When I am in Orsara di Puglia, I go for a long passeggiata (walk) up the mountain almost every morning. When you spend weeks eating lots of yummy food, this is necessary. Orsara is already at 650-700 m elevation (2300 ft) and my walk is uphill a lot of the way so there is some good altitude there. I leave Orsara via Via Castagneto and take the Via Nuova, go past the Cimitero (cemetary) and then take the uphill zigzags to ‘La Montagna Spaccata’. At one time this was a steep windy dirt road, but now it is paved. I like to call it ‘la palestra di Madre Natura’ or ‘Mother Nature’s gym’. In the early to mid morning and early evening many Orsaresi of all ages are out walking.
‘Spaccata’ means cracked or split, as in split into 2. The reason for the name is that part of the mountain is in Puglia and part in Campania. Montaguto, the closest village to Orsara, is in fact in Campania, in the province of Avellino. When you arrive at the ‘frontiera’ (border) you can see the difference in the asphalt where one regione has stopped paving and the other has started. Just beyond the border is the Parco Eolico di Montaguto (wind farm) and the road also flattens out a lot. I usually walk to this ‘frontiera’ and then walk back down. Sometimes I go father, and a few times I have even walked all the way to Montaguto which is 6 km away.
I always thought Montagna Spaccata was just a ‘local’ name and that it had a real name. I tried to find out, but no one seemed to know for sure. I did some heavy duty research, consulting wikipedia….oops, I mean my amico Donato, who asked his amico Leonardo who consulted the official IGMI (Istituto Geografico Militare Italiano) military map …..and what do you know, Montagna Spaccata is the actual name!
I love my morning passeggiata. I can breathe in fresh aria di montagna (mountain air) and get some exercise-aka an excuse to eat more! I also enjoy and photograph some breathtaking scenery and views of Orsara di Puglia and even meet friends along the way. See for yourself…..