20 Things to See in Abruzzo

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Breathtaking landscapes, suggestive villages, luxuriant nature, history, traditions, cuisine and culture: theAbruzzo it's all this! Are you ready to find out? We offer you 20 unmissable stages that will allow you to better appreciate this beautiful Italian region.


  1. Rocca Calascio
  2. Caves of Stiffe
  3. Lake of Scanno
  4. Hermitage of San Bartolomeo in Legio
  5. Piccolomini Castle and Celano Gorges
  6. Alba Fucens and Santa Maria in Valle Porclaneta
  7. Trabocchi coast
  8. Fortress of Civitella del Tronto and the Ruetta
  9. Badlands of Atri
  10. L'Aquila and the Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio
  11. National Museum of Abruzzo
  12. National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise
  13. Campo Imperatore
  14. Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park
  15. Orfento Valley
  16. Abbey of San Giovanni in Venere
  17. The submerged mills of Lago Capo d'Acqua
  18. Torre Cerrano and Port of Hadria in Pineto
  19. Pescara
  20. Majella Park
  21. Plan your trip: how to get there and where to sleep
  22. User questions and comments

1 - Rocca Calascio

A magical place, so fascinating that it looks like a painting: Rocca Calascio, a medieval fortification at an altitude of 1464 m. Immersed in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park, it will leave you amazed. The fortress, entirely in white stone and reachable through picturesque winding lanes, was chosen as set of two well-known films: "The Name of the Rose", with Sean Connery, and "Lady Hawke", with Michelle Pfeiffer. Furthermore, on the path that leads to Santo Stefano di Sessanio, one of the "most beautiful villages in Italy", is the church of Santa Maria della Pietà, which you can admire from the fortress itself. The panorama will surprise you with a timeless landscape.

2 - Stiffe Caves

The Stiffe Caves represent a karst phenomenon among the most spectacular in Italy. Formed about 600.000 years ago and located in the province of L'Aquila, they will captivate you through an equipped tourist route of about 700 m. You will discover a new and unexpected world, on the border with dreams, between enormous stalactites and stalagmites, black lakes, plays of light and shadow and rushing streams. Be careful, though: in the caves the temperature is rather low! Remember this and cover up well.

Entrance to the caves costs around € 10,00 for the full ticket and € 8,50 for the reduced ticket.

3 - Lake of Scanno

Un romantic village who seems asleep under the green mountains full of pines. A blue lake at its feet makes it truly enchanting. Scanno is "the pearl of Abruzzo"set in the Upper Sagittarius Valley. Una wild and almost untouched nature frames this village full of alleys, artisan shops, lace shops and goldsmith art. You cannot fail to notice the Presentosa, a well-known historical jewel in the area. Taste the Pan dell'Orso, a traditional dessert, perhaps while resting on the shores of the lake. If you pay attention you will notice that from some visuals takes the shape of a heart.

4 - Hermitage of San Bartolomeo in Legio

The perfect place to reflect, to take a solo trip or simply to disconnect from the hectic and modern everyday life. The hermitage of San Bartolomeo in Legio is of a disarming beauty. Literally dug inside a rocky outcrop, about 700 m above sea level, is located in the municipality of Roccamorice, in the province of Pescara. In the silence of the Maiella and Morrone woods, turn off your mobile phone, close your eyes and breathe. You will feel regenerated!

5 - Piccolomini Castle and Celano Gorges

In Celano you will enter a fairytale atmosphere thanks to the medieval Piccolomini castle that dominates the Fucino plain. The visit to the castle costs around € 4,00 for the full ticket and € 2,00 for the reduced ticket. Access is free for under 18s.

But that's not all: from here you can also take a hike at Gorges of Aielli-Celano. Will find one of the most important canyons in Italy, with a really deep valley carved by the La Foce stream. Its spectacular rock walls reach, at the highest points, to exceed 200 m in height! The atmosphere is made even wilder by the flight of golden eagles, kites and griffins, which nest here.

6 - Alba Fucens and Santa Maria in Valle Porclaneta

It is a'ancient Roman city at the foot of Monte Velino. Alba Fucens is a archaeological site of considerable importance. A city enclosed in a wall of about 3 km and almost perfectly preserved. If you can, stay until sunset: a splendid scenery painted with brushstrokes of pink light awaits you on the Velino and on the ruins. Not far away, in Rosciolo, treat yourself to a visit to a hidden gem and unknown to many: the church of Santa Maria in Valle Porclaneta. It is a little gem that really deserves it.

7 - Costa dei Trabocchi

The coast in the stretch of the province of Chieti offers suggestive glimpses made of jagged coves and stony beaches. It is known as Costa dei Trabocchi, for its scenic fishing stilt houses. Rich in important natural reserves (such as Punta Aderci, Punta Penna, Lecceta di Torino di Sangro) this area will easily seduce you. It is the perfect place to wander with your sweetheart by the sea, have dinner with her in one of the overflows that house restaurants and enjoy excellent dishes by candlelight.

Le location to base to visit this stretch of coast are San Vito Chietino, Torino di Sangro, Vasto and San Salvo.

8 - Fortress of Civitella del Tronto and the Ruetta

The Fortress of Civitella del Tronto is ainteresting military engineering work, among the largest and most majestic in Europe. It has an elliptical shape, with an extension of 25.000 square meters and a length of over 500.
Access costs € 6,00 for the full ticket, € 4,00 for the reduced ticket, € 1,00 for children.

