3,650ft, 1,113m of ascent, 22km
Capistrello is a picturesque town of open avenues and tightly clustered, hilly streets. And yet another excuse to stop for the great Italian coffee. Again, you'll need a double-shot. Though refrain from taking a big meal before starting. Have that on the return. If arriving by car, you can choose to start from Capistrello (667m) itself, or from the hillside at the start of climb. Good roadside parking there.
On the Hill
The road climbs steadily for 2km leading into the first hairpin, then heads right and onward for a straight, open section of 4 to 5km. Round the next hairpin for another spectacular 4km as the forestry builds and the roadside becomes mountainous and the route passes through wonderful glades.
Next, weave up and around and through great picnic spots and then comes the first big reward as the view opens out, revealing a series of dramatic, towering cliff faces, where boulder protection is served by huge cable nets bolted into the intimidating formations. http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/21180779.jpg
Take a breakTake a break at the awesome viewpoint and then on past the cliffs and a steady rise, revealing the mighty drop to Capistrello, once more. Continue on, winding steadily up and around to reach Serra Sant' Antonio
Monti Simbruini-Monte Viglio dal Cotento are now visible, and tempt you to hike to their summits. It is another tremendous view from them.
Perhaps you are now a little fatigued from the haul, though unless you have planned, don't be temped to descend to the Valle Granara to Filettino,
because for a day ride you might not make it back up, as the drop is nearly 2,000ft, 600m and Filettino is tightly nestled at the base of the mountain. Though a visit is a must, I'm sure.
Moving onContinue on the remaining 4km to arrive at the somewhat estranged resort of Campo Staffi (1,780m), which at first glance appears like a ghost town, for it is primarily a winter resort. The openness can give rise to sweeping winds and the mostly shuttered houses could lead you to imagine that the whole townspeople are peering at you, whereas, few townsfolk exist. Still, riding up through the centre of the windswept street, I couldn't help wondering that Clint Eastwood or a bunch of Bandidos might be standing at the end of the road awaiting. So, disappear into the saloon for that well earned drink and feel welcomed. http://img165.imageshack.us/img165/4073/renga4ap6.jpg. Winter.
Trek the Mountain
Monte Simbruini in Winter