Abruzzo is a region in central Italy. Its territory stretches from the heart of the Apennines to the Adriatic Sea, on a mainly mountainous and wild land. The coastline is characterized by long and sandy beaches to the north and pebbly beaches to the south.
L’Aquila, located on the mountainside of the Gran Sasso, is the capital of the region. The city was heavily damaged by the earthquake in 2009, but it’s still worth a visit, for its artistic heritage is still magnificent. It includes the Basilica di San Bernardino, the Sixteenth-Century castle, Basilica di Santa Maria di Collemaggio and the Fontana delle 99 Cannelle. From l’Aquila you can organize a day trip to Celano, a small town that hosts a castle and the remains of the roman city of Alba Fucens.
If you love nature, don’t miss the Abruzzo National Park, where you can chose among different excursions and discover Lago Vivo (living lake), or the Grotta delle Fate in Val Fondillo. The region is famous for its Borghi, little towns fouded mostly in the middle ages, that preserved their historical heritage. Included in the list “I borghi più belli d’Italia” you’ll find the small towns of Anversa degli Abruzzi, Città Sant’Angelo, Civitella del Tronto, Rocca San Giovanni, Scanno.
If you want to move towards the coastline, a good place to stay is Chieti. Here you’ll be able to visit the Cathedral of San Giustino, the largest and most important church in town; The Communal Villa, a Neoclassical residence, that hosts the National Archaeological Museum of Abruzzo; the Museum of Art “Costantino Barbella,” housed inside the Martinelli-Bianchi Palace; If you visit the little town of Ortona, don’t miss the impressive Museum of Sacred Art of Ortona.
In some ways, Abruzzese cuisine is the undiscovered treasure of Italian gastronomy. While tourists rhapsodize over Tuscan cuisine and Italians wax poetic over Emilian cuisine, few have truly delved into the flavors of Abruzzo’s kitchen. Traditional Abruzzese dishes are spaghetti alla chitarra (“guitar” spaghetti), porchetta (roast pig), and polenta, which is usually enjoyed with a spicy sausage ragù or hearty meat sauce. In port cities, just-caught fish is marinated in a vinegary brine, and rich soups are concocted from dozens of types of fish.