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Rocca Calascio: Ladyhawke Castle

Rocca Calascio is in the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park in the province of L'Aquila. The 'Ladyhawke castle' (called so affectionately because it features in the film Ladyhawke) is actually a fortress. The fortress is the highest fortress in the Appenines at an elevation of 1,460 metres. We took a visit with our little boys during our Summer holiday in 2014.

We parked our car and wound our way through the old town first. The abandoned medieval parts of the town that still remain above the newer part of the town are beautiful. There is something to discover on every corner.

Squidge (our toddler) was carried on W's shoulders and I helped Padawan along the trickier paths. I would say you definitely need proper hiking boots, or at least very good quality trainers for this trip. The boys were both very good, considering they had just turned 2 and 6 on this holiday.

Although it was fairly busy, no part was too crowded and we could take in the views and stop and admire the scenery when we wished. It was lovely to see people of all ages out enjoying a walk.

The octagonal building in the photos is the 17th century church, Santa Maria della Pieta.

I think Ladyhawke Castle is one of the most photogenic places I have been to in Abruzzo (along with Pacentro and Caramanico Terme). As you reach the castle, on one side you look down from the mountains to the valley and it is quite agricultural, a sort of pretty patchwork quilt of fields of gold and green. However, when you walk across to the other side there is a real bleakness to the beauty of the Gran Sasso park. I imagine it to be absolutely stunning at twilight.

Padawan thought the fortress was amazing and loved the mountains and park. He took in a couple of photographs to school for 'show and tell' and still talks about Rocca Calascio and asks when we can return.

I can see why Hollywood wanted to capture this raw beauty in a fantasy film and I feel very lucky to have visited such a wonderful part of Italy. We hope to return this Summer with our friends who are joining us on our holiday


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