Gran Sasso d’Italia is the highest mountain of the Apennines. It is wholly in Abruzzo, in the Provinces of L’Aquila, Teramo and Pescara. Corno Grande, its highest summit, is 2912 m. Corno Piccolo is 2655 m. From Capannelle Pass to Popoli Gorges the massif is 50 km long.
From 1991, the Gran Sasso’s territory, its valuable flora and fauna (Apennine wolf, occasionally Marsican bear, chamois of Abruzzo, deer, fox, lynx, golden eagle, Ortolan bunting, rock sparrow, Orsini viper, etc.) are protected by the National Park of Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga. Gran Sasso is about 130 km from Rome, 90 km from Pescara, 36 km from Teramo, 46 km from L’Aquila. Assergi, in Province of L’Aquila, is the nearest village to Corno Grande, the centerpiece of the National Park of Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga. Outlined by the sunset, the massif of Gran Sasso resembles a sleeping woman from the hills of Pescara. Hence the name of “Sleeping beauty” on tourist books and postcards.
Some villages in the National Park are worth visiting for their history. In the Province of L’Aquila, Santo Stefano di Sessanio, Rocca Calascio and Castel Del Monte were ruled by the Medics from XVI to XVIII century. In the Province of Teramo, Castelli is renowned for its secular tradition in ceramics, Isola Del Gran Sasso and Montorio al Vomano for their history and stunning landscapes. In the Province of Pescara, Carpineto della Nora for its ancient Benedectine abbey of Saint Bartholomew, Farindola for river Tavo’s valley, Bussi sul Tirino for Tirino river, and Civitella Casanova are worthy of remark.
The European most southern glacier of Calderone on Gran Sasso is one of the peculiarity of wonderful Nature of Abruzzo and the mirror of its vulnerability. Some scientists believe that the glacier will disappear in the next 10 years due to the global warming, and not only: the tunnel under Gran Sasso, the man-made lake of Campotosto, which has mitigated the climate of the massif, and the industrial pollution from 1960s are all responsible of the alteration of the environment. Gran Sasso is a giant to be worshipped.