Trekking by Molise lakes

"Trekking by Molise lakes" will explore the two principal lakes of the Molise Region, the Occhito and Guardialfiera Lakes, and the hills that surround them. It connects the pre-Apennine environments of the two lakes with the luxuriant rural environments, with the architecture of some small villages and coenobiums in the open countryside, with the excellent culinary tradition of Molise, as well as with the uniquenes of the Croatian-Molise community. In addition, it allows you to be introduced to the phenomenon of transhumance, getting to know three Regi Tratturi (the sheep tracks): from Castel di Sangro-Lucera to Ateleta-Biferno, passing through Celano-Foggia.


Walking from Gambatesa to Acquaviva Collecroce to find out the Occhito and Guardialfiera Lakes.

Historical and cultural itinerary

The ancient ways of horizontal transhumance: Regi Tratturi Castel di Sangro-Lucera, Celano-Foggia and Ateleta-Biferno. Historical and cultural heritage that shows architectural, religious and cultural statements of the itinerant pastoral culture.

Amazing historical towns

Suggestive atmospheres in the medieval historical centers of Gambatesa, Macchia Valfortore, Ripabottoni, Guardialfiera, Acquaviva Collecroce and Termoli, with their examples of artistic beauty with palaces, churches, fountains, crossroads, gardens and more.

Lake enviroments

The trip allows you to know the environments of the Lake of Occhito and the water mirror of Guardialfiera. Both give life to Sites of Community Importance (S.I.C.) and are set in pre-Apennine environments, among hills covered with woods and cultivated fields.

The castle di Capua in Gambatesa

The castle di Capua in Gambatesa is one of the most beautiful fortresses in Molise. In addition to its elegant appearance, the manor is characterised by a cycle of Renaissance frescoes that are unique in the south of Italy. The remarkable works belong to the painter Donato Decumbertino, who worked for and with one of the major Renaissance artists: Giorgio Vasari.

Significant meetings with locals

During the rest, you can attend significant people. They storytell histories and traditions of the rural and pastoral Molise’s culture. Then, you can visit a dairy and an artisan salumi factory.

Rural landscape

The hills that divide the two lakes are characterized by a marked rurality. We will be often walking on paths that run alongside vineyards, small olive groves and divide cultivated fields. The silence and the feeling of peace that you have along this segment of Molise are stunning.

Minority language communities

There is one village repopulated by Slavs since the beginning of 1500 in this trail: Acquaviva Collecroce. By visiting this reality, we can see the cultural richness of our land and the unique peculiarities that only in Molise can be admired.

Delicious food and excellent drinks

The journey is enriched by the excellent traditional cuisine of Molise and its excellent drinks. Typical products and traditional dishes, often handmade and old-fashioned, cheer up the evenings of walkers. You can taste cheeses such as caciocavallo, pecorino, burrata, manteca and others; cured meats like soppressata, ventricina, capicollo, rolled up ventresca, etc.; white and black truffles. You can drink Moscato white wine and Tintilia red wine.


First day Gambatesa

Arrival at Campobasso and meeting with Professional Nature and Interpretative Guide.
Transfer to Gambatesa by minivan and/or by car.
Accommodation and explanation of the journey.
Dinner at restaurant.
Night in different guest houses, in twin rooms with shared bathroom.

The meeting point with the guide could be Termoli too. Private transport by minivan and/or by car from Termoli to Gambatesa requires a supplement, based to how many people use it.

Second day From Gambatesa to La Foresta district (Macchia Valfortore).

After the breakfast, starting of walking day from Gambatesa to La Foresta district (Macchia Valfortore).
Packed lunch.
Dinner in a farmhouse.
Night in farmhouses, in twin rooms with private bathroom.

We visit the castle di Capua and the historic center of Gambatesa, then descend into the valley of the Tappino stream and meet what remains of the Regio Tratturo Castel di Sangro-Lucera. After crossed the stream, we walk at the base of the pinewood of Macchia della Terra. Then we get on Colle della Putina and then go down to lake of Occhito. Arrived at the large reservoir, we take the long white trail that leads up to the farmhouse. Along the way we can enjoy the shade of different woods, meet cultivated fields, olive groves and vineyards and admire the many panoramic balconies overlooking the lake.

Technical features of the journey
Duration: 5 hours and half (rest-times not included).
Lenght of the trek: 22 km.
Total difference in height (up): +730metres.
Total difference in height (down): -940 metres.
Difficulty: easy.

Third day From La Foresta district (Macchia Valfortore) to Ripabottoni.

After the breakfast, starting of walking day from La Foresta district (Macchia Valfortore) to Ripabottoni.
Packed lunch.
Dinner at trattoria.
Night in bed-and-breakfasts, in twin rooms and private bathroom.

From the farmhouse, we continue walking along the lake of Occhito until going up the valley of the Cigno stream and meet the Regio Tratturo Celano-Foggia. We follow it until crossing the hill of Monte Castello and turn right onto Colle Guardiola, from which we can admire the hills that slope down to the coast, the Adriatic Sea, Matese Apennine and a large slice of central and western Molise.

Technical features of the journey
Duration: 6 hours (rest-times not included).
Lenght of the trek: 21 km.
Total difference in height (up): +1080 metres.
Total difference in height (down): -620 metres.
Difficulty: moderate.

Fourth day From Ripabottoni to Guardialfiera.

