Learn some useful vocabulary with Italian language teacher Paola Fraioli 

Our beloved village of Pacentro is situated in the Parco Nazionale della Majella (Majella National Park), which was created in 1991. Within the park there are 700 km of sentieri (trails) which people can follow for both easy walks and for more challenging hikes. Every amante della natura (nature lover) can find their own pleasure. The marked trails were created by following the old routes used by the inhabitants of these montagne (mountains). There are in fact three different types of path: sentieri della libertà (freedom trails), sentieri dello spirito (spirit trails) and sentieri della transumanza (animal trails). 

The Freedom Trails retrace the dirty mulattiere (mule tracks) that were used alla fine della Seconda Guerra Mondiale (at the end of World War II) after the armistizio (armistice) of 8 September 1943. Allied prisoners escaping from the campi di prigionia (POW camps), seeking salvation were guided by the partigiani (partisans) towards the territories which had already been liberated.

Transumanza is the traditional migration of pecore (sheep) and mucche (cows) from the highlands to the lowlands, and vice versa. The word literally means “crossing the land”. 

The Spirit Trails take you on a viaggio (journey) following in the footsteps of the eremita (hermit) Pietro Da Morrone, the futuro Papa (future Pope) Celestine V, who chose the most remote places in the Majella for his journey of fede (faith). 

Every time you choose one of these paths, ti immergi (you immerse yourself) in the atmosphere of the people who walked there before.

Almost every morning, depending on my teaching commitments, we leave our house and after five minutes we start our trek on la montagna che circonda (the mountain which surrounds) Pacentro called the Morrone.

At the side of the Furnacella restaurant in Pacentro we take the Q1 route and we follow the path che porta (leading) to Passo San Leonardo. After walking for about an hour, we arrive at a bivio (fork) with the Q2 which leads you within a couple of hours to the lovely chiesa (church) of San Germano near Campo di Giove. Over the last few years cartelli del parco (the park signs) have been updated and are now very clearly marked. Cartine (maps) are also available from l‘ufficio del Parco (the park office) situated in Pacentro.

For a short walk of just a couple of hours, we always bring acqua (water) and una mela (an apple). We have found that apples increase our energy levels! I also never leave the house without my bastone (wooden stick) which was made for me by one of the few remaining pastori (shepherds) left in these mountains. 

La salita (climbing) is for me almost a meditation exercise. Gustando (enjoying) nature by its odore (smell) – depending on the season you can smell santoreggia (wild thyme), mentuccia (wild mint) and elicrisio (helichrysum) – and ascoltando (hearing) the fiume (river) Vella roaring below. La vista (the sense of sight) is aroused by the flora (flora) and fauna (fauna).

La discesa (descending) needs more attention as stones and irregular paths call for no distractions.

Did you know that the i giapponesi (Japanese) have a word for bagno di natura (“forest bathing”)? It is shinrin-yoku. As you can imagine from the translation, it just means losing yourself in nature while enjoying the air, the scents, the vegetation and the sounds of the birds and the animals che lì ci vivono (that live there).

Walking in the Majella is a wonderful experience and I hope it’s one which you will enjoy too.


A concise Mountain Vocabulary

Aiuto! – Help! Sos

Alpinismo – Mountaineering

Arrampicata – Climbing

Bacchette – Trekking poles

Borraccia – Canteen, Water bottle

Bussola – Compass

Cai (Club Alpino Italiano) – Italian Alpine Club

Camminare – Walking, hiking

Cartina o mappa – Map

Corda – Rope

Crepaccio o Burrone – Ravine

Cresta – Summit, Peak, Ridge

Elicottero – Helicopter

Escursionismo – Hiking

Frana – Landslide

Guida alpina – Mountain Guide

Ghette – Gaiters

Kway (pronounced /ki-wei/) o impermeabile – Waterproof jacket

Panorama mozzafiato – Breathtaking landscape

Piccozza – Pick Axe

Primo soccorso – First Aid

Quota – Altitude

Ramponi – Crampons

Rifugio o bivacco, baita –  Mountain shelter, Lodge

Scarponi – Mountain Boots

Soccorso alpino – Alpine Rescue

Torcia – Flashlight

Traccia / sentiero – Trail / track

Valico o Passo – Pass

Vipera – Viper

Zaino – Backpack

About The Author

Curly haired, ex-pat Anglo-American, Quid Novi wordsmith, insomniac, wife & mother, English teacher, marketing professional, crazy volcanina, nerd and resident of Sulmona since 2009.

Related Posts