Abruzzo Coast heading inland to Sulmona

Old Jun 8th, 2021, 08:15 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 98
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Abruzzo Coast heading inland to Sulmona

Like us all, my plans for Italy were thwarted in 2020 and might not even be likely in 2022 from Australia. However, I'm looking at the bright side - plenty of time to drill down, perfect and fine-tune my itinerary.

The section I particularly need help with is: which is the nicest, most picturesque route to take from the coast (anywhere between Vasto and Francavilla al Mare) to get to Sulmona, ie SS650/San Salvo or SS652/Fossacesia or any other suggestions.

Originally we were going to stay the night in Castel di Sangro and then just stop for lunch in Sulmona on the way to Gran Sasso Park. But Castel di Sangro is basically a ski town and for the 30-40 minutes extra to arrive in Sulmona, I think that would be more worthwhile. From there, we intend to spend two nights in L'Aquila, exploring the area with a couple of short "tourist level" day walks to get the best vistas possible. So any insights and experiences regarding the tram etc would be appreciated. I am already using the national park site to explore walking tracks - Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga. It was suggested last year that visiting Gran Sasso from Ascoli Piceno might be nicer. But I've already been there and after L'Aquila, we are heading toward Siena, so pretty much want to stay on the western side of the mountains. TIA
Redlandsneen is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2021, 09:44 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 1,096
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The SS are basically high speed roads. In spots you'll have great views but they exist so people can whiz by instead of taking all the curves of the older roads.

In other words you take those roads to save time not for any other reason.

SS650 is pretty boring IMHO until you get all the way west. Before that it's in the valley with all the towns high up above it.
Traveler_Nick is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2021, 11:17 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 98
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Understood, thanks. Have you been to Sulmona? I'm just wondering if it might be better to come across further north up the coast and stay in the Teramo area. Then head out via the autostrada through the pass toward L'Aquila for Siena. Most of the driving itineraries seem to be on the west side of the range, although there is a nice drive from Sulmona along SS17 to Barisciano and Santo Stefano de Sessanio and Castel Monte on the way to L'Aquila. It's so hard to figure out what to do in a short period of time. Have you been through the park?
Redlandsneen is offline  
Old Jun 8th, 2021, 11:54 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 1,096
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I haven't been in a while.

I'm assuming you're using Google Maps or something similar to plot times. Pick the route with the least small road . Many of those smaller roads have a 90km/h official speed limit but at times you'll be lucky to hit 40. That messes up Google.

You want a route that's mostly SS until the very last minute.
Traveler_Nick is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2021, 04:52 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 237
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi - We were there in 2018. You don't indicate where you're coming from; are you staying in a specific town on the coast? Sulmona isn't exactly "on the way" to L'Aquila from the coast unless you're farther south, I suppose. I could offer insight if you would provide a bit more info. (Did you specifically want to see Sulmona, or is that a pit stop, so to speak, etc.) It might be prettier (or just easier) to go north on the coast, then head inland from Pescara or something like that. If Gran Sasso, and those areas are really the target, there are many towns around there that are worth a visit. We planned to stay in Sulmona, but when we were there, it was full on rain, and I wanted to do photography, so we headed back to our airbnb in Fossacesia from our place in Calascio. Ahhh Abruzzo!

I'm sure a lot of others will weigh in, too. Good luck!

Last edited by Rocket79; Jun 9th, 2021 at 04:55 AM.
Rocket79 is online now  
Old Jun 9th, 2021, 08:53 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 98
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello Rocket79, thanks for your quick reply.

We are coming from Puglia (Polignare a Mare). I plan to use the autostrada to Vasto before heading to the coast for lunch on a trabucco. I have narrowed it down to a few recommended ones which are located between Marina di San Vito and Francavilla al Mare. After a relaxing lunch, we want to get close to Gran Sasso. Initially, we were going to overnight in Castel di Sangro (southeast of Sulmona) and then head to L'Aquila with a stop in Sulmona for lunch. According to Google Maps, which I know tends to underestimate drive times significantly, it should take around 40 minutes from there to Sulmona on the SS. So I thought why "waste" a night in Castel di Sangro if we could head straight there and have a morning in Sulmona before heading to L'Aquila via SS17, stopping at Barisciano and Santo Stefano di Sessanio and time allowing Castel del Monte.

Obviously, that is a big push just to see Sulmona, when it might be wiser to forego Sulmona and SS di Sessanio, and instead head further up the coast and across to the park from there (SS150 Roseto degli Aruzzi) and basing ourselves on the western side of the range. What I don't want to do is one night in one place and one night in another. It just all depends on which is the better "base" to see the highest massif peaks, whether the west side would be more dramatic for views, short walks, etc. The only draw to Sulmona was a program I saw with Silvia Colloca touring around Marche and Abruzzo when she went there. Mind you, I was in Ascoli Piceno in 2017 and sadly did not venture farther south toward the mountains.

