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LAKES TURANO & SALTO IN THE NATURE RESERVES OF MOUNT NAVEGNA & MOUNT CERVIA IN THE PROVINCE OF RIETI.
A corner of Lazio that we had not visited properly, so today was the day - which was early March! We openly admit that we'd not planned this - we just decided to set off and see what happened.
First stop: Lake Turano....we really liked this lake and even though it was cold and a bit grey, we could imagine how splendid this whole area will be in the Summer.
We saw no signs of any boating/sailing clubs, but there are activities in Summer - kayaking, canoeing, river-trekking and other more extreme sports. The lake is safe and we've not heard any tales of strange currents, BUT if you decide to have a picnic in surrounding areas, it is important not to leave any rubbish or foodstuffs as there are Wild Boar who will smell the food and could attack you for it!
There was a restaurant we wanted to have lunch in called DEA but we didn't book ahead (silly us) and it was full when we arrived. Not surprising - cooking is said to be excellent and there are only 5 tables! Very cosy, just like dining in someone's home. There were a couple of other places we could have tried but we did not see a single ATM machine - and places in the middle of nowhere tend not to accept credit cards - so instead of risking delaying further we dashed up to Rieti in the hope of finding somewhere still serving at 3pm!
We were lucky! We found a restaurant called Pepe Nero and it was SO good. Excellent prices & very friendly, professional service. Ample, rather than extensive, choice and everything perfectly prepared. As hungry as we were, we could not finish the meal!
With happy tummies we were back on the road for part 2 of the adventure to Lake Salto via Rocca Sinibalda. Disappointingly, the Rocca Sinibalda Castle - which looks magnificent from the outside and has a large hanging garden from where you would be able to see the valleys on both sides - is privately owned and they re-opened to visitors in 2014 but you need to pre-book. The village is very pretty and boht the village and castle offer stunning views.
From Rocca Sinibalda we took the route through Longone Sabino and Varco Sabino. A never ending journey, all twisty-turny roads following the shape of the mountains. Some areas up here are only accessible by donkey. We saw several farmers leading donkey's down mountain trails, laden with logs.
Conclusion - we loved the untamed feel of this area and will definitely return!