Abruzzo is the green heart of Italy, a Region with many National Parks, high peaks, such as Gran Sasso, the highest in the Apennines, rolling hills, beautiful and wild bays along the coast. Abruzzo is a region on a human scale, the perfect place where to slow down our own rhythms and be surrounded by nature. You will find many ideas and suggestions also reading our green travel guides to the main cities of Abruzzo:
In the Region there are three main parks: the National Park of Abruzzo, at the boarder with Lazio and Molise, the National Park of Majella and the National Park of Gran Sasso and Laga Mountains, where there is the highest peak of the Appenins, the Gran Sasso, with its glacier called Calderone. Parks are crossed by many itineraries, some of them are easy and good for the whole family, others are more challenging, for these who love adventure: in both cases you will find amazing landscapes In the parks there is a great variety of nature, plants and animals that you can also discover thanks to organized itineraries. The symbol of the Abruzzo National Park is the Marsican Bear, living in the Apennines and in particular in this area.
Moving toward the coast the landscape changes: mountains make place for rolling hills, where the land has been transformed by man. You will find olive grooves and vineyards but also forest of oaks , poplars , willows and maples and of many ancient fruit trees.
Surrounded by mountains there are also many lakes, peaceful places to hear the sound of silence and relax in the nature, but also to have fun, especially if you love water sports from rowing to kite surf. You can go visiting Campotosto Lake, in the surroundings of L'Aquila, Scanno Lake, the widest of the Region and Barrea Lake in the National Park of Abruzzo
If you are looking for an holiday at the seaside, you will find many possibilities in Abruzzo. The wide area of the marine protected area of Torre del Cerrano, running for about 130 kilometers, guarantees a great naturalistic variety.
The coast in the area of Teramo, from the city of Martinsicuro to Silvi Marina and of Pescara, is characterized by beautiful sandy beaches. On the other hand, in the south part of the Region, the landscape changes: the coast between Ortona, Casalbordino, Vasto and San Salvo is rocky and wild, surrounded by bushes of Macchia Mediterranea.
Abruzzo surprises for its ability to integrate human traces with nature: this is what makes unique the Region, with its enchanting landscapes. The land is dotted with small villages, with their castles, ancient churches, monasteries and isolated hermitages. Ancient traces, of the population inhabiting this region in the past, are well visible in caves, in the area of Majella, used as burial sites, or places where to celebrate sacred rites, but also in the finds preserved at the Museum. A fascinating site is Giumentina valley, in the area of Majella, an ancient lake inhabited during the Paleolithic Era. In Paludi Celano you can visit a prehistoric necropolis on stilts, perfectly preserved along the years.
Many cities that you can visit also today, have been built at the time of Ancient Romans. They show nowadays a great variety of architectural stiles, due to the fact that they have been rebuilt in different eras. In Chieti, Lanciano, Atri, Penne, Teramo, Sulmona and Vasto for example, Medieval traces are mixed together with the present and the past.
Ancient villages in the mountains are witnesses of the effort of mixing nature with human traces: they are completely built with stones, recalling the colors of the surrounding mountains. You can stop in Pettorano sul Gizio, near the city of Sulmona, Penne, near Pescara, Anversa degli Abruzzi, Castel del Monte and Scanno, in the surroundings of L'Aquila.
Walking towards the coast the architecture changes: the Renaissance style becomes more evident, always with grace and harmony still maintaining the traditional spirit of these places. Villages are made with bricks, giving buildings a warm and characteristic color. They are surrounded by stonewalls and grow around squares, situated in the center, where people meet each other.
If you are visiting Abruzzo, don't forget to taste local food, usually made with fresh and genuine products.
Typical dishes are “Spaghetti alla Chitarra”, traditional hand made pasta with tomatoes sauce and "Arrosticini", skewers of mutton grilled, that you will find especially in mountain areas. There are also many different types of bread, eaten together with cheese and cold cuts. In the area of Navelli, not far from l'Aquila, saffron is grown, while vineyards in the area of Teramo produce the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, a wine which is well known and appreciated.
As a dessert you can taste Torrone and Sassi, toasted almonds covered by sugar, but also Parrozzo, typical in the area of Pescara, made with almonds and chocolate, but also the famous candies of Sulmona, called “confetti”.
Here you can find some suggestions if you are thinking about going on holiday in Abruzzo
Casale Il Baronetto, Castiglione Messer Raimondo (TE). A B&B surrounded by nature that actively supports alternative energies and eco-friendly use of resources. The place offers traditional dishes, using only homegrown or locally produced ingredients (Km 0). It's the perfect place to spend a totally different holiday - plenty of human contact, exchanges of experience and professionalism, returning to the origins of hospitality and gratitude.
Agriturismo L'Aperegina, Corvara (PE). L'Aperegina is an organic farm situated in the green centre of the Three Abruzzi National parks. The main building is an old shepherd’s house with a stable, which has been restored. The main activity is bee keeping, and the surrounding area is occupied by various farm animals, such as pigs, a donkey, a goat, and poultry. The orchard has an abundance of cherries, prunes, apples, figs, and walnuts used in the making of their own jams and liqueurs.
If you are looking for other suggestions for your trip to Abruzzo, you can read these articles:
Author: Anita Cason
Cover Image: Luigi Alesi via Flickr