L'Aquila is a region easy to access. Only a few hours drive from Rome, with the city behind you and winding mountains before you, it makes an excellent weekend getaway. The village of L'Aquila continues undergoing repairs from the devastating 2008 earthquake that left more or less the entire region in ruins. In a way, this is a part of what makes the area interesting. People living there continue to supplement their shattered homes by storing each other's belongings. Lifestyles seem overshadowed by the fragility of life. This is expressed through giving. We were given wine and fresh vegetables plucked fresh from a local garden.
There is a lot to do in the area. A gondola scaling 2000 meters of steep terrain takes one to a ski area that transforms in the summer months into a hiking & mountain biking getaway. Historically, one can have coffee in the building Mussolini used as a hideout until Hitler sent in forces to set him free.
There are ancient medieval ruins (castles overlooking vistas from the tops of hills), villages and an ample array of paths to hiking in between. There is a mountain cave tour in the atom sized village of Siffe that is decorated with waterfalls and calcium deposits that have formed into stalagmites. There are ancient bridges, rivers and an endless supply of fresh air.