Abruzzo is one of the twenty italian regions. It is situated in the central part of Italy, to the east of Rome on the Adriatic Sea.
Abruzzo is divided into four provinces:
The four provinces feature 305 municipalities: L'Aquila comprises 108, Teramo 47, Chieti 104, Pescara 46.
Out of the three geographical areas (Marsica, Appennino and Sub-Appennino), one third of the region is designated either as national or regional park areas.
- Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso e dei Monti della Laga  (Gran Sasso National Park )
- Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise (Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park)
- Parco Nazionale della Majella  (National Park of the Majella)
- Parco Naturale Regionale Sirente-Velino  (Sirente Velino Regional Park)
In the Middle Ages the region began to be called Abruzzo, from the Latin Aprutium. Then the region was divided into two parts: Further Abruzzo and Hither Abruzzo. In 1860, with the Unity of Italy, the region of Molise was added to Abruzzo and they were called Abruzzi and Molise. In 1963 Abruzzo and Molise became separate entities once more.
Though Italians once thought of Abruzzo as a remote region separated from Rome by the Appenines, a modern expressway system has opened the region to tourism. Most of Abruzzo lies within a few hours of Rome and is covenient for day trips from the capital as well as Naples. Abruzzo's more populous east is made up of vast sandy beaches that stretch along the Adriatic; its west of hills that rise quickly to mountains. The mountaineous region of l'Aquila, which lies nearest Rome, contains castles, ancient ruins and spectacular mountain vistas.
There is an international airport (Abruzzo International Airport) in Pescara, a large city on Abruzzo's Adriatic coast. Abruzzo International Airport is served by low cost airlines with low fare flights from and to London, Barcelona and Frankfurt. A24 and A25 are the codes indicating the two motorways allowing easy access to destinations along the coast and to many internal areas of Abruzzo, including all four main cities. Private and public transport by car or bus from and to Rome are therefore excellent. Abruzzo can be reached by train from Termini railway station in Rome, a journey which offers truly picturesque views of the valleys in the Appenines and of some charming hill towns in Italy.
Abruzzo's main city and administrative town, L'Aquila, is a beautiful city in a picturesque mountain setting which makes it a great destination start for exploring the region. Pescara is pleasantly modern and offers all the features to be found in a city on the Adriatic: business, shops, entertainment. Chieti is full of history and nicely layered along the hill on which it is situated. Teramo is interesting and lively.
In order to visit some rural areas, a car is recommended if you want to reach relatively unknown villages in remote locations of Abruzzo.
The coast can be explored by train or bus, since all comforts of modern travelling are available.
There is a bus network which connects all four major cities: Pescara, L'Aquila, Chieti, Teramo.
In Italy, high consideration for food (and wine) quality and variety is a reason of pride. Regional cooking is a unique experience for the foreign visitor: in Abruzzo this is no exception. Here are some of the local specialities that you may enjoy:
- Spaghetti alla chitarra (square strands of pasta served with a tomato sauce)
- Fagioli e cotiche di maiale (stewed beans and pork rind)
- Prosciutto di cinghiale (wild boar ham)
- Testicoli di mulo (small round lean pork sausages; though the name seems anatomical, they are named that way as they are always sold in pairs)
- Pecorino d'Abruzzo (local sheep's cheese)
- Burrata (a truly rare delicacy - a ball of tangy cheese with a soft buttery center)
- Salame di fegato pazzo (spiced liver salami)
- Salame di fegato dolce (liver salami made with honey)
- Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (a red wine)
- Rosatello aquilano (a rosé wine)
- Corfinio della Valle Peligna (a light white wine)
- Gran Sasso (one of the bitter digestive liqueurs that Italians are so fond of. Beware, the alcohol content is upwards of 70% proof)
What to do
Beaches. Abruzzo’s 129 km long sandy coastline (interrupted in places by pebble beaches) is home to many popular beach resorts. Beaches worth visiting are in Fossacesia and Vasto Marina, on Abruzzo’s southern coast; Silvi Marina, Francavilla al Mare and Pineto, further north; finally, travelling north, shortly before Le Marche, Alba Adriatica and Martinsicuro close the list of seaside resorts which are considered among the best in Italy. Beaches of Abruzzo are pristine and the waters of the Adriatic are warm. Lifeguards are operative full-time on most italian beaches, during the summer season. It is best to follow posted warning signs and status flags describing the sea's condition on the day you decide to take a swim. Most beaches have corded off bathing areas - pass these at your own risk, as the waters deepen significantly very quickly.
Skiing. Abruzzo has 15 ski resorts with 368 km of runs in 172 different ski tracks, all within a couple of hours drive from Rome. The most popular resorts are Roccaraso, Campo Felice, Campo Imperatore. Located on the highest altitudes of the Apennines, these ski areas are at heights nearly comparable to many resorts in the Alps. Because of their proximity to the Adriatic and winter precipitation patterns, they often have more snow than the Alps. Abruzzo also is popular for cross country skiing, especially on the high plain of Campo Imperatore in the Gran Sasso as well as the Piana Grande in the Majella.
Hiking, horseback riding, mountain climbing and sightseeing. Abruzzo's extensive park system lies within two hours of Rome or less and includes natural beauty akin to national parks in the western United States. Within Abruzzo's parks lie some of Italy's most beautiful ancient hill towns rivaling those of Tuscany and Umbria.
ZOO. Near the little village of Civitella Casanova is a nice zoo: Parco Zoo La Rupe. It's built on a mountain with a beautiful view and it features many animal species.
This page was last edited at 18:44, on 28 March 2009 by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. Based on work by Stefan Ertmann, David Kaminski, HouseAbruzzo and David, Wikitravel user(s) Episteme, Morph, Texugo and Rein N., Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.