Abruzzo is a region located in the center of Italy, nestled in the Apennines and the Adriatic coast, just a couple of hours away from Rome.
It is the perfect destination if you are interested in visiting some authentic and off-the-beaten track gems, finding an escape from the daily stressful routine, getting in touch with the locals, and tasting delicious zero km products.
But what is Abruzzo known for?
If you are looking for an answer to this question, you are in the right place.
The green lung of Europe
Abruzzo Italy is known as “the green lung of Europe” for its three National Parks, one Regional Park and several natural reserves. Around a third of the region is protected nature and this makes the region the largest naturalistic area in the European continent, with 75% of the flora and fauna species in Europe. Imagine yourself walking around the mountain paths and spotting wolves, Marsican bears, and deers…to name a few.
The Trabocchi coast
Considered one of the best places to see in Abruzzo, the Trabocchi coast is a 50-kilometer (31 miles) coast that stretches from Ortona to the Vasto area, in the province of Chieti, named this way for its collection of old fishing net structures known as trabocchi.
It is full of beautiful beaches, made of sand, pebbles, gravel, rocks and cliffs, one after the other, and it’s ideal both for those who want a place to relax and those who prefer the comfort offered by the seaside establishments. The Trabocchi coast is also part of one of the longest cycling lanes by the sea, in Europe, a 42 km (27 miles) path built on the old abandoned railway line from which you can admire the most amazing views.
Skiing while overlooking the sea or swimming while admiring snow capped mountains
In Abruzzo, you will find the Apennine ski slopes on the west side and the blue waters of the Adriatic Sea on the east coast, some of them only 20 miles away, making it possible to spend the morning skiing and the afternoon at the beach.
Passolanciano–Majelletta is a ski resort that offers a unique scenery at almost 2000 meters (6,500 feet) above sea level, overlooking the Adriatic coast.
A break with Arrosticini
Arrosticini, known as rustelle, are definitely something Abruzzo is known for. They are mutton skewers cooked on fornacellas, a special narrow grill, traditionally eaten by hand, with fresh bread, or ‘pane bruschettato’ and olive oil.
Zafferano from Navelli
Abruzzo, and in particular the town of Navelli, is also known for its yellow gold, Zafferano (saffron), now with a “Denominazione d’Origine Protetta” – Protected Origin Designation.
A long history of pasta-making
Abruzzo also has a long history of pasta-making. Located in the Majella National Park, the quaint village of Fara San Martino is known for the distinctive flavor and quality of its pasta. It is home to three of the most widely recognized high-end pasta brands, De Cecco, Delverde and Cocco.
A “red” ambassador
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (DOC), a very well known red one, has been defined as the ambassador of the region abroad. It is considered as a “traditional/classic” wine but at the same time a symbol of excellence.
Ancient villages and medieval towns
In Abruzzo, you can find some of Italy’s most beautiful ancient villages and medieval towns. Let’s name a few of them…
Santo Stefano di Sessanio is a fortified medieval village located at 1250 meters above sea level, known for its albergo diffuso (extended hotel).
Scanno, considered one of the most beautiful villages of Italy, is a magical hill town in a very scenic location – surrounded by the forest, caressed by a heart-shaped lake that takes its name.
Vasto, the starting point of all tours, is a hilltop ancient Roman town overlooking the Adriatic sea.
Sulmona, located at the foot of the Majella, is a beautiful town surrounded by mountains, where ancient history and a strong tradition for colorful sweets live together.
Pescocostanzo is the perfect destination both in winter and summertime for those who love nature, art, and traditions.
Abruzzo is also known for some magical castles, such as the one of Rocca Calascio, a fortress that stands in the middle of nowhere, offering the most glorious views of the surrounding countryside and mountains, and the one “in the sky” in the charming village of Roccascalegna, ranked by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the 9 Most Beautiful Hilltop Towns in Italy.
Slow rhythms and high quality of life
In Abruzzo, you can live the slow life and actually enjoy “losing” time to stay longer with a friend or arriving a little late at your appointment. It’s ok, don’t rush! This is also one of the reasons why the quality of life is pretty high.
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