Contrada Garifoli, Serramonacesca, Pescara (PE65025), Abruzzo, Italy
Rural simplicity amid some of Italy's most stunning landscapes.
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.
The Owner Says
The perfect combination of nature camping and glamping
I love camping and have stayed in a lot of great campsites, but Kokopelli Camping is the best yet. It was the perfect balance between nature camping and glamping. I loved the simplicity of the olive grove, in which we could pick our own spot, and waking every morning to the song of golden orioles was idyllic. I also loved the facilities of the barn, with its stoves and fridges, pans and plates – everything you need for camp cooking. Local wine is kept chilled in the fridge and the garden is bursting with seasonal produce. The sun terrace, with its gazebos and beer-garden tables is a perfect spot for breakfast or sundown, and the scattering of hammocks among the trees is ideal for an afternoon nap. The surrounding countryside is wonderfully wild and beautiful, and the mountain views are fabulous. The two neighbouring villages offer all the essentials and have a handful of great restaurants to boot. Jaqui and Kevin put a lot of thought and care into meeting the needs of their guests and are fantastic hosts. They have created their own excellent guides for hiking and exploring, covering both local walks and more adventurous excursions. This really made our stay, as we were able to plan some wonderful adventures. They were also on hand to offer additional tips and advice, including the essentials such as where to find the best gelato. As for Abruzzo, I couldn’t have been more impressed with this delightful corner of Italy. Largely neglected by northern European visitors, it is refreshingly free of tourist crowds. We walked through mountain meadows bursting with flowers and insects, scrambled high above the treeline in the breath-taking Majella, plunged into cooling pools in shady gorges, explored ancient villages and imposing castles, and we lounged like lizards at the local’s beach. Kokopelli Camping made for the perfect family camping holiday.
a good place
as i understand it, the name kokopelli derives from the anasazi culture in turtle island as gary snyder - and quite a few others, too - would call it. well, turns out, just like the southwest, kokopelli is a real special place. besides the geographical location, what makes the camp unique is the thought, love and labor that has been put into it. and with that we are talking about the people who created this all. there are a lot of beautiful places out there - some of which i was lucky enough to see - but in the end it's always the same: what sets a place apart and makes it unique - at least when we are talking about a man made site - is the heart and soul that goes into it. now trust me, jacqui and kevin got a hell lot of heart and soul. and sense for they created their own little paradise and are kind enough to share it with the world. it is instantly palpable upon arrival, they run this camp - among other things i'm sure - cuz they find pleasure in giving to people, in making you feel good. and they succeed.
if you are looking for a campground, in an area with wonderful rivers, woods, trails, villages, great food and amongst olive trees, an area that is not yet overrun with tourists - that being said, please go elsewhere - and all of that in a laid back environment, kokopelli might be the place for you.
Believe the hype!
This place is exactly as good as the description and all the reviews make it sound. It's run by two warm, welcoming people who go out of their way to make everyone's stay memorable. The atmosphere is friendly, relaxed and inclusive - one of those rare places where couples and families happily enjoy the same space. It's especially good if you're into hiking, cycling or wild swimming, as all can be done nearby. Crockery cutlery and cooking implements are all provided so you can cook with minimum fuss, and if you've run out of olive oil there'll be some of that in the communal box too. If you fancy eating out, there are several top-notch restaurants nearby which are far better value than in the rest of Italy. We stopped here as part of a 3-week tour of Italy, and enjoyed it more than any of the tourist hot-spots. In the end we ditched our next stop in Venice and extended our stay at Kokopelli instead. Best decision of the holiday!
Heaven in Italy
"Welcome to heaven dude". Those were the words we heard when we entered the Kokopelli camping premises around sundown - sweating heavily & loaded with rucksacks and bags of food. Someone was sitting in the Kokopelli grass, enjoying sunset and a glass of wine, smiling and welcoming us with those words quoted. We instantly forgot the long day trip from Rome, the six buses, the downpours and the monstrous climb from town and sat down with him in the grass.
Best camping place we ever visited. And it's not only about the fantastic views, the charming town of Serramonacesca, the great hikes you can walk in the area, the perfect accommodation on site. Jacqui and KP are lovely people who made this spot into a special gem with its own atmosphere and policy. Go and visit to figure out what's an 'honesty box' for example.
Great experience, we are planning on going back real soon, everyone deserves a holiday like this!
Me and my partner and 2 children aged 5 & 8, had a fantastic week at Kokopeli during the Easter holidays. As it was April and not knowing how the weather would be we stayed in the barn. It was a very comfortable stay, the heating was on when we arrived late at night, as the weather had been quite chilly, but the barn was welcoming and cosy. The room is beautifully designed with very comfortable beds and lovely decor. My kids particularly appreciated the childrens dressing gowns hanging behind the door! As it was out of season we had the place to ourselves and enjoyed the fantastic facilities from the lovely shower blocks to the cooking area and the guest room with fridges, cooker, games to use and lots of very useful information on the local area from amazing walks to great restaurants. Jacqui and Kevin were incredibly welcoming and helped out with local information, even lending us gloves to go skiing. The week started with snow on the nearby hills and we were able to ski several days, hardly anyone on the slopes and a perfect place for the kids to have fun. By the end of the week Spring had come into full bloom and the colours and flowers were out in force. It was really beautiful to see, getting up each morning to a changing view of mountains and sunshine. The children collected eggs from the chickens ( the best eggs they've ever eaten! ) and enjoyed running around the olive grove. On our final day we went skiing in the morning then drove to the beach in the afternoon and swam in the sea before getting our flight home! A wonderful end to a fantastic week. My son said he now wants to live at Kokopelli! Thanks so much to Jacqui & Kevin for creating such a lovely welcoming atmosphere and well run campsite and we hope to return soon..
