In ancient times, towns were generally built on the hills for security and defense reasons. Only in the twentieth century the Abruzzesi began developing the sea coast. The characteristic feature of the Adriatic coast is a dual system of cities. An old town is often located on a hill, and a modern seaside town is situated a few kilometers away. The words Alto (Upper) or Paese (Town) are usually added to the name of an old city, and new ones have such additional attributes as Marina (Marine), Lido (Beach) or Spiagga (Beach). Silhouettes of «top» towns can be seen from afar, and their typical hallmark is a cathedral with a high bell tower and ramparts.
Hill towns are very picturesque and they have preserved charming medieval atmosphere. Most of them belong to either category of «a city of arts» or «a beautiful borough». In summer it is better to stay on the beach and go on a short tour to the historical center.
Coastal cities dispose modern hotels and fully-fledged tourist infrastructure. In 2011, the beaches of Abruzzo have once again won 13 «Blue Flags» for compliance with international standards of purity and requirements of eco-tourism. Along the Adriatic coast run specially equipped pedestrian and bicycle paths, which form a part of an ambitious project of 1,000-kilometer «Green Adriatic Corridor», which stretches from northern Ravenna (Emilia-Romagna) to the extreme south – Santa Maria di Leuca (Apulia). In many places a broad band of protected pine forest (pineta) stretches along the beach.