Navelli and its red gold

 

Known throughout the world for its red gold, Navelli is a charming village in Abruzzo that offers its visitors the unique flowering of small flowers of saffron (between the months of October and November of each year).
The ancient Navelli is located between the city of L'Aquila and Sulmona and it is crossed by the cattle track called “tratturo magno L'Aquila-Foggia”. The town, from the outside, looks like a compact group of chapels, churches and aristocratic palaces that seem almost blend in the endless tangle of arcs and streets. The oldest part of Navelli is dominated by the sixteenth-century baronial palace, built on the ruins of an earlier medieval castle.

The church of San Sebastiano is very interesting and it was built on the ruins of the old church of San Pelino; its bell tower was originally the turret of the medieval castle. Walking along the streets you find Porta Castello, the oldest part of the village, steep steps, narrow alleys and pieces of local history as the "pilucce", a carved stone used as mangers for donkeys coming back from the fields.

The local food and wine are rich, you can find the small and tasty chickpeas, the almonds, the extra virgin olive oil and the saffron of L'Aquila DOP. The bond between Navelli and the saffron began in the thirteenth century, when a monk brought back from Spain the bulbs of the crocus sativus. Today Navelli’s saffron is considered the best in the world and it received the DOP mark in 2005.

 

To see

Santucci palace – Baronial palace built on the ruins of the medieval fortress.
Church of San Sebastiano – It built on an ancient medieval castle, whose watchtower was converted into a bell tower.
Church of the Rosary – Built in the eighteenth century, the church contains a painting of the venetian painter Damini and the majestic organ made in 1782.
Church of Santa Maria in Cerulis – Dating back to the eleventh century.
Aristocratic palaces - Palazzo Piccioli, Palazzo Mancini-Marchi-Piccioli, Palazzo De Roccis.

To taste

Saffron of L’Aquila
Extra virgin olive oil
Dishes made with chickpeas – Chickpea stew, gnocchetti and chickpeas, sagnette and chickpeas, chickpeas and saffron.
Cauciunitti - Sweets made with chickpeas and cocoa.
Saffron liquor