|Clck per allargare|
The tratturo from Celano to Foggia originally started from a shore of the former Celano lake, close to the village of Quatranelle, near Paterno. The lake has now been drained and replaced by the "Conca del Fucino".
The starting point of my 2013 journey did not coincide with the actual beginning of the tratturo but with the centre of the village of Celano for reasons related to accommodation. I joined the tratturo a few kilometers after its starting point, near the A25 highway.
If I were to do it again...
The leg was retraced starting from the actual beginning of the Tratturo. In the first stretch, up to Collarmele, there should not be any problems. From Collarmele up to the Forca Caruso pass, an initial stretch which I did not take runs over an open ground for about 900 m. Depending on the season there may be problems due to tall grass. Apart from that stretch, the route up to the pass is along cart tracks, so the journey should be easy. Just before the pass, the path is interrupted by vegetation, but the obstacle can easily be bypassed.
Two hairpin bends on the descent towards Goriano Sicoli can be avoided by following a path over the methane pipeline. I missed the beginning of the path, so I followed the road, but right of way should not be a problem.
The first kilometres stretch over the former shore of the Celano lake, which is clearly flat, so they were useful to warm up my muscles. I was disappointed at first: the tratturo is quite visible from satellite images, but its majesty in the plain cannot be appreciated despite it being 111 meters wide, as imposed by Royal Decree. This is largely due to the fact that the remaining paths which still run along the tratturo are usually located on one of its sides, while the former tratturo is privately owned: the division into small fenced-off inaccessible plots prevents the view as a the whole. The situation changes when the tratturo starts climbing. The green strip becomes evident then and it is spectacular. This is the sight that reveals itself, for example, when trekkers leave the Conca del Fucino and begin climbing the hill towards the village of Collarmele: the tratturo is clearly visible up to where it is interrupted by a long railway embankment.
Past Collarmele, the traces of the tratturo are no longer visible on either the IGM maps or the satellite maps. It may have coincided with the current route of the SS5 road, which heads towards the Forca Caruso pass, or there may not have been a real track, since a vast plateau, which slowly rises up to the pass, is located immediately after Collarmele: shepherds may have been free to choose the direction they preferred.
My original idea was to take advantage of the SS5, but things change from a theoretical study to a real situation. After a drinking trough located at the exit of the village (a clear indication that the direction was correct!), the heat and the idea of a long walk on hot asphalt made me think of an alternative solution: the wind park on the hill. It was the right choice since it was cool, the view was beautiful and, above all, there was no asphalt in sight. In practice, the pass of Forca Caruso could be reached by walking on dirt roads only. Very good.
From the pass, a path leads rapidly down to the SP9 road and from there onwards the slope is almost completely on asphalt. Along the road I came across another trough with drinkable water, clear proof of the former passage of flocks. Cutting a few bends may be possible in places, but the starting points of the paths were not clear... and I missed them. Near the village of Goriano Sicoli, the arrival town of the first stage, the asphalt can at last be left once again for dirt roads.
The first day of the journey was easy, reaching the small village in the early afternoon. Why do not use the time available for a small tour? And here there comes an unpleasant surprise. The centre of the town, which was very pretty and well-kept, still shows signs of the earthquake which hit the area of L'Aquila in 2009. There were barriers everywhere and most houses were uninhabited. The hope is that renovation works may soon begin, so as to bring such a beautiful village back to life.