From Alfedena to Forlì del Sannio

3 - From Alfedena to Forlì del Sannio

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August 9th, 2018 - Every morning, I wake up at dawn so that I can walk, as much as possible, in acceptable temperatures. The evening before, I always ask the managers of the accommodations I stay in to prepare a "basket" for breakfast, so as not to inconvenience them with early wake-up calls. This time, I did the same, but in the morning, I find Debora, the Vittorio's wife, already in the kitchen, ready to make me something hot. I appreciate her kindness very much: a good, calm, hot breakfast allows me to start the day with the right mood.

The sun is accompanied by the coolness left by yesterday's rain: the conditions are excellent, so I set off resolutely. The first section is supposed to be on a flat and easy dirt road, but after about a kilometer, the situation takes a turn for the worse. The dirt road is completely flooded due to the previous day's rain, and the tall grass doesn't allow me to see where I'm putting my feet. Since the side walls do not allow for deviations, the only option is to turn back. The stage is extended by 2 kilometers, but the worst thing is that 5 kilometers originally planned on the dirt road will become 5 kilometers on the Marsicana state road.

At first, the traffic is light, but over time it becomes heavy: I accelerate as much as I can to get off the road as soon as possible. The distant view of Castel di Sangro brings me comfort, as does the anticipation of reaching the Zittola Bridge, where my adventure began last year.

Once I reach the bridge, I could continue on the road or try to retrace the path of the tratturo. My maps do not show any path, but the satellite images clearly highlight the path of the tratturo. It also seems to be crossed by a dirt road. What to do? If things go wrong, I will have to turn back, but on the other hand, I've had enough of asphalt, and I would have the chance to see the Taverna della Zittola again, and also... oh well, let's give it a try!

When the tavern appears after a curve, my heart jumps into my throat: whether it goes well or not, the emotion aroused by memories of the previous year is a compensation that justifies the detour. The "pandetta" is still in its place, wishing travelers a good journey.

It's time to find out if the tratturo is passable. The trail I have prepared points towards the forest... it's not looking good... but no, the dirt road exists and someone has recently passed through with an agricultural vehicle: I'm finally on the tratturo with certainty!

The dirt road ends again on the main road. Just like the beginning of the Pescasseroli-Candela tratturo is currently occupied by the Marsicana State Road (SS83), from here on it is covered by the Abruzzese Apennine and Apulian-Sannitic State Road (SS17): what a shame. Thankfully, a new dual carriageway road now runs alongside the SS17, so traffic is almost non-existent. Moreover, just after a large roundabout, the trail branches off from the SS17 so I can reach Rionero Sannitico on a slightly uphill dirt road.

In town, I ask for directions to Forlì del Sannio, where I will lodge. They look at me doubtfully and after consulting with each other, they say:

"Maybe you mean Forli del Sannio!"
"I was sure it was named Forlì del Sannio," I reply, "but I think it's the same place."

Of course, they point me to the paved road, and no one has any idea where the tratturo passed in the past. Later on, I ask an elderly man the same question:

"Can you tell me where the trail to Forli del Sannio passed through?"
"Do you mean Forlì del Sannio?"

It seems like they are making fun of me! Depending on who I ask, the name of the town changes and the doubt still remains today: I can't say for sure whether the town I visited is called Forli or Forlì del Sannio. In the end, I manage to find the entrance to the trail, which fortunately turns out to be very visible. The rest of the day alternates between trail sections and road sections.

For my accommodation, I have to deviate from the trail and go to Forlì del Sannio... which I see perched on the hill in front of me. Luckily, I discover that the apartment is situated in the lowest part of the town, in the valley. A phone call to the manager and I find out the exact location of my accommodation. I propose a few options for you to choose from:

  1. at the lowest point of the town;
  2. in the center of the town;
  3. at the highest point of the town.

I think you can guess which one is the right answer. At least the accommodation is right above the only pizzeria in town.

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