The Sentiero dello Spirito (Spirit Trail) is a breathtaking hike that winds through the Majella National Park, a mountainous region of Abruzzo, Italy. Covering around 73 kilometres (45 mi), this route explores a wild and unspoilt landscape where the sound of nature is your companion: the whispering of animals in the woods, the rustling of beech leaves and the murmur of the Orfento river.
This trail connects approximately 20 hermitages set among the rocks in remote places many centuries ago. These hermitages were places of peace for those who devoted themselves to prayer and meditation. Many of these architectural wonders were commissioned by Pietro del Morrone, who later became Pope Celestine V, and are therefore known as Celestine hermitages.
The adventure begins at the Abbey of Sulmona and ends at the Abbey of San Liberatore a Majella, near Serramonacesca. Along the way, you can visit hermitages that stand imposingly on the rocky walls, sometimes giving the impression of merging with them. This is the case with the Hermitage of San Giovanni, located at an altitude of 1,200 metres (3,900 ft), which can only be accessed by crawling a few metres belly-down on the rock.
As far as accommodation is concerned, each stage ends in villages offering at least a campsite and often also B&Bs and hotels. The only exception is the second stage, which ends at a mountain hut, so you’ll need to bring provisions for the night.
The availability of food along the route is limited. At the end of each stage, I recommend buying the necessary supplies for the next day. As far as water is concerned, you’ll find several drinking fountains but I recommend stocking up at the arrival and departure points of the stages.
You can reach the start and finish points of the Sentiero dello Spirito by public transport or by car. The best way to reach Sulmona by public transport is by train. If you want to return to Sulmona after your adventure, I recommend taking the 1010 bus from the centre of Serramonacesca to Scafa. From there, you can take a train back to Sulmona.
The Sentiero dello Spirito offers a unique and evocative experience that immerses you in the beauty, nature and spirituality of the Majella National Park. Highlights include the wonderful panoramic views of the mountain landscape and the historic hermitages, which tell stories of faith and devotion. However, it's important to note that the route presents some challenges, such as steep sections and rough terrain, so you’ll need to have a good level of fitness and endurance, as well as some trekking experience.
Spring and autumn are the ideal seasons to take on this route. I recommend avoiding the winter months when the route could be difficult due to weather conditions or even closed.
Get ready for an unforgettable adventure along this enchanting route and immerse yourself in the magic of the Majella. Enjoy your walk!
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Last updated: September 29, 2023
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The first stage of the Sentiero dello Spirito, from Sulmona to Caramanico Terme, is an exciting challenge. Featuring breathtaking landscapes and challenging trails, this stage is one of the most difficult of the entire route. Get ready for a challenging but rewarding first step, which will give you indelible…
The second stage of the Path of the Spirit offers a rewarding journey. Along the way, the tranquility and beauty of the Orfento valley and the Rava dell'Avellana will surround you.
The journey starts from Caramanico Terme and enters the marvelous Orfento Valley. After admiring the suggestive ruins of…
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The third stage is notable for the number of hermitages along the way. You will be able to explore the Hermitage of San Giovanni, accessible only for those brave enough to crawl along an exposed point in the rock. After that, you will see the Hermitage of Santo Spirito, the largest, and the hermitage…
The last stage of the Sentiero dello Spirito crosses the northern part of the Majella National Park and will take you to visit the last two hermitages: the Hermitage of Sant'Angelo in Lettomanoppello and the Hermitage of Sant'Onofrio in Serramonacesca. The route offers splendid panoramic views, first…
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