ABRUZZO: a wonderful hidden gem (part 1)
Surrounded by the Apennines, this region is not a conventional Italian destination. Nevertheless, it is a charming place to visit, full of beautiful landscapes, ancient villages, and, of course, delicious food specialties.
ITALY'S NEW HOT DESTINATION
Recently, CNN defined Abruzzo as “Italy's new hot destination,” a flattering description for this region located in central Italy. Abruzzo, states the American tv network, “includes lakes, the Adriatic coastline, national parks, imposing mountain ranges, UNESCO heritage sites, some of the most beautiful medieval towns in the country, and an eclectic and diverse cuisine that changes from the beach to the mountains.” As you may know, in 2009 a terrible earthquake hit L’Aquila, the region’s capital, destroying the city and killing 300 people. L’Aquila is now back on its feet and ready to welcome visitors from Italy and all over the world.
MOUNTAINS, SEA, LAKES, SPRINGS
There's something for everyone in Abruzzo: you don’t have to choose between mountain or sea, since you can visit both! The local beaches aren’t as famous as those in Sardinia, the Amalfi Coast, Sicily, or Liguria. Still, Abruzzo’s sandy beaches, lapped by the Adriatic Sea, are spectacular. The sea and the beaches in the Chieti and Teramo provinces are particularly clean, which is why they receive the famous “bandiera blu,” Italy’s signal for the best beaches in the country, every year. Abruzzo is also the land of beautiful lakes like Bomba, Scanno, and Barrea. If you go to this region, you will also drink exceptionally pure waters. The springs in Abruzzo are exceptional, especially the crystal-clear Sorgenti del Pescara in the town of Popoli.
Abruzzo is known for being one of the most rural and green regions in Italy. The outstanding Gran Sasso massif (some of the highest Apennine peaks are there), the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo (one of Italy’s largest national parks), and the stunning Majella National Park are among the most visited parks in Italy. During the winter, you can also ski in towns like Roccaraso, Castel di Sangro, Ovindoli, and Campo Felice.
- Donatella Mulvoni