Santo Stefano di Sessanio is included in the broader context of the Gran Sasso Laga Park which extends over the territory of three Regions: Abruzzo, Lazio and Marche, and of five provinces: L’Aquila, Teramo, Pescara, Ascoli Piceno and Rieti, with nine headquarters and a network of museums and visitors’ centers.
The institution has always been involved in the care and protection of the territory which boasts a remarkable variety of heights and landscapes. Into the Park you can find: fortified villages and castles, sandstone houses, chapels and votive icons, exterminated pastures, beech, oak and chestnut trees; spectacular waterfalls and impenetrable forests, lakes and impressive mountain peaks.
At the foot of Corno Grande (the highest peak of the Apennine), there is the Campo Imperatore plain, which extends for about twenty kilometers, among alluvial plains originated by ancient lakes, crushed stones and torrents, glaciers and rocky walls, glacial moraine and circuses.
The writer and ethnologist Fosco Maraini, who visited it in the thirties, compared our mountain to the Tibetan plateau, also rough and impressive enough to be a mystical place.
There are numerous high peaks on Campo Imperatore: the Corno Grande (m. 2912) dominating all of them, Monte Camicia (2564 m), Monte Prena (2561 m), Monte Aquila (m 2494) Monte Portella and Brancastello (both 2385 m) and the Scindarella (m. 2233).
The Campo Imperatore plain seems to be created for horseback riding, with its infinite paths beaten by the shepherds that still today, from Puglia, bring their flocks to graze on these mountains. Here they find fresh herb for their sheep even in August. During the summer you can ride the same paths with a bicycle or, in winter, with a cross-country or touring skis.
The Park also offers the opportunity to visit the numerous local exhibitions and trades in order to know and appreciate the local handicrafts, typical food products and folk festivals.