Abruzzo – Terra incognita
The region of Abruzzo is located in the heart of Italy and borders in the west with
the metropolitan region of Lazio. Its northern neighbour is Le Marche and
the southern one is Molise; in the east it is washed by the Adriatic Sea.
It is connected with Rome by the railroad and highways (A24 and A25), which
cross the Apennines. Abruzzo hosts two international airports and four seaports.
Abruzzo is located between the highest mountains of the Apennine range and the
Adriatic Sea. The highest peaks of the Abruzzian Apennines are Corno Grande (2,914 m)
and Monte Amaro (2,795 m). 65% of Abruzzo’s territory is occupied by mountains, 34%
– by hills and only 1% – by plains. This 1% is truly worth its weight in gold because
it consists mostly of a narrow strip of golden sandy beaches that surround the region
in the east. The length of the Adriatic coastline is about 150 km, of which 129 km make
beautiful sandy beaches. Abruzzian beaches won 13 «Blue Flags» for compliance with
international standards of purity and requirements of eco-tourism in 2011. Along
the coastline extends a well-equipped bike path, which is a part of the «Green Adriatic corridor».
Geological features always exerted strong influence on the destiny
of this land and its inhabitants. Traditionally, the locals were settled on the
hills, buiding impregnable fortresses. These medieval fortified towns
still remain intact and attract tourists from all over the world. Inaccessibility
of towns along with isolation of mountain settlements facilitated preservation of the
indigenous culture and traditions of Abruzzo.
Colorful Easter processions, local Sagras and Festas in the season of «Ferragosto»
(the second half of August) or chivalrous tournaments in the city of arts Sulmona,
were held there for many centuries. Even nowadays almost all the locals are directly
involved in such events. Numerous visitors enjoy picturesque festivals and natural artistry of the participants.
High mountain peaks, forest-clad hills, green valleys, golden beaches and
azure space of the Adriatic impart Abruzzo its unique beauty. The most
interesting thing is that all these attractions can be seen at a glance.
From the beach you can see silhouettes of mountains and from a
mountain peak or a tower of fortified town you can observe green valleys and the sea in the distance.
The Adriatic coast is characterized by the mild Mediterranean climate
but in the mountains the climate has a harsh alpine character. The average
annual temperature in the mountains is 8-12°C and on the coast 12-16°C.
The coldest month is January. In the highlands temperature can sometimes
fall below zero but on the coast it always stay at around +8°C.
A third of Abruzzo′s territory consists of nature reserves: «Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso»,
«Parco Nazionale della Maiella»,
«Parco Nazionale d′Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise»,
«Parco Naturale Regionale del Sirente-Velino»
and about 30 other nature reserves.
By virtue of this, Abruzzo is considered to be the greenest, and therefore, ecologically cleanest regions of Europe.
Variety of natural landscapes and strong cultural identity present a broad field
for active recreation in any season. In summer, you can combine a beach
vacation with day trips to cities of arts and medieval castles, walks
around nature reserves or mountain lakes, hike or bike along mountain roads.
In winter, you can ski downhill and do cross country skiing and then relax in
a thermal spa. There are also things to do in a shoulder season, when a Spa
vacation can be quite economical. In addition, interesting excursions and shopping are always available!
Finally, the local cuisine is very different from usual Italian meals.
You can taste here dishes prepared according to traditional recipes from
local organic produce. Nowadays in Abruzzo, there is a real cult of so-called
typical products (prodotti tipici), which are produced according to traditional
technologies. You can taste or purchase these foods in specialized restaurants
and shops as well as at local festivals. Gourmets can go to “enogastronomic”
(food and wine speciality) tours in local farms and tasting rooms. Fans of natural food
can enjoy farm holidays in a local farm which produces wine, olive oil,
cheese or other typical products, and even take part in harvesting and processing of oil or wine.
Unlike Rome, Florence or Naples, Abruzzo is located away from mass tourist routes,
and nearly each traveller feels himself as a pioneer enjoying genuine and warm
hospitality of local people. This makes a holiday in Abruzzo still more delightful and comfortable.
In this article information was used from the sites