The geographical area devoted to the production of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Sottozona Terre dei Vestini DOC wine lies between the coastal and inland hillside belts of the province of Pescara bounded to the east by the Adriatic Sea and to the northwest by the Gran Sasso. These hills give rise to an undulating landscape with broad, almost flat rises and shallow, rounded slopes.
224 kilometers delineate the route of the Tratturo Magno, which runs from L’Aquila to Foggia, the largest and most important of the five regi tratturi, the ancient roads of transhumance, with a width of 60 Neapolitan passes (about 111 meters).
The tratturo magno originates from the basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio in L’Aquila; the traditional departure of transhumance from the basilica’s churchyard, historically ascertained as early as the late 13th century, was later codified by the Alphonsine regulations of the 15th century.
Numerous country churches or trattural churches for the shelter and comfort of shepherds can still be observed along the route; for example, the church of St. Paul of Peltuinum and the church of St. Mary of Cintorelli, from where the Centurelle-Montesecco Tracture separates.
From the capital of Abruzzo, the historical itinerary then follows the course of the Aterno River, passing through the valley floor hamlets of Sant’Elia, Bazzano, Onna and San Gregorio; a variant to the route, passing through the church of Santa Maria del Soccorso, crosses instead the towns of Tempera and Paganica to then rejoin the main route. After passing Poggio Picenze, the route turns away from the Aterno and climbs up toward Prata d’Ansidonia, skirting the remains of the ancient city of Peltuinum, then reaching the plateau of Navelli.
It crosses the plain to the church of Santa Maria dei Cintorelli near Caporciano. From this point a second royal sheep-track, the Centurelle-Montesecco sheep-track, runs almost parallel to the L’Aquila-Foggia sheep-track. The first part of the route up to Cintorelli traces the Roman-era road called via Claudia Nova and replaced in contemporary times by the state road 17 of the Abruzzese and Appulo-Sannitic Apennines.
From Cintorelli, the sheep-track then enters the territories of the ancient barony of Carapelle, ascending the southeastern foothills of the Gran Sasso d’Italia and entering the Tirino valley near the Vestina town of Aufinum, between Ofena and Capestrano. After skirting Lake Capodacqua, it crosses the Forca di Penne pass and, past the villages of Brittoli and Corvara, enters the Pescara valley where it passes through the town of Rosciano.
It then heads toward Lanciano to reach the Adriatic coast near the mouth of the Osento River. It enters the plains of Vasto again to skirt the coast again at the mouth of the Trigno River enters Molise. From here it began to pick up the flocks from Molise, skirting the Foggia-San Severo railroad and then reaching Foggia, the city of the Sheep Customs House, with the same point of arrival as the Celano-Foggia Tratturo at the Church of the Crosses and the Epitaph monument.