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Abruzzo at glance

Abruzz0
 
The white color in the coat of arms symbolizes the snow-capped peaks, the green reminds us of the woods and hills of the region and the blue of the sea. The arrangement reflects the succession of mountains, hills and the sea, according to the natural evolution of the regional geo-morphological .

 
Located in central Italy, Abruzzo is easily reached from most parts of Italy, nonetheless remained at a distance, a little withdrawn, for a long time, but little by little it is very rightly being rediscovered.



 

The provinces 
Capital l'Aquila - ​Main Cities - Chieti - Pescara - Teramo

Most beautiful hamlets :


 
Abbateggio - Anversa degli Abruzzi - Bugnara - Caramanico Terme - Castel del Monte - Castelli - Città Sant´Angelo Civitella del Tronto - Introdacqua - Navelli - Opi - Pacentro - Penne - Pescocostanzo - Pettorano sul Gizio - Pietracamela Pretoro - Rocca San Giovanni - S. Stefano di Sessanio - Scanno - Tagliacozzo - Villalago.
 
Romanesque churches and castles, ancient necropolis and museum, hermitages and fortified villages. Between the mountains and the sea, a rich choice of works of art and monuments awaits the visitor.

 
It is Abruzzo a region prevalently mountainous, rich of rivers, lake and  wild landscape. Abruzzo National Park is Italy's first and oldest national park, the work and passion of scholars and ethnologists committed to safeguard the unique flora and fauna of the area of  Marsica. 
 

 
The Park is inhabited by bears, chamois, wolves, deer and the Marsican Brown Bear, the park's symbol. In the mountains, tourist resorts and well-equipped facilities for skiing and winter sports rise among unpolluted peaks and rocky walls, like Pescasseroli, Rivisondoli and Roccaraso. With 855m of vertical and 60km of slopes , Roccaraso is one of the largest Italian resorts outside the Alps and offers a vast network of cross-country routes too.
 
 
The lake, known as 'Scanno's Lake, is located in the Appennino Abruzzese , part of  the  Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise. Further inland , is Scanno and on its northern shore is Villalago. 
 
 
In the  province of Aquila encircled by the Majella mountains, we find Scanno,  according to Edward Lear (1846), host to Italy’s most beautiful women. Scanno has been immortalized by photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson (1951) and Mario Giacomelli (1957–59).  Quinto Mancini (1893–1963) the father of American composer Henry Mancini was born in Scanno on 13 March 1893.


Santo Stefano di Sessanio in the province of Aquila, is a fascinating tiny medieval village with its narrow alleys and stone houses, many dating back to the 15th century.  The town is listed as one of Italy's most beautiful hamlet.
 

 
Undoubtedly the images of Abruzzo are strong, unbelievably strong: images of medieval villages entrenched on the mountainsides, castles that keep watching over today's Apennines roads, just as they did in the past. The square Piccolomini Castle, is one of Abruzzo's largest. The castle is easily recognizable driving on the highway A25 Rome to  Pescara.

 
Rocca Calascio is a mountaintop fortress (or rocca ) in the Province of L'Aquila. Located within the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park. Construction of the fortress started in the tenth century as a single watchtower. Rocca Calascio was the location for the final scene of Richard Donner film Ladyhawke. Sequences for The Name of the Rose and The American were also shot here.


Alba Fucens (near Avezzano, Aquila province) was an ancient Italic town occupying a lofty location (1,000 m) at the foot of the Monte Velino.  Its prosperity, in the imperial period, can only be inferred from the number of inscriptions found there. The town was completely destroyed by the Saracens in the 10th century.


The coastlines are characterized by long and sandy beaches to the north and pebbly beaches to the south, well equipped to cater to those seeking some sport, some nature or just some fun. The coast of the Trabocchi takes its name by the presenze of the so called 'Trabocchi', (hence the name) a wooden fishing machine used  by local fisherman and where is now possible to taste the catch of the day. 
 

Previously, the coast was a favorite with families, but younger people and international visitors have started to discover the area thanks to its marinas, sports facilities and many events. From June to September hundreds of hotels, guesthouses, camping facilities, boarding houses and private apartments along the whole coast, but more intensely in the north, are kept busy meeting the vacation demands of the tourists who choose Abruzzo...meanwhile thousands more visitors from Italy, Europe and North America, have begun to move inwards to the splendid hinterland, seeking out the art towns and old centres, visiting the castles, the churches and the abbeys. 

 
The countless hermitages, more often than not dug out of the bare rock, are especially captivating and spectacularly evocative locations immersed in nature.
Visitors will find them to be unforgettable, lost in the silence of intact  nature in the vast expanse of mountains, appearing where they are least expected, images of perfect austere serenity.
The Hermitage St Bartolomeo in Liegi (below) is located in a rocky ridge, accessed via a staircase carved into the rock, the "Scala Santa", which leads to a rocky balcony at the end of which is the church. Along the balcony there is a tank for collecting rainwater.


 
Those seeking sports in the region will not be disappointed by the delight of trekking through the snowy canyons of Majella and Sirente. The Gorges of Celano (Aquila province) are undoubtedly a rare example of Canyon in Italy. The so-called "crossing of the  Gorge" is favorite destination for many mountain lovers, both  Italians and foreigners.
 

