After picking up a rental car in Pompeii, we drove to Pescara enjoying every moment of the newfound freedom. For some reason, being confined to a bus, train or plane for the last four months and not being able to move about at our own pace was getting to us. Don’t get us wrong; riding on a coach bus with a driver that’s on his cell phone as he drives way too fast while passing another vehicle around curves is adventurous. We just like to take drives in the car and experience things the way we want to and stop along the way to take in the sights. We passed through farm country and through tunnels on mountain passes with the occasional castle appearing on a random hillside.
We used the trusty Air B and B site to book our room just across the street from the beach in Pescara. The funny thing is, we didn’t even go to the beach, and instead we took the advice of our gracious host Alassandro and drove to visit the medieval town of Santo Stefano di Sessanio and the historic Rocca Calascio castle. Both of these destinations were about an hour and a half from Pescara, set in the hills overlooking vast valleys of farmland. Santo Stefano di Sessanio is a very sleepy village lined with cobblestone walking paths and narrow roads. It has very few residents and a couple of merchants including a café and restaurant. There is also a school and post office, but that’s about all we saw. The buildings were amazing, sitting there on the side of the hill constructed out of stone, and lying in between them was a maze of winding walkways and stairs all made out of stone too. It was our first experience with a traditional village that is commonplace throughout Italy.
Our next stop was at Rocca Calascio, a medieval castle (or what’s left of it) that sits atop a hill overlooking the valleys below. As we walked the paths around the castle, we felt as if we were on the set of a movie. The majestic area surrounding the castle had pathways leading into fields littered with remnants of stonewalls and areas where villages once stood. The castle itself was quite small, but looked to have a lot of surroundings structures at one time. There were only a couple of tourists in the area, which made our visit to both of these places very nice.
We had a wonderful day driving through the countryside of Italy and visiting both of these historical places and recommend you doing the same if you are ever in the area.