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Back for more!!
Having spent a wonderful time at Kokopelli early in April of this year there really was no choice when it came to finding somewhere to stay for a short visit early in June. My family are not hard core campers so decided that the comforts of the barn were a very sensible suggestion for early April. It was warm, comfortable and plenty big enough for 2 adults and children aged 17 and 11. In fact all the girls (my wife included) found it a nice balance of the outdoor life (cooking and trips to the very nice shower block etc) with the creature comforts of a solid roof over our heads and cosy beds!! Added to that the fabulous location and exceptional hospitality we were shown by Jacqui and KP we really loved being at Kokopelli. For our first visit we flew to Rome and hired a car. However on my second visit I was travelling alone and decided to fly to Pescara and take up the offer of KP's airport transfer service. How wonderful it was to be driven at night back to such a fantastic place to be greeted, not only by Jacqui and Finn the dog but by a collection of lovely guests and the most amazing display of fireflies - truly magical. This time I opted to stay in the room in the house which was even nicer than the barn with the ensuite bathroom and fridge. It really felt good to be back. The next day I had business to attend to in Pescara but when that was concluded I had time to enjoy not only Kokopelli but Serramonacesca itself. Not only do you start to understand why KP and Jacqui have chosen to call this corner of Italy their home but you also understand how they have become part of, and indeed contribute enormously to, the community. To give you an example: KP, in the 3 days I was there, played a major role in finding a dog that had been lost in the mountains for 3 days, much to the obvious joy of a previously very distraught couple from Germany. Meanwhile Jacqui was offering to give some other guests a lift back home (a fair trek over the mountains) as their vehicle had broken down - KP had already made various phone calls to try and source the necessary spare parts but to no immediate avail. It is this kind of service that is beyond the normal call of duty that makes Kokopelli and it's owners stand out. Everything is done with genuine enthusiasm and thought for the guests' comfort, well being, happiness, enjoyment. I cannot wait to be back in this fantastic place and in the company of these lovely people. Go there. You will discover for yourself something very special. Mark, Bath, England.
Great campsite, highly recommended
Very relaxed but well run campsite, beautiful surroundings, lovely facilities clean and spacious. and I really appreciated the (real) soap at the wash basins in the loos. Jaqui and KP know every walk in the area as well as what a great campsite needs. The whole family enjoyed our short stay and we are looking forward to our next visit and exploring the area more.
Definitely the best campsite........
Well, definitely the best campsite I've ever stayed at. This is authentic Italy, with all its unique and legendary charms - weather, food, history, culture, people - and then some; like Jacqui and Kev's hospitality, views to die for, spectacular waterfalls, impossibly beautiful (and empty) beaches, historic hill villages, plus as many, or as few, activities as you want to indulge in.
Abruzzo is unique, unspoilt and undiscovered - although its central location and surprising good public transport also make it ideal to combine with visits to Rome, Naples and even Bologna. Do come if you want to experience real Italy, if you appreciate pristine environments and if you are happy to learn a few words of Italian and live like a local. Stay away if your idea of camping includes hook ups, manufactured entertainment and nearby supermarkets.
Highlights: the bell tents are fab, Rosemary, the VW camper (my favourite) is delightful and the variety of local walks such that you can easily spend a week in Kokopelli (with or without a car) without wanting to travel anywhere else - make friends with Fin, the handsome campsite dog, and he will guide you home from the neighbourhood trails. Facilities, from solar-heated showers to WiFi, are excellent and unobtrusive
And, should you weary of the smouldering sunsets behind Monte Amaro, you can always join the locals and watch the football in the village bar and, as always in Italy, you will not be disappointed by the coffee, or the prosecco, or the company.
Probably the best campsite in...maybe... the world
This is just a short review, we could go on for ever about how great Kokopelli is. Jacqui and Kevin are amazing hosts - nothing too much trouble. The site is idyllic and quiet with fabulous views. The quaint local village has a great but friendly locals bar or two and perhaps Europe's cheapest wine - think it was about £1.20 a glass. Good local restaurants are a short drive away, and magnificent walking (easy or tough) - we'd wanted to walk Gran Sasso but never left the local area due to all the completely people-free trails. The facilities are basic but super clean and there is everything you could want from crockery to coffee-makers, games to barbecues you can just borrow and put back. Could have spent weeks there. Abruzzo is much more appealing in its people, simple food and prices than the more touristy areas in Central Italy, at least to us. Everything that slow / authentic camping should be about but is so, so rare to find. Bellisima!