So I am open to ideas that people can share from their experiences. At least if the weather is bad, like you had in Sulmona, the upside of staying in L'Aquila is there is enough to see in that city which is more than a ski resort.


Redlandsneen is offline  
Old Jun 9th, 2021, 09:03 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 98
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello again. Just looking at Piazza Garibaldi, Sulmona, on Trip Advisor and the Wednesday and Saturday markets are something to behold, plus you are right at the base of the mountains - it looks gorgeous.
Redlandsneen is offline  
Old Jun 10th, 2021, 10:58 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 237
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi - I hope some of the members who've traveled more in this area will chime in. From what you're telling us, it seems like where you decide to stay will depend on where you're coming from after lunch (you don't want to back track). Please make sure your trabocco of choice is open and that you don't need reservations. There are several roads into the inland. I would have loved to get to Sulmona and the surrounding villages, but it was a dayslong downpour situation.

L'Aquila isn't a bad spot to just base yourselves for Gran Sasso, so maybe you'd want to just push through and stay there for a night or two longer. You could do a day trip to Sulmona, as well; it's only a little over an hour from L'Aquila. We are the type who like to stay longer in one spot, rather than going for 2 nights here and 2 nights there. It all depends on how you like to travel. As far as Gran Sasso, I would plan on at least a day to do the area villages, like Santo Stefano, Castel del monte, Calascio, etc. They are small, and together can be done in a day. Then another day to drive through the park itself. It is stunning. Feel free to keep asking, my experiences are pretty limited, but we were in Abruzzo for 3 weeks and saw quite a bit. (Even went into Ascoli for a day!)
Rocket79 is online now  
Old Jun 10th, 2021, 03:21 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 98
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for this. I might have other questions later, but when you say "Drive through the park" what exactly do you mean? The autostrada cuts through to the Teramo side. Can you give me some examples of driving routes. As mentioned, the official park website has 16 driving itineraries, mostly around Teramo or at either end of the park.
Redlandsneen is offline  
Old Jun 11th, 2021, 05:03 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 237
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
So I have attached a really primitive screenshot that shows where we were. We didn't have time to drive the length and breadth of the park; it's huge. You really don't want to miss Campo Imperatore, though.

Not great at this but hope it gives you an idea.
Rocket79 is online now  
Old Jun 11th, 2021, 09:27 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 98
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks! That's really helpful. Even the comment about not missing Campo Imperatore is important because even though I've read about it, I wasn't sure what the views are like. If I don't get a clear view of the tallest massif from any vantage point, I've missed my objective. The drive from Sulmona could encompass the route you took. I thought about Sulmona as a day trip from L'Aquila for a minute, but I think the push from Puglia should end there so we can use the evening for a lovely meal and the morning hopefully to experience the market if we could somehow arrive on a Tuesday or Friday night. This is what my current thinking is anyway. So on the full day in L'Aquila, I thought we could cross the range on the A24 and spend the day in that area which I believe encompasses Campo Imperatore as well.
Redlandsneen is offline  
Old Jun 13th, 2021, 11:33 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 7,292
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Traveler_Nick View Post
The SS are basically high speed roads. In spots you'll have great views but they exist so people can whiz by instead of taking all the curves of the older roads.

In other words you take those roads to save time not for any other reason.

SS650 is pretty boring IMHO until you get all the way west. Before that it's in the valley with all the towns high up above it.
SS stands for Strada Statale, which means state road. Some of them are limited access high ways for part or all of the distance, but others are just 2-lane roads.

The SS650 is in most places a 2-lane road with a limit of 90 km per hour, which is not particularly speedy. However, it is a limited access road, so many drivers will be exceeding the speed limit.
bvlenci is online now  
Old Jun 14th, 2021, 02:26 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 98
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello bvlenci, nice to hear from you again!

Currently, I am of the mind to take the route of high speed roads from Pescara, or further south Francavilla al Mare, via Chieti to Popoli/Sulmona. They look a bit intimidating though because of the way they intersect and Google Maps' directions seem confusing. Of course, I'll be relying on GPS to guide me the best way. Do you reckon this makes sense? Do you have any advice on how to avoid getting lost ?

From Polignare a Mare, as stated, we're only going to the coast to have a relaxing lunch on a trabucco and then head inland to visit Gran Sasso. If we can arrive in Sulmona by 5pm, that would be fine. Google Maps estimates less than 2 hours, but that might be a little conservative.

I'd appreciate any further insight on this aspect of the driving portion of our trip.

Thanks.
Redlandsneen is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Midnightsun
Europe
4
Jun 5th, 2021 01:59 AM
ekscrunchy
Europe
9
Apr 26th, 2009 11:23 AM
Jackie_in_Italy
Europe
6
Nov 21st, 2003 05:57 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:05 AM.