Castrovalva is like a bird’s nest built on top of a rocky spur. A solitary and quiet hamlet – home to a population of about thirty people – that looks over the Natural Reserve of the Gorges of the Sagittario (Riserva delle Gole del Sagittario).
In 1930, Dutch artist Maurits Cornelis Escher captured the small town – officially part of Anversa degli Abruzzi – in a whimsical landscape lithography (included in our gallery below). He said:
“I stopped on this narrow mule track almost an entire day, and drew the whole time. There was a school above me, and I could hear the voices of children singing clearly.”
The joyful noise of children is a rarity here today, except perhaps for the summer, when the hamlet attracts a number of tourists thanks to a well-equipped hospitality system.
However, Castrovalva’s charm is exactly in its silence and solitude. In a world of hue and cry, this is where all the noise just stops.
The Natural Reserve of the Gorges of the Sagittario opens wide all around, with the Sorgenti del Cavuto (which flow into the river Sagittario) and annexed Botanical Garden curated by WWF.
The area is also known for the magnificent Valley of the Lakes: visit San Domenico (with the hermitage of the same name, in Villalago), Scanno (at the foot of the wonderful village of the same name), and Lago Pio.