Abruzzo, a mountainous region northeast of Campania, has the largest national park in Italy: the Gran Sasso d'Italia, home of the highest peaks in the Apenine Mountains (and the highest spot in Italy south of the Alps). A number of great hikes exist in the Gran Sasso, including the following one that involves via ferrata (the "iron way"), a system of safety cables.
One of the best ways to experience the Gran Sasso National Park is using the Via Ferrata trails; which allow you to clip into a "iron way" (or cable) and thus do hiking/climbing that would be inaccesible without sophisticated climbing gear. This is recommended for experienced hikers only, and you will need a via Ferrata rig (they are available at sporting goods stores like Decathlon; see the Shopping Page for information about Decathlon). A helmet is also recommended, as there is lose rock which can fall and roll down the mountain side. If you see or hear rocks falling, remember to yell "ROCK" to warn the other climbers.
Drive from Naples to Prati di Tivo [42°29'58.18"N 13°33'35.56"E] once you get off the highway and through the toll
Park your car in the parking lot. There is plenty of parking. Grab a snack, water for now and a sandwich for later at the restaurante at the base of the mountain. Don't forget to buy a map. Try to get a good one. This will come in handy if you want to go around the back of the mountain.
You will see a chair lift going up the mountain. Buy a ticket andata e ritorno "Up and back". [note: the chair lift stops running at 5pm. Therefore on your way down make sure you have enough time, or you will be hiking the rest of the way down.]
A great way to enjoy extended hiking without having to pack heavy backpacks is to stay in a mountain refuge or rifugio. One recommended on is the Franchetti Rifugio; rates include a bed, breakfast, and dinner. Stay the night so you can get up for an early start.
Prati di Tivo
Vallone delle Cornacchie
Pietracamela - Teramo
Manager: Mr. Luca Mazzoleni
Tel. 0861-959634 / 333-2324474
Via Aquilotti 5 - 64047 Pietracamela