- Travel tips
- 14 December 2021
The best of Abruzzo between fairy forests, sea and movie set sceneries
I am lucky enough to live in an Italian region that has a lot to offer but often, and unfortunately I may add, is undervalued: Abruzzo. An ideal destination for whom loves nature, good food and relax, Abruzzo is rich of art, history, culture, traditions and boasts of panoramas and sceneries that leave you literally speechless, thanks to the mountains, hills, canyons and cascades.
You can visit boroughs (some consider them as of the most beautiful in Italy), castles, hermitages, medieval villages and lakes, one of which is Scanno, the famous heart-shaped lake! In reality its shape is not heart-shaped, but if you walk a path (the heart path), you reach a point from where you view the lake under a particular angle as a big heart.
The Green Region of Europe thanks to the national parks and pristine nature
Nature is the boss: thanks to the Three National Parks, Regional Parks and many Natural Reserves that cover one third of the territory, Abruzzo won the title of Green Region of Europe.
Did you know that the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise is the oldest park of the Apennines mountains? It played a very important role is species conservation, like the wolf and the the Marsican brown bear.
The other famous parks are the National Park of Gran Sasso and the National Park of Majella; At the last one there are more than 1.700 plant species registered, almost one third of the Italian flora!
In order to explore better these areas and come in contact with the pristine nature, you can program many excursions either on your own, or with the help of a tour guide. There are paths and trails for everyone to walk, either on foot or go on a mountain-bike/e-bike and why not, on horse.
Orfento Valley, an enchanting Nature Reserve to be discovered
In the heart of the National Park of Majella that is worth the visit: the Orfento Valley. It is a Natural Reserve located in Caramanico (in Pescara province, mainly noted for its thermal springs). Among the many routes of different length and difficulty that can be taken to visit this enchanting place, I have traveled the Sentiero delle Scalelle that is the easiest, well suited for families and can be carried out in total autonomy. Before embarking on the journey, you must register at the Caramanico Visitor Center. Registration is free and serves mostly to protect the protected area.
Once you have registered, you can go. The Scalelle Path runs alongside the Orfento and crosses the canyon formed by this river over thousands of years. Along the way there are waterfalls, pools, caves, whirlpools and some really characteristic wooden bridges to cross, all surrounded by different shades of light and rich and dense vegetation; it is an enchanting place, like being in a fairy forest and even the water of the stream seems magical with its bright green / turquoise color!
Is it possible to go skiing in Abruzzo while looking at the sea? Yes, you can!
In Abruzzo there are some of the highest peaks in Italy, which in winter turn into well-known ski resorts.
Among the best known there is certainly Roccaraso, which has 147 kilometers of slopes and 38 ski lifts, an artificial snow system to be used in case of need and an ice rink for skating.
Another well-known destination is Ovindoli with its 21 slopes and a snow park, considered the best in central-southern Italy. Also worth mentioning are the ski resorts of Passo Lanciano and Majelletta, where it is possible to ski while looking at the sea! In fact, on clear days, from the highest slopes you can see the Adriatic Sea. These last two locations are very well equipped, even for the little ones.
Film set villages: Rocca Calascio and Campo Imperatore
Some places in Abruzzo, such as Rocca Calascio and Campo Imperatore, are so beautiful that they have become the set of various films.
Rocca Calascio is a small village of medieval origin that stands on a height of 1,460 meters, in the province of L’Aquila. There is a fortress built around the 12th century which, given its strategic position, overlooked the Abruzzo valleys in case of enemy attacks. The magical atmosphere and the beautiful natural setting in which the Castle is located have been chosen as the film set for several films; among the most famous are “Ladyhawke” and “The name of the Rose”.
Do you know the movie “They Called Me Trinity” and the sequel “They Kept Calling Me Trinity”? Perhaps they are the most famous Italian-style westerns (also called Spaghetti-westerns) starring two phenomenal actors, such as Bud Spencer and Terence Hill. Their external scenes were mainly shot in Abruzzo, to be exact in Campo Imperatore, at the foot of the Gran Sasso. A memorial for the 50th anniversary of the film was celebrated in August 2021. And who would have thought that those immense prairies seen in the film are not Californian, but 100% Italian?
Abruzzo is also the sea, characterized by traditional overflows
A shimmering and clear sea enough to deserve 13 blue flags in 2021. Have you ever heard of the wonderful Costa dei Trabocchi? Residence where D’Annunzio stayed with his mistress Barbara Leoni.
The coast is flanked by a circular/pedestrian path (the Via Verde), with its many coves, some of sand and others of stones, and takes its name from the traditional buildings that look like wooden stilts located in the middle of the sea which were, and are still used today, for fishing.
But, what exactly is an overflow and how does it work? The overflow is a sort of stilts connected to the mainland by a footbridge. On the platform there is a shed, used as a shelter for fishing tools, and a revolving winch that is used to throw the nets into the sea. The antennas protrude from the platform, that is a sort of an arm that supports the nets through a system of pulleys and ropes. The winch, rotating, allows you to raise and lower the nets whenever you want. Trabocchi have now been transformed into restaurants, where only the daily catch is served.
In short, in Abruzzo you certainly cannot get bored, during both the summer and winter periods. It is in fact one of the Italian regions where both the sea and the mountains are present, so if you are undecided on the type of holiday to choose for your holidays, Abruzzo is the right destination for you! Are you ready to live the experience inside a movie scene?
My name is Barbara and I live in Abruzzo. I consider myself an incurable wanderluster because of my desire to discover the world.