After the breaksfat, starting of walking day from Ripabottoni to Guardialfiera.
Lunch at the bar.
Dinner in a farmhouse.
Night in farmhouses, in twin rooms with private bathroom.

From the village of Ripabottoni we descend on Regio Tratturo Celano-Foggia. Then we climb a hill close the village of Morrone del Sannio. From here, we descend an ‘interpoderale’ road next to the wonderful convent of San Nazario and the fascinating abbey of Santa Maria in Casalpiano, which goes back to what was once the link between the Roman cities of Bovianum and Geronium. Once left the monastic complex, we keep going down to the bed of the river Biferno, and then run along the first shores of Lake Guardialfiera.

Technical features of the journey
Duration: 5 hours (rest-times not included).
Lenght of the trek: 20 km.
Total difference in height (up): +500 metres.
Total difference in height (down): -725 metres.
Difficulty: easy.

Fifth day From Guardialfiera to Acquaviva Collecroce.

After the breakfast, starting of walking day from Guardialfiera to Acquaviva Collecroce.
Packed lunch.
Transfer by minivan and/or by car to farmhouse for the rest.
Dinner in a farmhouse.
Night in a farmohouse, in twin rooms with private bathroom.

We run a large slice of Lake Guardialfiera, almost to the dam, and then climb up a hill, among cultivated fields, olive groves and farms. Once climbed up Colle Coppere, we go down to Scorciabove valley and climb up the opposite side of the valley. Crossed the Regio Tratturo Ateleta-Biferno, we follow it up to the entrance of Acquaviva Collecroce.

Technical features of the journey
Duration: 5 hours (rest-times not included).
Lenght of the trek: 19 km.
Total difference in height (up): +820 metres.
Total difference in height (down): -560 metres.
Difficulty: moderate.

Sixth day Termoli

Time to say goodbye and go back.
After the breakfast, transfer by minivan and/or by car from farmhouse to Termoli.
Visit of the historical center and transfer to the railway or bus station of Termoli.
Otherwise, transfer by minivan and/or by car to Campobasso for departure from the main city.

Trekking by Molise lakes Summing-up

- hills and lakes environments;
- a strong rurality of this part of Molise;
- small villages and their cultural heritage;
- ethnic minority of Molise-Croatian;
- cultural examples of transhumance and of farm tradition;
- experiences and meetings with locals;
- farmhouses and traditional regional cuisine;
- zero miles food;
- a cosy and familial place;
- an expert guide always with you.

Period: See the dates at the bottom of the page. In addition, I am available to agree specific dates for pre-established groups.
Duration: 4 walking days (for the duration of the individual stages see the program above), 5 nights, 6 days overall.
Length of the itinerary: 82 km.
Total height difference, uphill: +3130 metri.
Total height difference, downhill: -2845 metri.
Difficulty: moderate.
Destination: from Gambatesa to Acquaviva Collecroce.
Guide: Antonio Meccanici.
Typology: hill path.
Features: itinerant; cultural and historical; experiential; natural; food and wine.
Accommodation: guesthouses, agriturismi (farmhouses) and bed-and-breakfasts.
Where to eat: restaurant, agriturismi (farmhouses) and trattoria.
Group size: from a minimum of 8 to a maximum of 12 people.

Price: 620 € (for 6 days) per person, in a group from 8 to 12 people.

The trip can be activated with the technical contribution of one of the tour operators affiliated with me and if there is a group from a minimum of eight to a maximum of twelve hikers.

Difficulty level (subjective)
Moderate (out of five categories: Easy, Moderate, Medium, Challenging, Difficult): 4 walking days, covering a total distance of 82 km. The trail contains numerous flat trails and only a few uphill and downhill walks. Altitude differentials average 500 meters per day, both uphill or downhill, but do not have steep slopes. This itinerary is suitable to everybody, however mountain-walking training is desirable. The trails do not pose major challenges. The majority of the itinerary involves walking, except for brief segments by car. The overnight stays are comfortable.

This program may be to change, before and during the journey. Changes are based on the climate, the needs of travelers and the people that host the group of travelers.

Prices shown here are intended per person.

Prices include
Price includes the following services:
- travel planning;
- all breakfasts, lunches and dinners;
- all nights in twin rooms with private bathroom, the first night excepted (twin rooms with shared bathroom). For single rooms with the first partners you have to add 60 €. For the second affiliated structures the surcharge will be communicated via email;
- professional nature and interpretive AIGAE guide;
- insurance and contract with tour operator;
- luggage transport and transfer during the six (6) days in Molise;
- tax stamp;
- tickets to castle di Capua.

Price will not include
Services not provided:
- trip from the own residence, with any transport, to and from Molise;
- any service not described.

Lodging bookings: case histories and method
A lot of partner accomodations are small, with few rooms (all with private bathrooms, the first night excepted. In this night there are twin rooms with shared bathroom) and few beds. For this reason, I needed to be associated with second lodgings for my guests.
It could happen that all first partner accommodation will be booked with few reservations. Therefore, groups will not sleep in the same place.
All accommodation can provide single or twin or double rooms.
Accommodation will be reserved according to the chronological order of trip bookings. The one who books the trip will get first partner accommodation. Once accommodation will be full, second partner accommodation will be booked.


Calendar 2020

from 8 to 12from 25 to 30 april 20206 days 620 € (for 6 days)Available
from 8 to 12from 17 to 22 october 20206 days 620 € (for 6 days)Available
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