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Santo Stefano di Sessanio

Things to do: historic sites
Santo Stefano di Sessanio is a comune and hill town in the Province of L'Aquila in the Abruzzo region of Italy. Located in an Italian national park, the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park,in the highest region of the Apennines, this medieval hill town sits adjacent to the high plain of Campo Imperatore.Population and economyThe tiny medieval village of Santo Stefano lay largely abandoned with many of its ancient building in ruins and only 70 inhabitants until recent years. Now, many of the village's buildings have been restored. Some comprise the Sextantio Albergo Diffuso, or extended hotel. Other structures have been restored as vacation homes. The village's population as of 1 January 2009 was 124. However, with its distance to Rome of 154km by car, or less than two hours' drive, the small village has become a fashionable weekend and summer retreat. Among its most notable part-time residents is Lucio Dalla, the Italian singer and songwriter. The village's main source of income is tourism with small boutiques, art galleries and eateries tucked into ancient stone structures.Along with its neighbor Castel del Monte, Santo Stefano has been named one of Italy's prettiest villages, "I Borghi Piu belli D’Italia", and recognized by the Slow Food movement for its sustainable agriculture, in particular its gourmet lentils, "lenticchie". The town holds a festival on the first weekend in September of each year, the "Sagra delle Lenticchie", celebrating this food.
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