Day 7: Saturday, July 4, 2020
Capitignano to Morino via L'Aquila
130 km, 1366 m of climbing


To start the day, we need to head back 11 or so km to SS80 — which should be eased by the fact that it will generally be a downhill run. On SS80, the route heads down further, in all the elevation loss is about 800 m before the track reaches L’Aquila, the capital of the Abruzzi region. A devastating earthquake in 2009 destroyed poart of the old town and some other parts of the city, killing voer 300 people. Here, two trctonic plates hit each other, so heavy earthquakes have been recorded over the centuries, the oldest reports dating back to 1315. Still, the city of about 65000 inhabitants is worth a visit, if only to take in a second breakfast and coffee, because after leaving L’Aquila, we won’t be staying in the wide Aterno valley for much longer. The route heads back into the mountains opposite those we came from, gaining about 700 m of elevation to an altitude about around 1300 m. When reaching Rocca di Mezzo, we will be done with extended climbing. Enjoying the vistas on the high plain will be followed by attentive riding as the route heads down  to an altutide of about 700 m. In front of us we will see a wide open space, perfectly flat, surrounded by mountains.

This is the former Lake Fucino, at 155 square kilometers the largest lake in Central Italy in Roman times. It had no natural outlet, and so produced floods and billions of mosquitos infected with the Malaria virus. Already Cesar is said to have planned to drain the swamps, but it took until 1875 for the lake to totally be converted into farmland. The satellite picture illustrates that well, showing at the same time the ancient shores.

At Avezzano, about 100 km into the ride, there should be plenty of stores and restaurants to cater for all needs of thirsty and hungry riders; I suggest to take a break there. We will have to do some moderate climbing out of the Fucino valley, but nothing compared to what we did earlier. It will be rewarded with a 300 m downhill to Morino, where we turn off onto a small road. The downhill will be on a major road (SR690) with several tunnels — it may be that cyclists are diverted to the smaller and more hilly SR82 at Capistrello; I could not verify that on Street View and BRouter suggested the main road.
After Morino, the side road will take us into a side valley and up a final tough climb to the campground (sorry for that, but the place should be worth it). In the vicinity is a waterfall of 80 meters which every once in a while produces a noise as if a canon had been fired.

Accommodation:
Camping Lo Schioppo
Via lo Schioppo, 67050, Morino

© Josef Janning 2019