Il Parco Nazionale del Gran SassoHere the prodigious treasures of nature live for thousands of years with an important cultural heritage. Ancient villages, archaeological sites, castles, shrines, monasteries, rural churches, hermitages and caves dot the stunning mountain scenery of the Park, a nature exceptionally rich in forests, springs, waterfalls, plains, plateaus, ridges and towering rock faces. It ‘an immense resource, also made crafts, local products, food, wine and folklore, to protect and enhance.
We invite you to visit natural environments and landscapes that characterize most of the park, through unusual nature trails to explore one of the most magical and best preserved.
The Gran Sasso massif is populated by at least 100,000 years.
Fragments of the femur of a Neanderthal man about 14 years of age, who lived 80,000 years ago during the Paleolithic, were found in the area of Calascio, in some narrow rocky cavities, called “Grottoni”, at an altitude of 670 m above sea level These are the remains of the oldest Neanderthal found in Abruzzi. In the rocky ravines there were bone chips of many different animals, which suggests that the species hunted were numerous: the wolf, leopard, horse, cave hyena, and even mice and lizards. Among the ungulates, prey preference were the deer, chamois, roe deer and ox ancestral. Coal fragments and flakes of flint have allowed us to reconstruct the habits of these Neanderthals; they butchered their prey in caves and ate raw or roasted over wood fires of juniper and fir; ricavavano the tips of spears from the rocks of Mount Scarafano and Monte Bolza. Relics found in field hazards attest that, in the Bronze Age, the prehistoric hunters crossed the territory from Campo Imperatore Campo hazards through the passes of the Portella della Sella and the Two Horns. In this era (XI-XIII century BC) there was certainly a settlement of hunter-gatherers in the area of Rocca Calascio, as evidenced by the remains of pottery found on site and an arrowhead, bronze, with two holes, considered, yet in recent years (2000), only in Italy.
Excavations in the cave to Male, 2 km from Assergi confirm the permanence of man settled in this area and Eneolithic in the Iron Age.
The numerous passages that connect the Teramo side with that of Aquila favored, since prehistoric times, intensive trade between the predominantly agricultural economy of the northern slope and the one based on farming of the southern side. In historical times, there is evidence of an intense exploitation of Campo Imperatore as pasture. After recompactation operated by the Normans in southern Italy, in this area were opened numerous cattle tracks [4], ie transit routes for transhumance of the animals, used by shepherds to lead their herds to the pastures of the plains in Puglia before the arrival of the rigid winter months.
Another interesting trade that has been present in the territory, and of which there is certainty that it was already practiced in the sixteenth century, is the exploitation of snow. This, obtained from these snowfields at high altitude, was stored in deep wells up to 20 meters and used for the production of summer sorbets and for medical purposes. The trade of the snow was regulated by the municipalities, which established special rates for the state concessions, and also tables that stilavano product evaluation. The snow, mainly, was divided into “black”, which meant that she had been collecting nearby countries, and with no guarantee of purity; and “candid”, a name which indicated the origin of the high mountain areas.
This type of commercial activity persisted until the early twentieth century.