Villetta Barrea, Province of L'Aquila, Abruzzo
An important tourist centre in the Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Villetta Barrea is located on the left of the Sangro river, near the Barrea Lake, at the feet of the Mount Mattone (1800 mt) and has been completely rebuilt after the terrible 1915 earthquake. It is rich in landscape features: the pinewoods of pinus nigra, typical of the area, forests, and Lake Barrea, which is an artificial lake created after WWII by a dam on the Sangro river.
- Altitude: 990 m a.s.l
- Distance from L'Aquila: 100 km
- Population: ca. 600 inhabitants
- Postal code: 67030
- Dialing Area Code: +39 0864
- How to reach it: by road, along the Sulmona/Castel di Sangro line, nearest stop Alfedena, a very slow but panoramic route,either A24 exit Pescina, then S.S. 83 towards Gioia dei Marsi, then a winding road through Pescasseroli and Opi, or (panoramic route) A24 exit Cocullo then S.S. 479 through Anversa degli Abruzzi and picturesque Sagittario canyon, Scanno, up to Passo Goti, then western side of Monte Greco.
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In the area important Bronze Age remains in the grotta Graziani and Samnitic pre-Roman buildings (megalythic polygonal walls at Fonte della Regina and tombs in the Piana di Decontra). Then the Romans occupied the area, as shown by the ruins of an acqueduct. Benedictine monks founded a monastery here, the Abbazia di Sant'Angelo in Barreggio in the VIII century, while the name of a medieval settlement first appears in some XIV century documents as Villa Vallis Regiae or simply Villa. Poet Benedetto Virgilio (1602-1667) was born here.
The economy for thousands of years was based on sheep-raising, and when this ended by the late XIX century a large number of the residents were compelled to emigrate. Now a new economy centred on tourism is growing, thanks to the healthy climate and the powerful presence of the National Park.
What to see
- The modern parish church
- The Grotta Graziani.
Events and Festivities
- Second Sunday in July Feast of San Vincenzo Ferreri
- Villetta summer: concerts music, bocce tournaments and sagre (mutton, bruschetta and snails).
- Third Sunday in August: Feast of Santa Barbara.
Where to stay
Genealogy and Links
- People researching in Villetta Barrea
- Newspaper articles on Villetta Barrea
- Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise
- Sangro Valley Project (SVP).