 
There are lands that can still narrate tales of history and traditions and where is still possible to experience the sensation of our cultural roots. The town of Cocullo , in the province of Aquila, is known for the "Festa dei Serpari" ( Feast of the snake charmers) in which the patron saint Domenico di Sora is transported in procession covered with snakes.


 
The burning of the farchie takes place in the month of January, in the town of Fara Filiorum Petri to honor Saint Anthony of Abate. Most likely  the ritual was meant to be a form of purification, a protection from evil, and as a talisman of hope that abundant sunshine would lead to abundant crops in the coming warmer months that lie ahead.
 

 
~ Art and craft - Ceramics ~
 
Pottery in Abruzzo has ancient origins and became famous around the sixteenth century. The most appreciated line of ceramic came from Castelli d'Abruzzo, a small town in the province of Teramo, due mainly to the excellent workmanship, bold decorations and also the cost of the products. 
The sixteenth-century church of San Donato in Castelli, defined by Carlo Levi "the Sistine Chapel of majolica", constitutes, together with the contemporary pottery called Orsini-Colonna, the ideal starting point for a next production which enjoyed great fame in Italy and abroad; so much so that one of the most important collections of this kind of art work is now in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

 
~ Gastronomy ~

The "chitarra pasta cutting" abruzzese


 
The cuisine here is deeply traditional, with local hams and cheeses from the mountain areas, interesting sausages with plenty of garlic and other seasonings, cured meats, and wonderful fish and seafood, which is the main produce of the coastal areas.
Lamb features widely: tender, juicy, and well-flavored with herbs. Abruzzo's rich culinary tradition offers as many variations attached to each province's own tradition.
The typical main courses is scapece (Rieti), pickled fried fish;  plenty of lamb, kid, mutton, but also loin of pork and ventricina (spreadable), typical salami produced locally.

 
 
 The home made maccheroni alla chitarra; scrippelle made of pasta to eat with soup, typical in Teramo; most dishes on the coast are based on fish.
 
 
Prized dairy products, including pecorino and goat cheeses such as  “Canestrato di Castel del Monte” and “Pecorino di Farindola” .
 
 
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.  Abruzzo also features a number of organic wineries in the zones of Chieti and Teramo. 
 

The production of olive oil in Abruzzo goes back to the  Roman period. Most of the production originated from three varieties: the "Gentile" of Chieti, the "Dritta" and "Leccino" .  Abruzzo has today three oils DOP, Aprutino-Pescara, Hills Teatine, Hills teramane-Pretuziano ( Aprutino-Pescarese, Colline Teatine, Colline teramane-Pretuziano).
 
 
The hills provide the seasoning and flavours of the earth: first of all, extra virgin olive oil, followed by vegetables, greens, pulses and cereals whose simplicity enhances Abruzzo cuisine in its entirety, alongside the precious flower known as Crocus Sativus.   The saffron is obtained from the stigma of the  small flower with petals ranging from lilac to purple. Adding that special flavor to our recipes are three orange or red filaments containing crocin (effective pain killer for headache, stress and back pain etc). The harvest is entirely manual. The stigmas are dried in the fireplace with oak or almond. To obtain one kilogram of dried saffron takes 100-150 thousand flowers.
 

Among the desserts, often made with almonds and honey, we highlight nougat or torrone, confetti (the typical sugared almonds, a specialty of Sulmona, image below), cicerchiata, small balls of fried dough covered in honey, mostaccioli and bocconotto, typical of the Province of Chieti. 
 

 
Food and wine events

Just to mention the most famous: “Cantine aperte” with over fifty participating wineries (May); 
the day dedicated to the “Virtù”, Teramo’s iconic dish (May 1);
“Carciofesta” dedicated to the Cupello artichoke (April/May);
the month dedicated to “Brodetto di pesce alla vastese” chowder (June);
“Trabocchi” Coast recipes during the “Cala lenta” (July);
“Festa del tartufo” to celebrate Campovalano di Campli truffles (July);
“Calici di stelle” for Ortona wines (August); the “Mediterranea” fair of typical Abruzzo products (July/August);
“Buon gusto - Rassegna formaggi d’Abruzzo” a review of Abruzzo cheeses at Gessopalena (September); celebration of local lentils at Santo Stefano di Sessanio (September);
“Frantoi aperti” when oil presses open their doors (October/November).

 
The music .
 
  
 

 
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​Aquila  - Teramo  
Pescara - Chieti 

Official Site
 ~ Most beautiful hamlets in the region ~ Borghi piu' belli d'Italia ~
Abbateggio - Anversa degli Abruzzi - Bugnara - Caramanico Terme - Castel del Monte - Castelli
Città Sant´Angelo - Civitella del Tronto - Introdacqua - Navelli - Opi - Pacentro- Penne - Pettorano sul Gizio - Pietracamela   Pretoro - Rocca San Giovanni - S. Stefano di Sessanio Scanno - Tagliacozzo - Villalago - Cocullo
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