On the Cover: Capestrano

Nestled within the heart of the picturesque Abruzzo region in Italy, the charming village of Capestrano stands as a hidden gem, a place where time seems to slow down, and history and nature intertwine harmoniously. Surrounded by the majestic Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park and adorned with centuries-old architecture, Capestrano offers a glimpse into the authentic essence of Italian village life.

Capestrano's history stretches back thousands of years, leaving behind a rich tapestry of culture and heritage. Evidence of its ancient past can be found in the renowned Warrior of Capestrano, a colossal statue dating back to the 6th century BC, now housed in the National Archaeological Museum of Abruzzo. This iconic statue showcases the region's ancient Samnite roots and is a testament to the village's historical significance.

The medieval village center, with its narrow winding streets, stone buildings, and well-preserved architecture, provides a palpable sense of stepping back in time. The medieval castle, Castello Piccolomini, overlooks the village, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes and providing insight into the region's strategic history.

Capestrano's cultural treasures are not limited to its historical relics. The village's vibrant community continues to celebrate its heritage through local festivals, traditions, and culinary delights. Visitors are welcomed to experience these festivities firsthand, participating in events such as the Feast of St. John the Baptist, where locals gather to celebrate with food, music, and dance.

The local cuisine of Capestrano reflects the region's agricultural roots and the use of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Delicacies like hearty pastas, cured meats, and artisan cheeses pay homage to Abruzzo's culinary heritage. Every bite carries a story of generations past and a deep connection to the land.

Situated at the doorstep of the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park, Capestrano boasts a breathtaking natural setting. The park, encompassing rugged mountains, verdant valleys, and diverse wildlife, provides ample opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to explore. Hiking trails lead through pristine landscapes, revealing cascading waterfalls, alpine meadows, and dense forests. The park also houses the enchanting Campo Imperatore, a high-altitude plateau often referred to as "Italy's Little Tibet."

In a world often characterized by hustle and bustle, Capestrano offers a serene escape where tranquility is a way of life. The slower pace encourages visitors to savor the simple joys of exploring cobblestone streets, striking up conversations with friendly locals, and soaking in the beauty of untouched nature. The absence of large crowds and commercialization fosters an authentic experience that feels like a true retreat from the demands of modernity.

Capestrano's unique allure lies in its ability to seamlessly weave together the past and the present. As modernity advances, this village remains a testament to the value of preserving history while embracing the opportunities of the future. Its timeless beauty, cultural treasures, and natural wonders make Capestrano a destination that promises both exploration and introspection, a place where the echoes of the past guide the steps of those who seek to discover its enchantment.