Rocca di Cambio on the ridge at the foot of Montecagnois is the highest town in Abruzzo (1433 m.) and was the chosen holiday place of Emperor Otto (9th – 10th cent.) It’s situated in The Rocche plateau between the Velino and Sirente massif and has an elevation of 1433 m. The area is encompassed within the only regional park in Abruzzo. Up to 50 years ago Rocca di Cambio lived on menager agriculture, on small sheep and cattle farms. Only from the beginning of the fifties, in the local economy, the first signs of a positive change were from the Municipality since 1951 for the revaluation of the historic center, to the road system, to the hotel sector and to tourism development.
The village was founded as a medieval stronghold by the Lombards in the 9th century. In the mid-thirteenth century, the town participated together with the other villages of the Aquila basin in the foundation of L’Aquila, under the dominion of the Anjou. The town became autonomous in 1849, when it recovered its status as an autonomous municipality. The small town began to modernize only after World War II and a sign of this new course the electric light and viable roads.
From the sheep tradition Agnello in umido (Lamb wet) , Cardo in brodo (Thistle in broth), frittata agli orapi (omelette with wild spinach), Castrato con le patate (wether with potatoes) and the Pizza sfogliata (pizza puff pastry): flour, lard and eggs, simple ingredients for the puff pastry, a typical dessert of Rocca di Cambio. A poor dish of the local culinary tradition. The pizza sfogliata was cooked to pay for the journey of the deceased would have made to the afterlife, and during the wake a piece was also cut to pay homage to the deceased.
In the centre the church of the Annunziata (15th cent.) feature contemporary baptismal font and tabernacle in th 14th century of Abruzzo-style. On the other side the Abbey of S.Lucia with was found in te 14th century. Its presbytery is adorned with shrinking 14th – century frescoes.
The creation of the Campo Felice ski resort was his greatest commitment, and the drive that led to a precise turnaround in the local economy. 4km southwest of Rocca di Cambio, the Brecciara chairlift runs up to Campo Felice (1550m) a major ski resort. In the ’65, ’66, and ’68 Rocca di Cambio rose to national prominence as the stage venue of the Giro d’Italia. Unforgettable occasions for the history of this town. Personalities from the world of sports, journalism, television, all there, in that small mountain center: Torriani, Zavoli, De Zan, Merckx, Anquetil, Gimondi, Adorni, Raschi, Altig, Motta, Taccone. The resort has a modern fully automated system, equipped with 380 cannons, capable of snowing over 35 km of slopes, a cutting-edge technology, that ensures maximum snow production, even at marginal temperatures, and the use of all cold hours. The water requirement of the plant, which is completely autonomous, is ensured by two storage lakes with a capacity of 82 million liters created in a natural stream at the base of the Cisterna chairlift and one inserted in the Cerchio parking area. The resort boasts 15 downhill runs, spanning 40 km. Cross-country enthusiasts are also catered for with several routes that weave around the plateau and various trail. Campo Felice is also a paradise for children: thanks to the “Manovia Baby” they have a dedicated space to learn to ski with more ease and tranquility. Fun is then guaranteed with the “Fun Kids Area”: the “Snow Tubing” park, served by a carpet about 90 meters long and located at the “Campo Scuola” slope, awaits adults and children every weekend. The resort is also accessible from Tornimparte A24 motorway exit.
Among the many protagonists of the world of culture, sport and politics who were guests of Rocca di Cambio, we cannot fail to mention the Abruzzese Ignazio Silone, who wrote the last chapter of the famous novel “Emergency Exit” here. Today, Rocca di Cambio with its 478 inhabitants, is an established center of tourism and winter sports that many also prefer as a destination for summer holidays.