STAGE 2: Santo Stefano – Nesce (13.9 km)
The second leg of the trek along the Way of the Brigantes starts from Santo Stefano. The first 6 km pass by proceeding on level ground or on slight descents and, crossing the border between Abruzzo and Lazio, lead into the Val de Varri, an unspoiled place little frequented by tourist flows.
The route then proceeds uphill, on the southeastern slope of Mount Val di Varri, and enters the Salto Valley, carved by the river of the same name. We are in Cicolano, in a mountainous, straggly area crisscrossed by stupendous valleys, where nature reigns supreme among green hills, fairy forests and clear streams. It is populated by small villages, places where the era of brigandage has left its mark, and now on the walls of houses can be seen paintings that tell ancient stories of outlaws.
The path descends back to Poggiovalle, the home town of several brigands of the famous Band of Cartore, including Michele and Berardino Pietropaoli. From here we finally reach the village of Nesce, with medieval features but older origins, an important center of Roman times.
Length: 14 km
Height difference in ascent: 394 m
Height difference on descent: 625 m
Highest point: 1204 m
Lowest point: 758 m
Type of surface: mixed
Although the itinerary is easily passable and equipped at the various stopping places, it lacks continuous signage, so it is important to follow the proposed gpx tracks.
Municipality of departure: Sante Marie
Starting location: St. Stephen’s
Municipality of arrival: Pescorocchiano
Place of arrival: Nesce
from April to October
The Brigand’s trail is a trekking route between Abruzzo and Lazio, in the setting of the Central Apennines, that traverses wild and unspoiled nature , tackling old mule tracks and taking in the atmosphere of medieval villages. But it is also a border path: the border in the History of Italy, when the House of Savoy entered the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies on the way to unification; the geographical boundary between the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and the Papal States, where brigands moved from one side to the other on horseback, fighting newcomers; the blurred border between justice and injustice, between the underground chosen by those who could not afford the new taxes and the kidnappings and abuses, made and suffered.
The Brigand’s trail is a 100-kilometer loop trail, divided into 7 stages in this version on foot (but also passable by bicycle), in the footsteps of the Brigantes of the Band of Cartore. We are in the undomesticated wilderness of the Varri Valley, the Salto Valley and the slopes of Mount Velino, a wilderness that continually offers us wonderful views. Along the way we stay at an average altitude (between 800 and 1300 meters).