Penne mapping party

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Penne is a small town in Abruzzo, Italy; the suggestion is to use Penne as a base for mapping the local area.

The idea for an international mapping party came from a discussion on the mailing list about what to do when your home area is fully mapped. Abruzzo is a beautiful part of Italy which still has large unmapped areas. Yahoo (and Google) satellite resolution for the area is too low for mapping - it needs to be done on the ground. Local mappers in Abruzzo are working in Pescara, Montesilvano, L'Aquila, and Lanciano: there are none in the Penne area, which is an area of hills midway between the mountains and the coast. Marinheiro has a holiday home to let in Penne, and is prepared to make it available at cost for a mapping party.

What to Map

There are various possibilities, depending on people's interests.

  1. None of the other mediaeval towns in the area are mapped at all. These would best be mapped on foot, but transport would be needed to get to them. Three historic unmapped towns about the same size as Penne are Loreto Aprutino, Atri and Citta Sant'Angelo. There is even an unmapped (small) city not too far away - Chieti. None of the villages in Abruzzo have been mapped at all yet, as far as I know.
  2. Many of the national roads (the equivalent of 'A' roads) in Abruzzo are now done. Some of the 'B' roads, and a few of the smaller roads are done. It is easy to find unmapped roads within cycling distance of Penne.
  3. Because of the number of national parks in the area this part of Abruzzo is popular for walking/horse-riding and has many official trails. There are many kilometers of unmapped trails, especially in the Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga, about 40 minutes drive from Penne.
  4. The old centre of Penne itself is largely mapped but inaccurate in parts because of canyon effects. Some of the periphery still needs doing (but is rather boring). The Penne regional park and bird sanctuary is in walking distance and has an official trail which is only partly mapped (I got lost).
  5. If numbers are enough to get really ambitious, one possibility would be to map a complete area: before the Romans came Abruzzo was divided into tribal territories, and Penne was a capital of the Vestini tribe. The Comunita Montana Vestina is a modern association of small towns and villages once inhabited by the Vestini and grouped round Penne which might just about be completely mappable in a week.

Where to stay

I have a house in Penne which people are welcome to stay at at cost (see below). The house has one double bedroom, one bedroom with two single beds, and a living room with sofa beds for two. There are two bathrooms.

For more people, there are several other places to stay in Penne. It might be possible to approach these for reduced rates if there is the demand.

There are also OSM members elsewhere in Abruzzo we could ask.


The only costs with the house are cleaning before and after people come (including laundry) gas, and electricity. I would guess that £20 per person would more than cover these for a week.

People would need to fund their own flight out (Ryanair, and so often very cheap), and whatever car-hire was needed locally.


The house should have broadband. Unfortunately Italy Telecom have currently cut me off and I am still waiting for reconnection. Hopefully this should be fixed soon. There are two 'internet cafes' (one PC each) in Penne.



The nearest airport is Pescara. Direct flights to Pescara from the UK are only Ryanair, from Stansted. You can fly to Rome and catch a train or a local flight to Pescara, but it takes longer and costs more.

Penne has no train station. There are regular buses from Pescara, but the trip takes over an hour. Best bet to get from Pescara to Penne as a group is with a hire care from the airport (see below).


Buses are a possibility, but any practical mapping round Penne will probably need a car. Hire cars are available from the airport.

If there is interest I will see if there is any way to hire some bicycles. The countryside is hilly but not impossible for cycling (be prepared to be shamed by local 10 year olds whizzing past you on steep gradients - cycling is hugely popular locally).

Funding and help

I have some ideas for possible people to approach for help or small-scale funding, but don't want to put them on here in public yet as it depends on what kind of thing people want to map.


This would need to be outside school holidays, which are when the house is usually let. Should be March or later (too cold before March)

Suggestions/votes below, please. For 'mapping option' see the list in 'what to map' above.

Name Preferred dates Preferred mapping option
Marinheiro March 20 - 27 5