The itinerary that our Guide, Tiziana Dicembre, is suggesting us today will be covered partly by car and partly hiking. It will take us to visit places of great historical, religious and natural significance within the National Park of Majella. Our virtual journey, that starts from the medieval atmosphere of a magnificent Abbey set in a beautiful natural scenario, will pass through the deep spirituality linked to a mysterious relic and will end in the magical atmosphere created by the azure waters of the Lavino river.
The Abbey of “San Liberatore a Majella”, one of the oldest medieval churches of the Benedictine Order of Monte Cassino, founded according to legend, by Carlo Magno, who appears portrayed in the apse precious frescos. These frescos survived centuries and neglect, witnessing a time of great wealth and power that this center of worship and culture exercised over a large territory. Today we can admire the solid Romanesque architectural layout and the beautiful mosaic floor of the thirteenth century that enriches the nave.
The Abbey is located on a plain near the Alento River. From here a path leads to the bottom of the gorge where the river flows and the path follows the river for a while. On our itinerary we will be able to admire how the river flows here with amazing jumps and whirls and we will make a short stop visiting Cave Tombs, cavities carved into the rock by a small community of hermits of the eighth and ninth century.
The ruins of the Menardo Castle, perched on the Ciumina hill, dominate the Pescara Valley passages and the Majella mountain passes. The origins of this castle are lost in the mists of time. Tradition says that it was built in one night by the Paladins of Carlo Magno as a defensive bulwark of the San Liberatore Abbey from Saracen raids. Reached only on foot via a steep path, it is a magic place, both for its glorious history and for the mysterious legends that hover around its massive walls.
Our journey will continue taking us to Manoppello where, in the Basilica of the “Volto Santo” (Holy Face), it is kept a unique relic: a small veil on which is imprinted a man’s face surprisingly similar to the Holy Sindone. Studies have been and are conducted to try and understand the origin of this veil and image. Apparently it is not a painting as there are no residual color on the veil. While scientists and religious try to clarify the mystery, the relic is object of great veneration among believers in a continuous encounter/clash between faith and science, between legend and history.
We will then head to the Lavino River Sulfurous Springs Park, a protected area of 40 hectares characterized by a number of sulfur springs that make the waters of Lavino River turn to a beautiful and evocative turquoise-blue color giving the place a magical and surreal atmosphere. Walking along the trail that follows the river we will be able to observe this unique ecosystem and its interaction with human activities, witnessed by the presence of an old mill, mute testimony of a not too far past.
If you want to contact Tiziana for more information about the above described places and the possibility of going on a real tour with her you may email: email@example.com