Nature at its finest that is the real character of Abruzzo. The seaside, the mountains, the hills and the nature reserves.
The sandy shores to the north contrast with the rocks and cliffs along the southern coast, while the unbroken rows of nearby hills conceal ancient towns full of historic interest and where it is possible to enjoy traditional cuisine and the outdoor life in its many forms.
Abruzzo is Europe's Green Region, with three National Parks, a Regional Park and twenty protected areas. 33% of its territory is under environmental protection, which is the highest percentage in Europe.
The National Park of Abruzzo, created over 70 years ago, is the symbol of a love and respect for nature. The large National Park of Gran Sasso-Monti della Laga is the summit of the Apennines. The landscape changes quickly from harsh rocks, breathtaking plateaux, to rustic villages built in the natural stone. The Maiella National Park where unspoilt nature and civilisation live in harmony. The Sirente-Velino Regional Park includes the third summit of the Apennines. It hides many secrets and has a wild beauty.
Abruzzo is an area where religion, art and history are themselves deeply immersed in nature.
Even the memories of ancient Abruzzo are still alive in towns which date back to Roman times such as Juvanum and Corfinium and ancient uninhabited villages such as Rocca Calascio with ruins that have an intense charm and a remarkable beauty.
The coastline of Abruzzo is varied, where the low and sandy shores to the north contrast with the rocks and cliffs to the south.
The sette sorelle (seven sisters) are seven seaside resorts in the Province of Teramo. From Martinsicuro to Silvi Marina, the Pescara and the Francavilla al Mare beaches offer high level accommodation, plenty of amusements, leisure facilities, night-clubs and in Pescara itself a modern marina. To the south the scenery changes radically from Ortona to Vasto and as far as S. Salvo there are sandy beaches surrounded by rich Mediterranean vegetation.
Winter sports abound in the region which boasts the highest summits of the Apennines. It includes the territory of Roccaraso, Rivisondoli and Pescocostanzo and the area between Ovindoli and Campo Felice. The winter resorts of Gran Sasso and Maiella attract thousands of enthusiasts from all over the country every year to ski, snowboard and cross-country ski, on the vast plateaux of the Rocche, Campo Imperatore, Cinque Miglia, Voltigno and the Piani di Pezza.
Abruzzo is not only known for nature, but also for art. Small cultural towns, preserving real masterpieces, are scattered throughout the mountains and forests.
L`Aquila, being one of the most important art towns in Italy, is rich in churches, towers and squares. In the hills close to the sea are the towns of Atri, Campli and Teramo, while Penne, Citta' Sant'Angelo and Loreto Aprutino are set among olive groves. Further south are the towns of Chieti, Lanciano and Vasto.
Inland at the foot of Maiella lie Guardiagrele, Popoli and Sulmona, while Celano, Tagliacozzo, Scanno and Pescocostanzo are even further inland.
The nature in Abruzzo is wild, varied and unpredictable and as such offers the opportunity of exciting and challenging sports.
Trekking, mountain biking, horse-riding can be experienced everywhere; free-climbing in the S.Spirito Valley and the Angri Valley; bungee jumping in the Orto valley; mountaineering up the rocky walls of the highest peaks; bird watching in the reserves of Lake Penne, Serranella and Capopescara; kayaking down the Aventino, the Orta and the Vomano and canoeing on the Tirino and the Aterno.
If in Abruzzo nature plays such a leading role, so it follows that we find local ingredients in its regional dishes Sheep have been raised here for centuries and the meat and milk are used in the famous dishes of Agnello cacio e uova (lamb with cheese and eggs), arrosticini (barbecued lamb), pecorino cheese, also in the sauce for the maccheroni alla chitarra.
There is also a rich assortment of sweets, caggionetti (Christmas sweets), the Parrozzo, the Easter fiadone and the soft sise di monaca in Guardiagrele. Local specialities are well known all over Italy virtu`is one (a spring soup with various types of pasta and vegetables) from the province of Teramo. On the coast, traditional fish dishes are in abundance, spaghetti alle vongole being one of them.Good dishes ought to be served with good wine.
Abruzzo's wines are excellent and have recently obtained important international acknowledgement. Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is full of strong plumy fruit flavours. The delicate tasting Cerasuolo and Trebbiano are fresh and sometimes nutty in taste. The local wines compliment the local dishes perfectly!Unlike many other regions in Italy, Abruzzo is unspoilt and maintains the traditional culture.So as you can see Abruzzo is the playground of the gods!Seize the opportunity to get your piece of Italian culture whilst the prices reflect the fact that the region is still largely owned by the locals.