Ride to the most beautiful plateau of Italy, Campo Imperatore, two hours away from Rome, also known as “Little Tibet”: an unbelievable wonder of nature.
For those who haven’t been there yet, put it on top of the “to do” list of places to see at least once in a lifetime, because you will never forget it.
We call it the “biker’s playground” because you can reach it from every side and discover in every direction, and don’t forget to get at the Astronomical Observatory to enjoy the breathtaking view. Riding up from Assergi to the Fossa di Paganica pass, or from the medieval village of Castel del Monte to the Capo la Serra pass, or from Farindola to the Vado di Sole, the horizon extends to the maximum and the view become immense when you look out over Campo Imperatore. Located in the heart of the Gran Sasso massif, within the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park, you travel at a variable altitude between 1500 and 1900 meters.
The plateau is characterized by the presence of small circular ponds of modest depth, among which the Pietranzoni Lake stands out in the middle of the plateau with a wide view behind the Corno Grande. Worth a stop for a breath at high altitude and lots of photos. Ph By Ra Boe / Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 de
In the south-east area of Campo Imperatore, called Fonte Vetica, surrounded by Monte Camicia, you can find the only forest the plateau. Nearby we find the so-called “butcher’s area” which are fixed refreshment points that sell meats, sausages, fresh meats and the much renowned “arrosticini” (tiny and delicious sheep meat skewers), such as the famous Mucciante Ristoro. I know you are already on google maps to find the exact point to enjoy a breathtaking view and an excellent meal thanks to the special areas equipped with tables, grills and barbecue, so check my map at the end of this article. Ph Di Ra Boe – Opera propria, CC BY-SA 3.0
The access to the plateau is guaranteed all year round thanks to the Gran Sasso cableway, which starts from the locality Fonte Cerreto and let you to reach the Hotel Campo Imperatore, a ski resort station during winter. During this season the roads are often closed due to the snow, so don’t forget to give it check before getting there.
A bit of history
The plateau is famous in the history of Italy for being the last prison of Benito Mussolini in 1943, before being freed by the Germans. His room in the Hotel Campo Imperatore, with its original furnishings perfectly preserved, is now a paid museum and is visited by curious and nostalgic. The hotel itself is still fully functional and nearby we find the small church of the Madonna della Neve.