Cue Jacqui and Kevin, adventure couple supreme, who have scaled the peaks, cycled the switchbacks and covered the ground of this area almost every day since they bought a plot of land on the park’s north easterly tip. Not content exploring Abruzzo alone, they have now put thought and attention into creating their ideal campsite so the countryside can be shared with the rest of us. The outcome of their hard work is magnificent; an authentic rural campsite in scenic Italian hills.
In keeping with the couple’s self-sufficient, minimal impact lifestyle, Kokopelli Camping is a simple and easygoing site with no designated pitches or electrical hook-ups. There’s a distinctly laid-back feel to the place. Even their tents-only policy is suitably loose with certain campervans – so long as they are small and cool enough. But the casual atmosphere masks the diligence and organization that keeps the campsite in tip-top condition. Modern sanitary facilities, with showers, toilets, basins, hairdryers and power points, are clean and well kept, while a communal barn area offers a cooking and dining area, as well as plenty of games to play on a rainy day. It is here that you can mingle with other campers or, on a fine summer's day, on the sun-kissed tiles of the terrace where BBQs provide the perfect excuse to kick back and enjoy some good food.
When it comes to sourcing out the tasty local bounty you can grab some herbs and vegetables from the campsite's very own patch or head to the butchers in Serramonacesca, a vibrant little village two kilometres from the campsite. A quintessential rural settlement, Serramonacesca has a tiny cluster of shops, bars and restaurants with a road leading out to a white stone abbey that dates back to 1080. From its centre, follow the winding road into the natural wilderness of Majella National Park, home to wolves, bears and birds of prey. Half an hour's drive the other way leads you to the pristine Adriatic Coast. Both provide a myriad of attractions and Kevin and Jacqui can provide plenty of local insight into where is good to go.
Kokopelli Camping may have stemmed from this all-action couple encouraging people to explore the surrounding landscape, but it's the incredible hospitality and welcoming atmosphere of the site itself that sustains it year after year. Sure the prime location and stunning views help, but tucking yourself beneath the olive groves at Kokopelli offers plenty more than just a good base for resting your head.
There are no marked pitches, intrusive lighting, or electrical hook ups. The campsite works on a shared communal basis whereby all equipment (pots, pans, crockery, cookers, barbecues... just about anything to do with camping life) is available for all to use. In a barn space there are fridge freezers, a toaster, kettle, games and an extensive library of guide books and novels. A large sun terrace overlooks the mountains, with BBQs, parasols, pergolas and sun loungers – a fantastic place to relax. The campsite grows its own vegetables and herbs, which campers can pick as they wish, dropping a little money into the honesty box. They also supply their own organic olive oil and jams, and have a local supplier of superb organic wines. Ablutions are clean and modern with showers, basins, hairdryers and toilets. There are phone charging points, dishwashing and laundry facilities. Mountain bikes can be hired for anyone to use.
Glamping and tents only – although they make the occasional exception for "small, groovy campervans" (VW or similar).
On the edge of Serramonacesca (0039 085 859416), a rustic village with an ancient abbey (0039 085 859761), Kokopelli Camping is tucked away in a little valley within the foothills of the Majella National Park (0039 0864 25701). Abruzzo is a relatively unknown region in south-central Italy that is well off the tourist trail making it perfect for those wanting a little seclusion and a wonderful outdoors experience. The Abruzzo region stretches from the highest peaks of the Apennine Mountains (just under 3000m) all the way to the Adriatic Sea (30mins by car) and campers will find excellent hiking trails, mountain biking, road cycling, rock climbing, watersports and more. Jacqui and Kevin first moved to the area for the adventure credentials of the surrounding landscape and know the place extremely well. They can offer plenty of advice and guidance on how to get involved in any sports and have a stack of guides in the barn, along with their own home-made book.
Food & Drink
The local village of Serramonacesca (0039 085 859416) is 2km away and has a butchers, plus a couple of shops, bars and restaurants restaurants each. Ristorante Borgo Nuovo (0039 085 859861) is in the centre of the village, while Ristorante Villa Dei Monaci is just out of the main settlement next to the old Abbey, San Liberatore a Maiella (0039 085 859761).
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