If the presence of the great rocky formations of the Gran Sasso and the Maiella is one of the main attractions of Abruzzo, it is also true that the charm of this land lies especially in the impression of space and light that the tourist gets as he wanders among these wide expanses, gentle green hills, lakes and stupendous wild inland views. The mountains are harsh and overcast like the peaks of the Gran Sasso (with a sheer wall 1000 metres high on the Teramo side), wild and wooded, a true ultimate Paradise, like the Maiella; but there are also Dolomite types like the Sirente. The plateau of the Rocche is a charming place, with Ovindoli, Rocca di Mezzo and Rocca di Cambio, a summer and winter sports resort at a height above sea level between 1329 and 1434 metres. This is an ideal spot for excursionists; the beauty of the mountains, the characteristic steep bends and the remains of old walls from he Longobard period leave memories that will not be forgotten. Winter and summer, Prati di Tivo, near Pietracamela, attracts skiers, walkers, trekking enthusiasts and rock-climbers intent on scaling the mighty Gran Sasso which, over a length of about thirty kilometres, thrusts skywards a number of peaks more than 2500 metres high with series of calcareous and dolomitic rocks. Anyone in search of peace and nature can find plenty in Abruzzo: vast forests (in the Abruzzo National Park), rare protected animals (bears, wolves, chamois, deer, golden eagles and the recently saved lynx, a splendid feline), deep green valleys, high mountain plateaus, fabulous table-lands (Pezza, Campo Felice, Cinquemiglia), imposing views of solitude and silence. All this is well protected and equipped with facilities for visitors. The mountainous inland area (in the provinces of L'Aquila, Teramo and Chieti and part of Pescara) offer about thirty winter sports resorts that are open from December on; these resorts have hundreds of lift systems, skilifts and cable cars including the one at Campo Imperatore which is one of the most modern in Europe, able to carry as many as 700 passengers per hour. During the winter period these modern, well-equipped stations are visited by many skiers. Most of them are in the province of L'Aquila and precisely at Roccaraso, Pescocostanzo, Rivisondoli, Campo di Giove, Tagliacozzo, Scanno, Campo Felice, Rocca di Mezzo, Rocca di Cambio, Ovindoli, Pescasseroli and Campo Imperatore; the other stations are also excellent, situated on the Maiella in the province of Chieti and on the Gran Sasso in the province of Teramo at Prati di Tivo di Pietracamela, Pratoselva di Fano Adrian and Monte Piselli. There are plenty of fine hotels of every category, pensions, restaurants, dance halls, night clubs, swimming pools and ice rinks (at Roccaraso and Pescocostanzo). In winter, the season begins in late December. In most resorts it is possible to ski right up to Easter. Road and motorway connections are excellent. Ski trains and buses run from various towns. Towns with fine old architecture like Scanno, Tagliacozzo, Pescocostanzo and Rivisondoli offer the tourist nature, monuments, style and entertainment for the young, including race courses, riding tracks, off-road and rough-riding tracks. The Abruzzo National Park is a superb nature reserve covering 40,000 hectares of woods and mountains. There are over a million visitors every year, from Italy and abroad, who come both to ski and to see the Park with its zoos, animal enclosures, oases for protected animals, shops selling local craft products, monuments. Charming little villages perfectly integrated with nature ensure first class hospitality, there is plenty of accomodation which is well signposted. At Lake Barrea in the Park, which is perfectly preserved in its natural state, it is possible to observe wild animals as they come to drink in the evening; other attractions are fishing and kite flying competitions, but the greatest of all is unspoilt nature. Lake Scanno (at 922 metres), a blue-green crystal among the mountains, is a tiny scrap of peace beside one of the most beautiful villages in the Region; it is sparkling clean and is famous for the ornate old costumes worn by the women, delicious sweets and artistic jewellery. There are more than twenty hotels of every category. Lake Campotosto, at a height of 1400 metres, is a huge wild artificial basin reflecting the bright clean sky of the highest mountains in the Apennines. Another charming place is the little lake at Popoli is the source of the river Pescara, "il Salto di Zompo lo Schioppo", near Morino in Valle Roveto is a solitary place of wild beauty. The Region has typical Karst formations, rich in water, springs, woods, waterfalls, lakes and mountain ponds, places where the tourist can find what is most needed today - pure, clean, solitary nature. Caramanico Terme, in the province of Pescara, is the only spa in the region, situated on the slopes of the Maiella, a place to relax and take care of one's health, in an old medieval village (founded in the year 980) with noble old traditions. The salsobromoiodic sulphurous waters (the best known in the world for their high content of hydrogen sulphide) flow from the cave of Snta Croce (the springs is known as "La salute"); here they are piped down to the nearby spa around which the new village has grown up, between two bubbling blue streams, just a step away from enchanting itineraries in the forest oases and nature reserves, from old Benedictine monasteries and moments of timeless peace. At Caramanico treatment is given for rheumatism, arthritis, congestion of the lungs and many other ailments brought on by modern civilization.

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