Chances are you have not heard much about the Campania region beyond its famous coastlines of Amalfi and Cilento, its magnificent city of Naples, or the ruins of Pompeii. The truth is that Campania has a lot to offer if you are willing to give it a chance and explore the inland areas. This article will take you on an adventure in the Avellino province to an area known as Laceno.
Monti Picentini Regional Park
Laceno is just an hour and a half by car from Naples and is located within the Monti Picentini Regional Park in the greater county of Bagnoli Irpino. Most people don’t even realize that this region has any mountains at all other than Vesuvius. Mind you, this section of the Apennines certainly doesn’t rival the Dolomites or the Alps but there are peaks that reach 1,800 meters (5,900 feet).
Why You Need to Go
What makes this area so special is that very few tourists (including Italians outside of the region) ever make it here since they typically opt for more popular destinations in northern Italy both for winter sports and summer vacations. This can give you a huge advantage as far as affordability and availability!
So let’s cover what this area has to offer in just about every season of the year.
Enjoying the Outdoors in Every Season
In the late spring, summer, and early autumn, Lake Laceno and the area known as Altopiano Laceno sits at about 1,000 meters offering pleasant temperatures even in the midst of summer. This is a beautiful area known for its vast green pastures with grazing livestock and horses as well as agriculture. Outdoor activities are endless and range from horseback riding to trekking or biking along the various trails.
Open to the public in the peak of summer, don’t miss the Grotte del Caliendo. These natural grottoes were only discovered in the 1930s by a local farmer. Another amazing experience is the Fiumara di Tannera trail which winds past stunning waterfalls and creeks. Contact Laceno Trekking for more information on guided hikes.
For those who prefer the winter months, Laceno is equipped with about 25 km of slopes and 2 lifts. Appropriate for all levels, including very young children, Laceno is not just about skiing. You can also snowboard, snowshoe, and snow tube here. There are numerous hotels, restaurants, and everything you could possibly need for your winter holiday right here in Laceno. From the highest points (Raiamagra at 1,667 meters), you can also enjoy views of the Gulf of Salerno on clear days! Contact laceno.net for more information (site is in Italian only) or visit their Facebook page.
You’ll also want to visit the town of Bagnoli Irpino which was inhabited first by the Lombards and then by the Normans before the year 1,000 AD. Both kingdoms erected castles which are still standing to this day. The Rione della Giudeca, or the Jewish district, in the historic center is the oldest part of town and dates to 1300 AD.
You can make either Bagnoli Irpino or Laceno your home base if you’re planning to stay several days. You will likely need to come by car as both train lines and bus lines are scarce.