If you are planning a European vacation, consider visiting the the Gran Sasso (Great Stone) mountain range in the Abruzzi region of central Italy. This beautiful area might be your ideal vacation spot. You can ski, engage in other winter sports, simply enjoy nature or much more. Abruzzi, and especially Gran Sasso, is definitely off the beaten path, despite the fact that it is fairly close to Rome. Be sure to read the companion articles in this series that present eastern and western Abruzzi.
The Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park was established in 1991 with an area exceeding two thousand square kilometres (about 800 square miles) of mostly mountainous terrain located only 130 kilometers (approximately 80 miles) east of Rome. The area includes many rivers, many fine resorts, and relatively few non-Italian tourists. You may enjoy the winter sports facilities; Corno Grande, at just under three thousand meters (more than a mile and a half), is the highest peak in the Apennines. These peaks are snow-covered for much of the year. Below the Corno Grande peak you’ll find the Calderone Glacier, the southernmost glacier in Europe.
A hotel on the Campo Imperatore was once housed a particularly vicious snake in the grass, Italian fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini, imprisoned there from August until September 1943 when freed by a Nazi commando operation before meeting his end. On the other hand “The Gendarme” peak was renamed in 2005 "John Paul II Peak" to honor Pope John Paul II on what would have been his 85th birthday. He had visited the Gran Sasso many times, saying it reminded him of the mountains of his native Poland.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.Click to access the original, longer article on this Italian tourist location.
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