Located in south-central Italy, the region of Abruzzo stretches from the heart of the Appennino mountains, to the Adriatic Sea, on a mainly mountainous and wild land. Between the rocky slopes and pristine peaks arise tourist resorts and well-equipped skiing facilities and Winter Sports, like at Roccaraso. There are numerous nature reserves, like the National Park of Abruzzo, the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga, or Majella. Not to speak of the coast, with its long, sandy as well as pebbly beaches, the small inland villages, monasteries and castles.
Did you know that the small town of Sulmona is the birthplace of the famous poet Ovid, as well as capital of sugared fruit treats in Abruzzo? Or that The ski resorts of Roccaraso make it one of the major tourist mountain resorts in the Apennines? Roccaraso, Pescara, Sulmona, the Trabocchi Coast and the Gran Sasso National Park are the destinations that we have selected for you. And if you are curious to discover the hidden gems of the Belpaese, then get inspired by this list of the best places to visit in Abruzzo by Italian Traditions!
The best places to visit in Abruzzo: Roccaraso
Located to the left of the upper course of the river Sangro, Roccaraso forms part of the Majella National Park. The town lies at the heart of the Plateau Cinquemiglia, and for centuries has been a crossroads for the transhumance and trade between North and South. When we think of Roccaraso , what comes to mind is the snow. But Roccaraso is not just snow: the blossoming of spring, sunny plateaus in the summer, the explosion of autumn colors, do enjoy the enchantment that nature gives to this territory. Local guides organize wonderful hiking and horseback, along the valleys, or climbing the slopes of the mountains, where you can often see animals belonging to the typical fauna of the neighboring park of the Maiella and Abruzzo National Park, Lazio and Molise. For those who like to enjoy the peace, serenity and fresh air, there are countless opportunities for recreation and entertainment: in the main square of the town, there are cultural and sports events scheduled every day in the evenings by the council chamber “Spataro” or at the Ice Palace “Bolino”, which with its 1,600 seats is the flagship of ski equipment. (For more info, click here)
Pescara, between modern and ancient times
While being predominantly modern, the city has ancient origins, and is very lively from a cultural and nocturnal point of view . It is the hometown of one of the greatest Italian writers, Gabriele D’Annunzio. The city of Pescara offers numerous sites of religious and architectural interest, as well as archaeological heritage. Starting from the Basilica of Sanata Maria dei Sette Dolori, continuing onto the Cathedral of San Cetteo, then to the birthplace of D’Annunzio, follows the D’Avalos Park, to the marina, followed by the oldest part of the city and of course, its splendid beaches. The beach in Pescara stretches from north to south, reaching 140 meters in width. During the summer, the equipped bathing facilities are used as beach clubs in the daytime, which are then transformed into night clubs at night time. Located directly on the sea, at night there’s free access. A night out in Pescara goes on until the sunlight of the sunrise peeps in. The renowned and brand new marina Marina di Pescara appears to be the most important marina in the whole coast of Abruzzo. The marina can be easily seen from the modern bridge that passes over the river, just a short walk away. The heart of the old Pescara is on Manthoné street, the center of Pescara’s nightlife and cultural community center. A street full of very nice places where you can taste all sorts of things, including the typical dishes of this region. (For more info, click here)
Sulmona, the town of sugared almonds
Located in the heart of Abruzzo, close to Majella National Park, Sulmona is known worldwide for its century-old tradition in the production of confetti, otherwise known as candied almonds. The city welcomes visitors with its monumental entrance gates, beyond which lies the heart of the city, along with Piazza Garibaldi, one of the largest in Italy. Near the square you can visit beautiful monuments such as the Church of San Filippo Neri and that of Santa Chiara. Inside the latter, it is very interesting to visit an art gallery; according to legend, it was in this church that was born the art of confetti , created by the Poor Clare Sisters. There’s a charming medieval aqueduct that was built in 1256 by the son of Federico II of Svevia. Inside the city you can continue onto the center to the Church of San Rocco, the cathedral dedicated to San Panfilo, then to the beautiful Church of San Francesco della Scarpa and the Annunziata complex, consisting of the eponymous palace and church and the Fountain of the Old. (For more info, click here)
The Trabocchi Coast, amazing cultural heritage
The coast of Trabocchi is 133 km long and consists of golden beaches, pebbly coves, cliffs, pine forests and long beaches. For this reason, it holds a concentration of extremely beautiful seaside resorts. The most breathtaking places of the coast are Ortona, Ripari di Giobbe, famous for its crystal clear sea, and Punta dell’Acquabella, from where the Trabocchi coast begins. But what is Trabocchi? It is ancient fishing equipment, resembling stilts, placed in a perpendicular direction towards the coast. Its origins are still partly obscure. It seems, however, that their construction dates back to the eighth century A.D., when peasants and shepherds, not exactly experts in waves and boats, however, sensed that they could supplement their agricultural harvest with extensions from the earth towards the open sea. Today, trabocchi are back in the spotlight, thanks to a law in the region that promotes their recovery, considering them important cultural and environmental heritage of this region. (For more info, click here)
The Gran Sasso National Park, natural beauty
Established in 1991, the Gran Sasso National Park is the third largest National Park in Italy by territorial extension, one of the largest protected and highly valued areas in Europe. Here, the prodigious treasures of nature live for thousands of years together with an important cultural heritage. The park covers an area of approximately 141,341 hectares of a predominantly mountainous terrain, including the massif of the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga mountain chain, located just north of it, along the eastern ridge of the Central Apennines. Ancient villages, archaeological sites, castles, sanctuaries, abbeys, stone churches, monasteries and caves characterize the stunning mountain landscapes of the Park, exceptionally rich in nature and forests, springs, waterfalls, plains, highlands, vertiginous crests and rock walls. An immense resource to be valued and protected. Essential to it are also its local handcrafted products, its gastronomy and folklore. We warmly invite you to visit the natural environment and experience its landscapes through unusual routes in order to discover one of the most magical and best preserved places in the Belpaese. (For more info, click here)
Now that you have discovered 5 of the best places to visit in Abruzzo, you just have to organize your travel!
Featured image: Strada dei Parchi