This past weekend, the majority of our students were away on an optional trip to Barcelona. As with the last Optional Trip Weekend, we planned educational activities for the students who remained in Lanciano. In fact, we were so busy learning about the region, that this had to be a two-part blog.
On Friday morning, we headed to the grotte di Stiffe. These caves are located near the city of L’Aquila. The cave system was formed by a subterranean river that has been flowing for thousands of years. Only recently have the caves been open to the public. On its own, the ride to the entrance was worthwhile, as it was such a beautiful day.
A guide gave us a tour of the cave system, which was 700 m long. We learned about the geology of the area, and of the formation of stalactites and stalagmites, as we entered deeper into the earth. Perhaps most impressive, were the waterfalls, reaching more than 30 m in height.
After the tour, we took a break for lunch. As it often happens, the break turned into a photo shoot!
In the afternoon, we traveled to Rocca Calascio. This is a fortress that was built in the 10th century. It has the highest elevation of any fortress in the Apennines, and because of this, it was never attacked. Along the ridge is an octagonal church, Santa Maria della Pietà. These unique structures, with their seemingly impossible location, have become iconic symbols of Abruzzo.
The following Monday, we visited an educational farm to learn about the process of making olive oil. That will be in part two of this blog.