That’s what I thought when I first saw the tiny village of Castrovalva, perched high on a sliver of rock in The Apennines of Abruzzo. This was just last weekend and my journey there (accompanied by my dear friends Novelia and Peppe) had been planned at the last minute. My main mission was to visit La Porta di Parchi, an organic sheep and goat farm, also an agriturismo. It was late on a Friday afternoon and we were scoping out the farm and preparing for my interviews with Nunzio, the master shepherd, for the following morning. And, as good fortune would have it, we took a 45-minute side trip to Castrovalva. After all, you can see the village from La Porta di Parchi.
One access road and a population of fifteen people.
Yes, one steep road with lovely hairpin turns is the only way to reach the town. I thought to myself that surely this town would be cut off from all other people and services during the icy and snowy conditions of an Abruzzo winter. But, no, I was told that the roads are quickly cleared in such conditions.
So, why only fifteen inhabitants? That’s the big headscratcher. The views of vast, unspoiled land (much of it national parks) seem to be endless. The town is picturesque. When I entered Castrovalva, I felt as though I was walking into a fairytale setting. The town certainly doesn’t look like a ghost town. It’s quaint and clean. Beautiful vignettes are everywhere. The homes seem well maintained. And the two people we saw during our walk through town were incredibly friendly.
I would think people would be making a beeline to buy a home in this town. But, I guess its remote location and its height puts most people off. That’s too bad because, if peace, tranquility and over-the-top beauty are on your wishlist, you’d hit the jackpot here.
First historical mention of Castrovalva was in 1079
From historical documents. we know the town was in existence then. But, when was it actually born? I’m not sure anyone has the answer. We just know that it’s been around for a long, long time!
Take a brief tour with me…
Pour a cup of coffee, brew a cup of tea, or enjoy a glass of wine…and sit back for just over two minutes to walk the streets of Castrovalva with me, while stopping to take in stunning views. I hope, at the end of this video, you’ll put this town on your list of off-the-beaten-track gems in Italy.
And, stay tuned for an extensive four-part video story on La Porta di Parchi, another reason to make your way to Abruzzo!