ABRUZZO AN UNKNOWN JEWEL OF ITALY
What makes Abruzzo region so special, is the close relationship among the stunning natural environment, the history, and the pride of a population strongly linked to their traditions. Both artists and writers were born in Abruzzo as Sallust, Ovid, Gabriele D’Annunzio, Benedetto Croce, Francesco Paolo Michetti who described beauty and decanted poetry of this region, but I would like introduce Abruzzo, quoting from the work of the writer Ignazio Silone who has captured, in a few sentences, the essence of my beloved land: “The fate of people who live in a territory called Abruzzo by about eight centuries, was decided mostly by the mountains (…) Abruzzese people are remained close in a rather singular community of destiny which would be inexplicable if we do not take into consideration that the constant factor of their existence is precisely the most primitive and stable among the elements: the nature.” In fact, Abruzzo, is a mainly mountainous region and more than 65% of its territory is located at 700 meters above the sea level.
This geography has determined a slow development but today this unspoilt natural environment is perfect for people who love the beauty of nature. The mountain reserves are only a few tens of kilometers from the coast, in an oasis of peace and tranquility where there is no shortage of vibrant, cultural and economic ferments.
The Abruzzese people are proud of their rugged and gentle land, in fact they devoted over 30% of the territory to protected areas, like the Regional Natural Park of Sirente Velino, the Majella National Park, the National Park of Abruzzo and the National Park of Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga where stands the “Gran Sasso” the highest peak of the Apennine Mountains, the Italian candidate as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The “Gran Sasso” boats many records including the highest plant biodiversity both in Europe and the Mediterranean area, furthermore here are survived the oldest woods of Italy and many animal species like the chamois, the wolf, the bear, the deer and the golden eagle who gives to the tourist the exciting show of its glide.
Abruzzo is also the ideal place for people who love mountain sports like skiing, peak climbing and trekking.
The tourists are captivated by the beauty of our mountains, the grasslands and alpine vegetation like edelweiss, rhododendron, gentian make the rocky peaks sweeter.
The valleys are rich in springs and waterfalls;
Lago di San Domenico- Villalago
Beautiful ancient villages built of the mountain stone and often crowned with ancient castles, climb up onto the mountain slopes. Local residents live their lives in perfect harmony with the rhythms of nature, they breed animals, work milk, make cheese, cultivate the soil, and master craftsmen produce tools and paint ceramics. Consider that Abruzzo boasts 21 of the 100 most beautiful villages in Italy.
Abruzzo’s upland areas are very extensive and for this reason, since millennia, Abruzzo’s population have been linked to the shepherding and to the shepherd lifestyle. Even today we celebrate the oldest and most characteristic phenomenon of our land, the transhumance, the seasonal moving of men and flocks of sheep along hundreds of kilometers in the late spring and early autumn (about 250 km in three weeks). In the summer they move from the arid plain of “Tavoliere delle Puglie”, to the green mountain pastures of Abruzzo. This journey of men and animals are ritually repeated since three thousand years, along a network of wide grassy paths existing by Roman times that are called “Tratturi”. Abruzzese people have rediscovered many others ancient traditions, because they have understood that cultural heritage, transmitted from generation to generation, makes Abruzzo different from many other Italian regions, where urban and economic development have stolen space to human being and his identity.
About 30 km from the coast, the mountain landscape gives space to lush hills dominated by olive groves and vineyards which lie between the mountains and the sea, in a perfect habitat, to produce superb extra virgin olive oil and fine wines. Consider that, 33 670 farms cultivate vineyards and more than 60,000 companies cultivate olives.
Here enthusiasts farmers, in the struggle to save biodiversity, preserve the environment and produce high quality food in order to live an healthy lifestyle. Traditional food of Abruzzo came from these marvelous hills and they express the tradition of the territory through their unique taste. The traditional food of Abruzzo are about 140, ranging from agricultural products to oil and wine, salami, cheeses, jams and bakery products. The agro-pastoral tradition is reflected in the Abruzzese cuisine, the recipes are made of a few ingredients but with a genuine and authentic taste. (Read Abruzzo Recipes)
From the top of these vast hills you can perfectly see the sea and reach quickly the coast teeming with life. The Abruzzo’s coast (almost 130 km of coastline) stretches along beaches, pine forests and rocky areas. To the north, in the province of Teramo, is located the marine protected area of “Torre del Cerrano” that extends up to 3 nautical miles from the coast and stretches along 7 km on the cost. Here, rare seabirds nest on the sand dunes where stands an ancient castle that houses museums and laboratories.
In the center of Abruzzo’s coast stands Pescara a modern city with more than 10 kilometres of promenade with, elegant shops and fine hotels.
Pescara is experiencing a great economic development, it is easy to reach thanks to the airport and the port, one of the most important of Adriatic coast. The city is rich in opportunities for fun and socializing, ideal for young people and tourists.
Further south, in the province of Chieti, the coast becomes more suggestive, characterized by the alternation of sandy beaches and rocky points and the environment becomes more and more spectacular as in the promontory of Punta Aderci, great for vegetation, fauna and the transparent water . You can enjoy the magnificent seascape of “Trabocchi” ancient and complex fishing machines, their primitive architecture and the old networks are so charming, they tell us stories about distant times emanating an old-world charm.
In the next posts I will take you to the most beautiful places of Abruzzo to enjoy their natural beauties and cultural traditions.
If you would like to know more about Abruzzo and If you liked this article, don’t miss the next one, keep an eye on the category Places to visit in Abruzzo and join us on your favourite social network.
If you have already visited these magnificent places I will be happy to read your experiences, if you haven’t, do it as soon as possible.
Abruzzo guida ai parchi e riserve naturali a cura di Massimo Pellegrino e Dario Febbo edizioni CARSA
Abruzzo una terra da scoprire a cura di Giovanni Tavano edizioni CARSA
Conoscere l’Abruzzo Luigi Bracilli Didattica Costantini Pescara