Abruzzo is located in central Italy and stretches from the heart of the Apennines to the Adriatic Sea, on a mostly mountainous and wild terrain.
In the mountains, tourist resorts and well-equipped facilities for skiing and winter sports rise among unpolluted peaks and rocky walls: among them are Pescasseroli, Rivisondoli and Roccaraso.
The natural landscape of the high and steep peaks of the Gran Sasso, Laga Mountains, and Mount Majella slopes down to a wide range of hills, until it finally reaches the Adriatic coast.
The route that spans from the Gran Sasso down to the sea crosses territories that are rich in history, traditions and art that never cease to surprise visitors.
Narrow valleys and impressive, natural paths thrust their way into the mountains and hills, as does the amazing and fascinating Aterno Valley, crawling with ancient villages.
Natural reserves, like the National Park of Abruzzo, the Park of Gran Sasso and the Laga Mountains, or that of Mount Majella, protect the typical vegetable and animal species of the area, including the golden eagle, the wolf and the Marsican brown bear.
The Adriatic coast is characterized by long and sandy beaches to the north and pebbly beaches to the south. Also, the small villages of the hinterland, as well as the monasteries and castles of the region, are very charming and part of many touristic routes in this the "greenest region" in Italy.
The provinces of the region are: L’Aquila (regional capital), Pescara, Teramo and Chieti.
The most artistically important town in the region is L’Aquila, located on the mountainside of the Gran Sasso, characterized by a priceless artistic heritage: from the magnificent Basilica di San Bernardino to the Sixteenth-Century castle, from the Basilica di Santa Maria di Collemaggio to the Fontana delle 99 Cannelle (99-spout fountain), embellished with a stone mask for every spout.
This city, famous for “the Celestine Pardon,” offers endless routes to the discovery of history, art and faith.
Unfortunately, the earthquake of April 6th, 2009 struck this city and the surrounding area, causing considerable damage to its precious artistic treasures.
In the Province of Aquila, the famous Castello di Celano - today the home of the Museum of Archaeology and Sacred Art - and the remains of the ancient Roman city of Alba Fucens are just some of the numerous testimonies narrating the long and complex history of Abruzzo.
The city of Pescara, an important for seaside tourism, preserves the memory of the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio. Lying along Abruzzo's coastline, Pescara boasts numerous long and sandy beaches.
Beach-goers also flock to places like Tortoreto, Giulianova, Silvi Marina, Roseto and, further south, Ortona, Vasto and San Salvo.
Chieti, perched on a hill near the coast, is composed of its beautiful 11th-Century Cathedral; and its National Archaeological Museum, also quite fascinating for its prehistoric finds and vestiges of Greek and Roman civilization.
Another important town is Teramo, with its Medieval Cathedral and the remains of a Roman theatre and amphitheatre.
The countless old borgoes in the Province serveas the repositories of a rural lifestyle whose traditions are still alive today, thanks to local folklore and handicraft.
One of the most picturesque towns is Scanno, located near an enchanting lake in the Sangro Valley, with its narrow alleys, Baroque gateways and old buildings. Sulmona, the hometown of poet Ovidio, is equally-rich in history, traditions and artistic treasures, including the famous Hermitage of Pope Celestine V.
Thanks to its varied landscape, Abruzzo offers a number of different vacation categories, all exciting and surprising.
The highest peaks of the Apennines and the renowned tourist resorts of Roccaraso, Rivisondoli, Pescasseroli and Campo Imperatore welcome ski, snowboard and snow rafting enthusiasts to modern facilities and a great number of slopes, while cross-country tracks transverse the amazing scenery of the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise.
The Region also offers the possibility to practice many sports in contact with nature: walks and excursions by foot, mountain biking or trekking routes in protected areas and sites of enormous naturalistic value, such as the splendid Sagittario Gorge, Zompo lo Schioppo Falls, or Lakes Penne and Serranello, where it is possible to spot rare bird species.
From Gran Sasso to Sirente, mountaineering and climbing seem to be the raison d'etre everywhere.
Those who love horseback riding will find countless possibilities for excursions, and it is possible to ride on a trail for hundreds of miles amid marvelous natural surroundings in the National Park of Gran Sasso and the Laga Mountains. Along the coast, you can practice all sorts of sea sports, for instance, sailing, canoeing, fishing and windsurfing, thanks to well-equipped beaches and modern facilities. Not to be left out are the cycling trails through pinewoods and beech groves; after that, nighttime fun and entertainment can be had for those night owls who prefer to hop between the sea resorts' many clubs, pubs and restaurants.
The archaeological ruins of the Fucino Valley are also a sight to see. A satellite territory of Imperial Rome, the ancient city of Alba Fucens sits at the base of Monte Velino, just a stone's throw away from the remnants of Roman villas and a necropolis.
A great number of religious itineraries lead to places of worship in pristine environments, including the famous Hermitage of Celestine V, a monastery embedded in a rocky wall, or the Romanesque and Gothic Church of Santa Maria di Propezzano in the Vomano Valley.
Those who enjoy new and unique gastronomic experiences can drive from the Adriatic coast up to Peligna Valley, through olive groves and vineyards to reach the hinterland, where they can visit farms and taste wines, oil and delicious local products.
Finally, do not miss the folklore and religious festivals and events: from the famous Perdonanza Festival in L’Aquila to the Serpari di San Domenico Fair in Cocullo, from the Living Nativity scenes in Rivisondoli to the many fairs in the rest of the Region's small towns.
Abruzzo has a rich culinary tradition, with various traditions attached to each province.
The maccheroni alla chitarra are highly-renowned (home-made pasta cut on a machine with thin steel blades), while scrippelle are thin strips of pasta eaten in soup, typical to Teramo. On the coast, most first courses are fish-based, often made with tomato to enchance the taste of "poor man's fish," often found on the shores of ancient fishing villages.
As for the second courses, the typical recipe of Chieti is scapece, pickled fried fish. Guazzetto or fish broth is also heavily-consumed in coastal hubs, and often revisited in the zones of Teramo Province.
Other than sea fare, one will find plenty of lamb, kid, and mutton, while pork loin, prosciutto, lonza, ventricina, and other typical salamis are produced locally. If it's meat you are looking for, you have come to the right place. The ighly sought-out smoked meats from the Abruzzese Mountains are the forte here.
A typical meal in Abruzzo is accompanied by a selection of the best wines of the Region: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Sangiovese and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. These are both national and international favorites, esteemed for the excellent production process, quality and price. Abruzzo also features a number of organic wineries in the zones of Chieti and Teramo.
Among the desserts, often made with almonds and honey, we highlight nougat or torrone; confetti (typical sugared almonds similar to Jordan almonds, they are a specialty of Sulmona); cicerchiata, small balls of fried dough covered in honey; mostaccioli and bocconotto, typical of the Province of Chieti.
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