A green, unspoilt valley crossed by the Liri River running towards the Tyrrhenian Sea, and that encompasses the towns of Capistrello Capistrello, Canistro, Civitella Roveto, Morino, Civita d'Antino, San Vincenzo Valle Roveto, and Balsorano. A journey through history and nature that will delight everyone.
The Roveto Valley is not a well-known place outside Abruzzo, and that many, while driving through the long road Sora-Avezzano, cross too quickly without slowing down to admire its hidden beauty. The valley represents a gateway from Lazio to Abruzzo, from the area known as “Ciociaria”, and, during the centuries, has been used to travel toward North, especially from those departing from the Reign of Naples.
Every town is beautiful in its own right: from the castle in Balsorano, that once belonged to the Piccolomini family, to the abandoned hamlet of Morino Vecchio, where time has stopped after the 1915 earthquake, and nowadays used for manifestations and summer events.
And then the natural beauties of Zompo Lo Schioppo, a karst spring that, with its 80 mts, is one of the highest natural waterfalls of the entire Apennine; and then the natural park of Canistro Superiore, “La Sponga”, an oasis where you will find vast green pastures and natural lakes. Finally, near Capistrello you will find something that as an incredible archeological value: the exit of the Tunnels of Claudio, build between 41 and 52 AD and then used by the prince Alessandro Torlonia to reclaim Lake Fucino, at the time the third biggest lake of the country.
Oil and chestnuts: the best product of the Roveto Valley
The valley has two treasures. With a short itinerary that stops in San Vincenzo Valle Roveto, Civitella Roveto and Canistro, you will find many olive-presses that represent the close bond between the valley and the production of extra-virgin olive oil. The characteristic cultivar of the valley is the Monicella, recently named Slow Food Presidium.
As you can read in the Slow Food card: “The towns of the valley present the secular plants of Monicella and Aliva. It is a robust plant, suited to the hilly climate, to meager and shallow soils, that constantly yields a huge amount of fruit. The microclimate, especially suited to olive growing, prevents the development of bacteria and fungi that could damage the plants. Many farmers are starting to use biological farming in order to produce a certified extra-virgin olive oil and, together, they chose to create the Monicella Association of the Roveto Valley to promote the development of the industry. Thanks to the recently created project “Adopt an Olive Tree”, everyone can adopt an olive tree and have the guarantee of an extra-virgin olive oil characterized by a golden color with green specks, mildly fruity, with a light aroma of fresh almond and bitter notes of artichoke. The flavor is slightly spicy, and it is rich of phenolic substances and antioxidants.
Another treasure of the Roveto Valley is the Roscetta chestnut, am indigenous variety of chestnut that belong to the Marrone Fiorentino variety and that is celebrate with many food festivals, the most famous of which is the “Lungo le antiche rue” (“Along the ancient streets”). This peculiar chestnut is characterized by a medium-large size, an ovoidal shape, and a white, crunchy meat. The “roscetta”, with is sweet and delicate flavor, is rich of starch (almost 60%), carbs, proteins, vitamins A, B, and C, minerals, chlorine, magnesium. The “roscetta” is considered to be one of the best Italian chestnuts. To promote it and extend the cultivation, in 2001 was found the Association of Chestnut-growers of the Roveto Valley, that group numerous growers.
It is worth noting also the important natural production of porcino mushrooms and truffles, that you can find in local restaurants. The valley doesn’t have a typical wine – until now, the climatic conditions were not suitable. But if you look at the map of the regional DOC wine productions, you will find a small ramification of the Montepulciano D’Abruzzo denomination that insists on this very Roveto Valley. Maybe the climate changing will encourage some visionary wine maker to invest in the area?
Roveto valley. Oil, chestnuts and plenty of attractions