Monday, February 18, 2008

A Trip to Castrovalva

A Town in Abruzzo, An M.C. Escher Lithograph and the title of an episode in the BBC television series Dr. Who.

Castrovalva by LostBob

Castrovalva, Abruzzo Italy

I first saw Castrovalva from my car while driving the A25/E80 Autostrada between Avezzano and Pescara. The town is perched on a knife edge ridge off to your right shortly after you emerge from the tunnel Galleria San Domenico below Cocullo. From the highway, the town almost appears inaccessible. I had to find out how to get there.

The Road to Castrovalva by LostBob

The Road to Castrovalva

To reach the town you exit the A25 immediately after you emerge from the tunnel and travel through Casale and Anversa Degli Abruzzi. The road up to Castrovalva is a left turn shortly after Anversa Degli Abruzzi off SR479, the road south to Scanno through the Valle del Sagittario, between Monte Genzana and Montagna Grande. The road to the town climbs steeply up the western side of the hill via a series of switchbacks until a short tunnel just below the ridge line crosses over to the eastern side. A final switchback brings you into Castrovalva.

Castrovalva Rooftops by LostBob

Castrovalva Rooftops

Street in Castrovalva by LostBob Street in Castrovalva by LostBob

Castrovalva Street Views

Castrovalva, The Edge of Town by LostBob

The Edge of Town

The town was the subject of a 1930 Lithograph by M.C. Escher. I would love to include Escher’s image here but copyright prevents it. The best I can do is point you to the Wikipedia page for the print and to the Official M. C. Escher Website where Castrovalva and many other images are found in several galleries. I learned of the Escher connection only recently. Had I known, I could have attempted to locate his vantage point and recreate his view.

Enlarge Image

M. C. Escher's View (almost)

Escher’s view was apparently near the current road, shortly after it passes through the ridge line tunnel and prior to the last switch back. This is as close as I got. My view is from above the town. Little has changed except the Autostrada which can be seen entering the tunnel between Casale and Cocullo in the distance.

I have posted more photos from Abruzzo into photosets on my Flickr Photo Site

Please check out Abruzzo – Sud (South of A-25, includes Castrovalva photos), Abruzzo – Nord (North
of A-25) and Abruzzo – Fucino (Fucino Valley). Many of the photos there are GeoTagged for location. Comments, suggestions and corrections are welcome and appreciated.


  1. Love your pictures of Abruzzo.

  2. that first picture is my nonnas house

  3. Thanks, what a beautiful town. I visited it several times. You are lucky to have a real piece of such a wonderful place.