Abruzzo is one of the lesser known and "authentic" regions of Italy where mountains and beaches blend perfectly with great food and "strong" wines.
Abruzzo can be visited in any season: if you go in winter, then the ski resorts Campo Imperatore (famous for having been a prison to Benito Mussolini the second world war), Roccaraso and Campo Felice may be a perfect choice.
The climate is varied - warm and dry on the coast, an alpine climate in the mountainous interior.
Abruzzo is situated at the centre of the Italian peninsula facing the Adriatic, which it follows along 150 km of beaches and rocks. On the west it is bordered by the Apennines, to the north by the region of Marche to the north, Lazio to the west and south-west and Molise to the south-east.
The 500 km2 (190 sq mi) of the Abruzzo National Park host rare examples of Mediterranean flora and fauna (chamois, wolves, bears, golden eagles).
Pescara is one the biggest touristic ports of the Adriatic sea and also a fisherman port where - in late the afternoon - you can appreciate boats coming from the sea with wonderful fresh fish and sea food.
Under the autumnal sun, you may enjoy a walk in the small city center of Pescare or along the sea-side. A walk across the suspended bridge that links the Northern part of the city with the Southern one is a "must". After dinner, we suggest you have a walk in the old city where the pubs and bars are a great way to close the night with with music and dance.
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We have choosen Pescara as our week-end destination, which is Abruzzo's most populous city with its 120000 inhabitants. The town is situated at the end of the river Pescara (Aterno) and is split by the river in two sides.
Alternatively you may decide to visit this fantastic region in summer. In that case you may want to enjoy the adriatic sea-side and sandy beaches located in Silvi Marina and Francavilla a mare. These beaches are very much comparable to the more famous Rimini and Riccione (a few hundred kilometers in the North) but certainly much less crowded.
Should you decide to go in spring, then we recommend you visit the famous National Park. Located very near to the mountain group called La Maiella, you could enjoy some beautiful promenades and, if lucky, see a few of the surviving local chamois, bears and wolves.
Last but not least, you may decide to visit Abruzzo in Autumn, when one can still get a bit of sun-tan, avoiding, however, the strong heat of the Summer and all the turistic crowds. Perfect for appreciating a good white or red accompanied by the local food.
If you go for fish, then we strongly recommend either a good typical fried fish plate to be enjoyed in any of the many restaurants located just on the beach or raw fish in a more refined restaurant, where they serve extremely fresh fish of the highest quality.
You may want to accompany these meals with a local wine, Pecorino-Terre di Chieti, a fruity white that some call "the bourgogne of Italy". Furthermore, the value for money is simply amazing.
Another characteristic of Abruzzo is the home-made pasta. Here are great Italian pasta maker such as De Cecco (who lives himself in Pescara), Cocco (who has been the supplier for the "pope" and the vatical for many years) and several others.
However, in any restaurant the choice of home-made pasta, coming from the Abruzzi tradition, is simply outstanding. We have tried the "Rintrocino", a sort of "spaghetti alla chitarra" much bigger, with aubergines, tomato, meat and goat cheese on top that were delicious.
Meat dishes are also very good and, the, you have to accompany with the famous, local, red called Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (see picture). This wine is deep purple with a strong ruby colour, quite fruity but not strong in tanin.
It is normally made by the local grape, called Montepulciano, blended with 5-10% of San Giovese. It is a strong wine, often around 14% alcohol that pairs perfectly with the first dishes (primi) and meats of the regional Abruzzo cuisine.
Famous People from Abruzzo
Benedetto Croce - Pescasseroli (AQ)
Rocco Siffredi - Ortona (CH)
Luca Dirisio - Vasto (CH)
Jarno Trulli - Pescara (PE)
Gabriele D'Annunzio - Pescara (PE)
Bruno Vespa - L'Aquila (AQ)
Pope Bonifacio IV - S. Benedetto dei Marsi (AQ)
Italo-americans born from Abruzzese parents Perry Como - Palena (CH)
Rocky Marciano - Ripa Teatina (CH)
Dino Crocetti (alias Dean Martin) - Montesilvano (PE)
Henry Mancini - Scanno (AQ)
Madonna - Luise Veronica Ciccone - Pacentro (AQ)
Tommy Lasorda - Tollo (CH)
John Fante - Torricella Peligna (CH)
Argentinian born from Abruzzese parents Juan Manuel Fangio