreal.

1513The vast plateau, as well as for its majesty, is famous in the Italian history also for being the last prison of Benito Mussolini in 1943 before being released by the Germans in a military operation called OPERATION OAK, during the SECOND WORLD WAR; his room at the Hotel Campo Imperatore, with original furnishings perfectly preserved, is now a MUSEUM that you can visit for a fee. The hotel itself is still fully perfectly working.

Campo Imperatore was also, along with the nearby area called Campo Felice, one of former POPE and now SAINT JOHN POUL II’s favorite mountainous places in Abruzzo. SAINT JOHN PAUL II used to hang out in this area especially during summer season searching of solitude and meditation; for this reason one of Gran Sasso Massif’s summit, the so called JOHN PAUL II (Giovanni Paolo II, in Italian) Peak, was named after him.

Campo Imperatore is home to a SKI RESORT of the same name, the first born in the Apennines, among the highest ski resort in the whole mountainous chain and on average the MOST SNOWFALL of the entire Italian territory (3 SKI FACILITIES covering a total of 15 km of ski slopes for ALPINE SKIING, including over 60 km for NORDIC SKIING, snow park for SNOWBOARDERS, HALF PIPE and BOARDER CROSS tracks, and a ring for CROSS-COUNTRY skiing).

21 sunbathingIt is an area which is also a SHORT DISTANCE from the COAST (80 km / 50 miles and 1 and ½ hour driving), in fact if you are lucky with the weather it might happen to be able to go SKIING and go to the BEACH (SUNBATHING or SWIMMING) in the same day.

The entire valley has been often used as SET for MOVIES and COMMERCIALS, among which LADYHAWK starring Michelle Pfeiffer (1985), THE NAME OF THE ROSE with Sean Connery (1986) and THE AMERICAN with George Clooney (2010), just to name a few.

Not far from Campo Imperatore we can find the “ROCCA CALASCIO” Castle, also known as LADYHAWK CASTLE. Located on a ridge at the height of 1,460 meters, it was used as a MILITARY observation POST in order to communicate with other towers and nearby castles to even reach the Adriatic Sea Coastline. Today you can VISIT ROCCA CALASCIO for free (and it’s Worth losing yourself in the MEDIEVAL ATMOSPHERES dated back to the year 1000 AD) while staying at the “Rifugio della Rocca”, a beautiful HOTEL located RIGHT UNDER the ANCIENT TOWER … but I’ll talk about this in another article!!!