The region of Abruzzo, where the north of Italy meets the south, is also one of the most beautiful in the country. Bordered by the Apennines to the west and fringed by the Adriatic on the east, it has some of Italy’s most unspoiled scenery. In the Gran Sasso it has the highest mountain of the Apennine range. L’Aquila is the beautiful capital city and is packed full of art, churches and monuments.
Abruzzo lies in the central area of Italy 50 miles (80 km) east of Rome. Abruzzo has borders with the regions of Marche, Lazio and Molise and the Adriatic Sea to the east.
Abruzzo has a wealth of Castles and medieval towns and is also popular for its ski resorts in the Apennine mountains with 21 ski areas all within a few hours drive from Rome. Abruzzo also is popular for cross country skiing, especially on the high plain of Campo Imperatore in the Gran Sasso as well as the Piana Grande in the Majella.The Gran Sasso massif sports the Italian peninsula’s highest peak, Corno Grande, and Europe’s southernmost glacier, Il Calderone. The Corno Grande and its neighboring Corno Piccolo provide a range of climbing opportunities from mountain hikes suitable for novices to sheer rock wall ascents suitable only for expert alpinists. Abruzzo’s lesser known peaks, especially the gentler slopes of the Majella, offer climbers the opportunity to hike and climb in solitude. Abruzzo’s 129 km long sandy coastline is home to a many popular beach resorts, among them Vasto on Abruzzo’s southern coast; mid-coast are Silvi Marina, whose sands are considered among the best in Italy, Giulianova, Francavilla al Mare and Pineto, and on Abruzzo’s northern coast are Alba Adriatica and Martinsicuro. One third of the region is designated as national or regional parkland.
The following parks lie, wholly or partially, within Abruzzo:
- Abruzzo National Park
- Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park
- Majella National Park
- Sirente Velino Regional Park
- Lago di Barrea (Barrea Lake Wetlands
- The protected areas are environmentally important and are home to rare flora and fauna, such as the brown bear, the wolf and the chamois
Look out for:-
Scanno, in Abruzzo National Park, is a delightful mountain town famous for its handmade gold filigree jewellery and the women who still wear traditional costumes.
If you’re heading for the sandy shores of the Adriatic, Pescara, the capital of the region, has lots to offer. Half an hour’s drive south of it is Ortona, site of the Canadian Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery.
Rivisondoli a popular mountain resort both in summer and winter. It is also one of Italys largest cheese producing towns.
Chieti is well known for it’s Roman and medieval remains, it’s churches and an interesting art museum. Positioned between the coast and the mountains, its tall Bell Tower can be seen from the far distance.
Carpineto Sinello proudly displays its castle, there are also some archaeological ruins, The ‘Sagra della Porchetta’ held on the last weekend of July, offers samples of Porchetta and Ventricina along with music and dancing.
Avezzano, situated between Rome and L’Aquila, is famous for the unique flavour of its potatoes. The town had to be completely re-built following the earthquake of 1915. Close by you can find the Alba Fucens (Roman Ruins), Mount Velino and Orsini Castle.
The Forte Spagnolo ; locally called il Castello, is a Renaissance castle in L’Aquila, central Italy.In the 15th century, L’Aquila had become the second most powerful city in the Kingdom of Naples after Naples itself: there were half a million sheep, wool and saffron were exported throughout Europe; all this unfortunately was lost when the Aquilans, during the war between the French and the Spaniards for the throne of Naples
The history of Villa Santa Maria as a culinary centre started in 1560, when the local Lord Ferrante Caracciolo started the first ever Cookery school. From his experience of his travels to Florence he began to teach the young men of the area the secrets of ‘good cooking’.It was from this time that the Abruzzese chefs became world famous.Cardinal Mazarin from Pescina,successor to Richelieu as prime minister and counsellor to the Kings of France, preferred the chefs from this village to those of the court of Versailles
The Tremiti Islands are only accessible by boat from Termoli or Pescara. They include S.Domingo, the largest of the islands, the administrative, historical and religious capital, the island of Capara, the uninhabited Pianosa and some little more than rocks, ‘il Cretaccio’ and ‘la Vecchia’. The waters surrounding the islands, are crystal clear and inviting, and this is a splendid way to spend a day swimming and sun bathing.
Fara San Martino is one of Italy’s main Pasta producing capitals.The town sits at the foot of the eastern slope of the Majella. From the Del Verde springs there is a footpath which leads to the San Martino Gorges, in August there is a spectacular firework display held in the gorges. With its fantastic natural background, the village presents a different landscape with every season.
Sitting on a hill set between two valleys is the town of Campli a town of great religious significance. It was in Campli in 1772 that Pope Clement XIV declared the town to be the supreme owner of the Holy Stairs. Situated at St Paul’s church, the 28 oak steps make up the Holy Staircase and according to the Pope those who climb the stairs on their knees will be rewarded with forgiveness of their sins
The Majella Orientale is a place of outstanding natural beauty and one of the most outstanding areas of the Abruzzo mountains. The area is protected by the Majella National Park.With its steep rocky mountains this ‘alpine’ area is popular with climbers and mountaineers.Take an impressive ride in a cable car up to the Cavallone Cave, the cable car travels up past the limestone rocks and below is a deep valley with villages on the hill tops.
Sulmona is the home of the Italian confectionery known as confetti. These are sugar coated almonds and are traditionally given to friends and relatives on weddings and other special occasions. Confetti can be eaten or simply used as decoration. The local artisans also color these candies and craft them into flowers and other creations. There are two main factories in town and several shops that sell these items.There is documentation describing sweets very similar to the present day confetti, from 14 AD.The different colours represent different celebrations – White for Weddings – Silver for 25th anniversaries – pink or pastel-blue for christenings – red for graduations – green for engagements… the centres, although mainly almonds, can also be hazelnuts, anise seeds, cinnamon sticks, coffee beans, peanuts, pistachios, marzipan or chocolate. From party favours, ‘flower’ arrangements or ‘fruit’ baskets, these play an important role in Italian life.
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