Abruzzo is a unique and special place, where you can admire the power of nature in all its greatness. A third of its territory is a protected area and boasts lakes with changing reflections, peaks that stand out towards the sky and wide sandy beaches.
Although geographically located in the central part of the Italian peninsula, Abruzzo is a region historically, culturally, economically and linguistically linked to southern Italy.
Between the middle Adriatic and the central Apennines, its capital is L’Aquila which, along with all the other places, is the ideal destination to spend a few days in total relaxation.
A brief history of Abruzzo
The presence of man in Abruzzo dates back to the lower Paleolithic: the tribes moved, in summer, to the highlands to devote themselves to hunting, while in winter they went down to the valley to fish and enjoy the fresh. Many finds from the period were found in the Valle della Vibrata, inside the caves of Montebello di Bertola and in the basin of Fucino. The settlements continue also in the Neolithic, when the main activities carried out were breeding and agriculture.
Around 1000 BC, the region was divided into several areas, each inhabited by different tribes, including Piceni, Petruzzi, Marrucini, Peligni, Vestini, Equi and Marsi. These were organized in city-states, commanded by a tribal chief and linked to numerous cults, whose rites took place in special shrines.
With the advance of the Romans, the destinies of the various tribes had different outcomes: the Equi were defeated, the Samnites instead decided to ally themselves with the newcomers (and then be subdued later) but, in principle, The Roman Empire soon managed to occupy all the territories up to Salerno conquering also the lands of Apuglia.
The first real rebellion against the Romans came from the Italics, who were joined by other peoples living outside Abruzzo; together they managed to create a new kingdom, with Corfino capital.
Following the fall of the Roman Empire, the region was faced with new powers in Italy; with the Lombards it was divided into two different duchies, while with Charlemagne was again unified under the name of Comitatus Aprutinus.
The rise to power of Roger II annexed the region to the Kingdom of Sicily; later it was founded L’Aquila, anticlerical city and Ghibelline; after still arrive the Swabians and Angevins, who divided Abruzzo in the three provinces of Chieti, Aquila and Terano.
During the nineteenth century, Abruzzo became the cradle of the Bourbon nobility, while during the First World War welcomed many refugees from the defeat of Caporetto; finally, on the occasion of the Second World War, It was among the regions that suffered most from the clashes, as it was chosen as a landing place for the British.
The post-war period saw the emigration of many Abruzzesi to Belgium and the United States in search of fortune. To give hope was the city of Pescara, thanks to the resumption of trade and new industries that gradually arose in the territory; also tourism began to increase, focusing on the bathing areas and natural attractions of the hinterland, and then also leverage education with the foundation of two new university centers, one of which dedicated to Gabriele D’Annunzio.
The 10 most beautiful places to see in Abruzzo
The culture and tradition of Abruzzo, together with the picturesque villages and medieval fortresses, attract the attention of millions of tourists every year who, with great interest, decide to visit this real Italian pearl. Here are 10 beautiful places not to be missed:
Fortress of Civitella del Tronto
The Fortress of Civitella del Tronto, in Teramo, is among the most important engineering works in Italy. Its construction is due to the Aragonese, while the enlargement and subsequent changes were desired by the Spanish Habsburgs and the Bourbons. Today it houses the Museum of Arms.
Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park
Those who love nature and hiking will find interesting the National Park of Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga, the third largest in Italy. Inside there are many animal species, even endangered.
Majella National Park
Another event that nature lovers cannot miss is the Majella National Park, which stretches between Chieti, L’Aquila and Pescara. Visitors are offered both scenic beauty, historical and archaeological finds.
Abbey of San Giovanni in Venere in Fossacesia
Anyone who loves art and architecture should definitely visit the Abbey of San Giovanni in Venere in Fossacesia, in the province of Chieti. It is a large monastic complex that takes its name from a former pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Venus.
Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park
In Abruzzo there is no shortage of nature reserves; among these stands the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise, founded in 1917 with the aim of preserving, enhancing and promoting the valuable natural heritage of Abruzzo.
Hermitage of San Bartolomeo in Legio
Among the most mystical and evocative places of the whole region is the Hermitage of San Bartolomeo, located in the municipality of Roccamorice, in Pescara, surrounded by the woods of Majella and Morrone. Built in the thirteenth century, it was for many years the home of Pope Celestine V.
Munda, National Museum of Abruzzo
To learn more about the history of Abruzzo, you must visit the Munda, the National Museum of Abruzzo; currently housed in the former slaughterhouse of Borgo Rivera, its original home is the sixteenth-century Castle of L’Aquila, nicknamed the Spanish Fort.
Caves of Stiffe
The Stiffe Caves are the ideal destination for those who like to go deep into the territory: among the most characteristic karst phenomena of the whole peninsula, the caves have a depth of several hundred meters, through which you can enter only if you have a working compass and so much courage!
Atri Ravines Nature Reserve
Among the most beautiful attractions that Abruzzo offers is the Natural Reserve of the Calanchi of Atri, in the province of Teramo: the badlands are nothing but particular phenomena of soil erosion and look like large and deep grooves on the side of mountains and hills.
Lake of Scanno
Finally, if you decide to visit the Abruzzo, you can not miss a trip to Lake Scanno, L’Aquila: nestled between the Marsicani mountains and the valley of the river Sagittarius, is the ideal solution for those who want to immerse themselves in nature and contemplate it in all its beauty. In addition, Lake Scanno has a peculiarity that certainly does not go unnoticed: it is heart-shaped!
What to eat in Abruzzo: typical dishes and wines
Abruzzo is not only history, architecture and nature, but also and above all rural gastronomic tradition; the typical dishes are all very simple, made mainly with ingredients derived from the earth (so seasonal).
Anyone who is on holiday in Abruzzo, therefore, must absolutely taste at least one of the following dishes:
- Arrosticini: prepared with sheep meat and cooked on the grill, are among the most popular street food throughout southern Italy;
- cheese and egg pallotte: these are egg and cheese balls, prepared in the past in the absence of meat;
- ventricina: a typical sausage of fermented raw pork with long maturing that is cut with a knife tip;
- pipindune and ove: a snack based on fry (red peppers) cooked in a pan with a little oil and mixed with lightly beaten eggs;
- spaghetti alla chitarra: prepared with durum wheat flour and water, a dough that allows you to get a pasta always al dente;
- scrippelle ‘nbusse: consist of traditional crispelle based on eggs, milk, salt and flour, sprinkled with plenty of grated cheese, rolled, cooked and served in chicken broth;
- sagne e fasciul: a sort of maltagliati prepared with only water and flour, perfect to accompany with beans;
- fish broth: the one from Abruzzo is made with poor fish, but also with clams, mussels and various crustaceans;
- cicerchiata: a mountain of small balls of dough first fried and then sprinkled with honey and sugar, very similar to Neapolitan struffoli;
- Fiadoni: a kind of ravioli filled with flour, eggs, oil and white wine stuffed with hard cheese.
And to not miss anything, the advice is to accompany these super delicious dishes with an excellent local wine; the best ones to choose from are undoubtedly Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo and Pecorino. Let yourself be conquered by the wild charm of Abruzzo and enjoy one of the most characteristic kitchens of Italy.