Monday, January 26, 2009

La Fortezza di Civitella del Tronto (The fort of Civitella del Tronto)

26 gennaio, 2009
Well, around here, when we get a couple of hours of sunshine, it is time for a celebration or a roadtrip. Bacco and I decided on the latter today and visited an interesting site 30 minutes from Nascondiglio di Bacco in neighboring Abruzzo.
I was cleaning some shelves with our tourist information when I came across the brochure for this fort which I have seen from the road to Teramo a few times, but never visited. Descending from here into the valley of the Tronto river, thus the name, we then ascended into St. Egidio alla Vibrata and then followed a beautiful stretch of narrow highway to the town of Civitella del Tronto.
I parked at the city entrance and Bacco and I walked into the main square with its little Monday morning market, then headed up, WAY up to the fort. As Bacco hasn't been properly trained on scale mobile or escalators, we had to climb the stairways instead. Luckily, Bacco was welcomed inside at no charge, but his owner was asked to pay 4 euros. The fort was well designed and full of cisterns to provide water during sieges and was located at the border between the Papal states and the kingdom of Naples. It is about a half kilometer long and was built in the mid to late 1500's. After the kingdom of Naples, it was controlled by the Bourbons, but was destroyed during the battles for italian unity in 1861. Its walls were destroyed to prevent reuse of the fort, but has been in the midst of reconstruction as an historical site since 1985.
Inside are churches where mass graves of killed soldiers are located, soldier's quarters, secret passages, cisterns, long tree lined streets and all in all a great place to play hide and go seek!
It has great views of our neck of the woods, Ascoli Piceno province as well as Mt. Piselli and the hills of Abruzzo.
It makes for a nice visit and a bit further on, one could make a day of it with a visit to Teramo and lunch in Campli at Locanda del Pompa, where those most faithful of blog readers will recall I enjoyed a nice lunch with my friends from Taiwan.
I am spending the rainy, muddy days improving my mind, watching "The Teaching Company's" lecture series on Dark Energy and Dark Matter ( and for any of you who have problems getting to sleep, I highly recommend this dvd set) and also History of Ancient Rome. There are definitely some things you aren't exposed to in a small town high school and a 6 year medical school, so I am trying to make up for my lack. I must say, I am learning a lot of new stuff about subatomic particles. When I last studied this stuff, there were just neutrons, protons and electrons. Now there are up quarks, down quarks, neutrinos, all sorts of anti-matter, MACHOS, WIMPS & possibly Higg's bosons as well. Wow, science has just passed me by!
If you have free time, mud time or vacation time, I highly recommend one of the series of college level lectures they provide: everything from fine arts and music to science, philosophy, religion, history, business and economy. There are always big sales at various times of the year of every topic, which is the time to buy your favorite. Check them out at
Here is the slide show of my daytrip to The fort of Civitella del Tronto
The pictures are of Offida and Ripatransone wayyyy in the distance from the Abruzzan hilltop of Civitella, a new favorite Bacco photo and an abandoned farmhouse below the fort.

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