The ‘Path of the Bandits’ is a fascinating 100km loop-trek on the border between Lazio and Abruzzo
In Italian is called ‘Cammino dei Briganti’ – ‘Path of Bandits’. It is a 100 km loop-trek that begins and ends in the small characteristic village of Sante Marie in the province of L’Aquila (Abruzzo). It crosses forests, fields, mountains, and medieval villages at low-medium altitudes; between 800 and 1,300 m above sea level. It is within everyone’s reach and it can be covered on foot in 7 days, or less if you walk fast. And, when you complete it you receive a certificate of ‘Honorary Bandit.’
Today the experience of those ancient travelers is proposed again with a well organized and marked trekking tour
It follows the footsteps of the ‘Band of Cartore’ between Val de Varri, Valley of Salto, and the slopes of Mount Velino. Marsica and Cicolano are lands of woods, mountains, and stories of bandits. Indeed, the loop-trek develops over the border between Lazio and Abruzzo, which in the past used to be the frontier between the Pontifical State and the Bourbon Kingdom. At that time, bandits lived on the border to pass from one side of it to another depending on the threat, taking advantage of the freedom that only nature gives. However, the bandits weren’t criminals. They were more like partisans, they fought against the invasion of the Savoy, who had forced the people to enter their army. They were free spirits, who did not want to submit to the new rulers, and, for this reason, they went into hiding. This is a 150 years old story that also includes kidnappings, ransoms, and a lot of violence.
Today the experience of those ancient travelers is proposed again with a well organized and marked trekking tour. Along the way, there are plenty of B&B, campings, and even private homes in which the locals gladly welcome visitors. Moreover, in Sante Marie, there is an office that collects the credentials of the wannabe bandits and hands them a sort of passport on which to collect stamps along the way. To who has collected all the stamps, at the arrival, the same office issues the certificate of ‘Honorary Bandit.’
Ilona Catani Scarlett