Journey to Villalago: Where History, Nature, and Spirituality Meet

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Nestled in the mountains of Abruzzo, Villalago is a charming medieval village that stands proudly between the natural lake of Scanno and the picturesque artificial lake of San Domenico.

This enchanting village, with a population of around 600, is part of the prestigious circle of “Italy’s Most Beautiful Villages,” a well-deserved recognition for the extraordinary beauty of its architectural and natural landscapes.

Arriving in Villalago, you are greeted by an amphitheater of stone houses, perched on cliffs and precipices, with narrow alleys and stairways winding like a labyrinth.

The stone coats of arms on the doorways, depicting animals, flowers, and faces, tell stories of a distant past.

The village’s name, derived from the Vulgar Latin “valle de lacu,” recalls the presence of nine natural lakes, many of which have since disappeared.

At an altitude of 920 meters (3018 feet), Villalago is one of the most beloved tourist destinations in the region, known not only for its natural beauty but also for its religious significance, closely linked to the hermitage of San Domenico.

Built between the late 10th and early 11th centuries, this sacred place, initially dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was the home of Saint Domenico Abate.

The hermitage of San Domenico is an unmissable stop.

This structure, which includes a cave carved into the limestone and a church with frescoes depicting the saint’s life, is a place of quiet and contemplation.

Each year, the hermitage becomes a pilgrimage destination, and in August, the village celebrates its patron saint with festivities that attract visitors from far and wide.

Villalago offers a wide range of outdoor activities.

Hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking allow you to explore the stunning surrounding landscape.

The lake of San Domenico, with its clear, green waters fed by the Sagittario River and small waterfalls, is perfect for swimming, boating,  and windsurfing.

The local wildlife, including deer, wild boars, foxes, squirrels, badgers, martens, and even bears, makes every walk a unique experience.

The cuisine of Villalago is a journey into the authentic flavors of Abruzzo.

Mostaccioli, biscuits with chocolate and dried fruit; and the sweet donuts of San Domenico are just some of the delicious local desserts.

The handmade pasta and bread include specialties such as “Surgitielle,” “Cazzillitte,” “Maccheroni alla chitarra,” and “Sagne.”

Among the typical sausages, the “Marro” and the “Micischia” stand out, rare delicacies to find.

Villalago is a hidden gem in the Abruzzo mountains, a place where history, nature, and spirituality intertwine uniquely.

Whether you are a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or seeking a peaceful and reflective refuge, Villalago offers an unforgettable experience.

Come and discover this enchanting village, let yourself be captivated by its breathtaking views, and immerse yourself in its timeless atmosphere.

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