Speaking of wild mushrooms: in the meadows above Forca di Valle and Cerchiara, you may find the so-called Spinaroli (Calocybe Gambosa) and Prataioli (Agaricus Campestris), depending on the time and weather conditions; they grow in mystical “fairy rings”, on patches of dark grass, nourished by the mycelium.
We also have truffles in our area. The “scorzone” and black truffle are very common, and go particularly well with fettuccine.
On the high meadows people go to collect the “voliche” (Chenopodium Bonus-Henricus), a type of wild spinach growing at high altitudes, and a local dish at mountain village restaurants.
The abundance of fruit trees and olive groves is self-evident, producing excellent untreated fruit and exquisite extra vergine olive oil. In fact, one of the origins of the name of our Valley can be traced back to the presence of olive and fig trees in this area.
No woods without water – close to the Rocca di Pagliara, you will find the so-called “Piane del fiume” and the water springs of the Ruzzo river with its waterfalls; the nearby Venarossa gorge may remind some of you of the famous “Rivendell” in “The Lord of the Rings”.
These places are near the village of Pretara, not far from Isola del Gran Sasso, just a short walk away and easy to reach.
The Ruzzo river supplies most of Abruzzo with drinking water, but is also known for its cold water, which is a pleasure to swim in on a hot summer’s day. At the “Piane del fiume” you will find picnic benches and barbecues in local stone, where you can light a fire safely and enjoy our food. So why not bring along everything you need for a nice barbecue and combine a nice walk, cool swim and fresh food, enjoying nature at its best. Our secret tip: cool your drinks and watermelon in the cold water of the river!
When you drive along the A24 motorway towards L’Aquila, on your right, enclosed in a natural amphitheater of rocks and woods, you may spot an impressive waterfall that plunges from a stone balcony into a secret wood below. You can even stop to take a picture! But how about taking a hike to see and admire this spectacle from up close? It is called Cascata di Biselli, after a small village nearby that is no longer inhabited, and where the path starts that takes you to the base of the waterfall from Fano a Corno; the waterfall is locally known by another name: “il Pisciarellone”. Seen from below the drop of water of over 100 meters is even more impressive. In spring, when thawing snow increases the waterflow, the stream forks and creates a double waterfall: what a spectacle! The wind plays with splashes of water , the sun, when it peeps out, draws rainbows, and the pool below is inviting you to take a dip … If you were you looking for paradise, you may just have found it!