But the Fortress is not the only reason to visit Civitella del Tronto, this is in fact one of the "most beautiful villages in Italy", which also hides "The Ruetta", the narrowest street in the beautiful country.

9 - Badlands of Atri

The Regional Natural Reserve of the Calanchi di Atri extends for 380 hectares. A amazing landscape awaits you with his amazing geological formations, also known as "dantesque bolge" or "scrimoni". Only apparently arid and inhospitable, the badlands are in reality rich in flora and fauna. Owls, tawny owls, emerald toads, foxes, weasels, badgers and porcupines live among gorse, tamarisk, wild gladioli and licorice plants. You can freely venture among the marked trails. It is a real paradise for lovers of trekking, endurance and mountain biking.

10 - L'Aquila and the Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio

Tragically destroyed by the earthquake a few years ago, however, this city is not dead. The historic center and the monuments have been partially restored, and the city continues to be one of the places in Abruzzo to visit. We suggest you wander through its streets, drink a coffee and above all visit its basilica from 1288. Majestic and haughty, Santa Maria di Collemaggio will captivate you with its details: from rose window (one of the symbols of the city), to the facade, to the various portals. In front of it, the large green lawn (always full of university students on break from classes) and the side park (summer scene of numerous events) will allow you to rest.

11 - National Museum of Abruzzo

Also located in L'Aquila, the National Museum of Abruzzo deserves a separate mention as the main museum of the region. It was housed in the 41 rooms of the Spanish Fort until 2009, then moved to the premises of the Ex slaughterhouse. They are exhibited in the museum works, funerary steles and archaeological finds.

The most important piece is the Elephas meridionalis: i monumental skeleton of a mammoth, found in 1945 and still one of the largest in Italy. In the museum you can also admire sculptural and pictorial works from the end of the th century to the end of the th, sacred fabrics and jewelery from the beginning of the sixteenth century to the twentieth century.

12 - National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise

This splendid park, together with the equally wonderful Gran Paradiso National Park, is among the oldest in Italy and known internationally for its role in the conservation of some very important Italian fauna species: the Apennine wolf, Abruzzo chamois el 'Marsican brown bear.

The opinions on the presence of the lynx, while the cervoOnce extinct, it is now booming. The reintroduction of the roe made it reproduce effectively and today it is very easy to spot it in the park. Many minor mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates and birds also live here. L'Golden Eagle, which nests here, uses the park as a naturalistic corridor and is increasingly reconquering the areas where it was extinct. Its roughly central location in the Italian peninsula and the various extensions made over the years have meant that the park housed rare and endemic floristic species.

13 - Campo Imperatore

Campo Imperatore is located in front of the Gran Sasso massif and is one of the best known ski areas in the region, a reference point for the winter holidays. However it offers wonderful experiences even in the summer season. Reach the Campo Imperatore plateau cycling is a strong emotion.

La road which leads you here from L'Aquila is tiring but give really beautiful bucolic views. It will not be difficult to meet along the way a flock crossing the road, a fox hidden in the grass, a farmer intent on working the land. Very beautifull!

14 - Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park

And the third largest National Park in Italy by territorial extension. Its flora is extremely varied, as is its fauna, embellished with species such as the Abruzzo chamois, the red deer and roe deer, the Apennine wolf and the Marsican brown bear.

There is a way very suggestive and very important connection path: the Highway of the Park. It crosses it in the border area between the Gran Sasso massif and the Laga chain, thus connecting the province of L'Aquila with that of Teramo. For the sole purpose of hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking, you can cross thehorse trail of the Gran Sasso. They are also present inside the park ski resorts suitable for winter sports. In Fonte Cerreto, above Assergi, an adventure park was opened to the public in 2016: the Gran Sasso Adventure Park.

15 - Orfento Valley

Dug from the river of the same name, it can be visited through a trekking which develops long walkways and suggestive passages. If you are lucky (and silent) you can do it pleasant encounters with the local fauna. The valley is so beautiful that it lends itself perfectly to wonderful photo shots. But be careful: before going to the Orfento Valley you must ask for permission at the visitor center of Caramanico Terme managed by Majambiente.

To visit the area, free access authorization is required to be collected at the Visitor Center of Caramanico Terme.

16 - Abbey of San Giovanni in Venere

In Fossacesia, on a hill from which it dominates the jagged Adriatic coast, a few kilometers from the city center, stands this splendid abbey. Its name derives from the fact that the first church was built by Benedictine monks on the remains of an ancient pagan temple dedicated to Venus. The current construction, on the other hand, is due to the abbot Oderisio II, buried in the sarcophagus walled up on the main facade.
This construction strikes the visitor with his own monumental elevation and large and decorated portal surrounded by white marble slabs. Carved in relief, they narrate the events of the life of the Baptist. Inside the church has the classic structure of the Cistercian basilicas and we find it important mural frescoes. The cloister It's interesting as it is made up of a gallery of twenty-nine three-light windows, marked by sixty-eight columns without a base and with decorated capitals. The three sides of the cloister are joined in the large Gothic arch of the bell tower, under whose span there is a sarcophagus from excavations carried out in the surrounding area.

17 - The submerged mills of Lago Capo d'Acqua

In Abruzzo there are fascinating submerged lake and marine areas. One of the most striking is the one in Capo d'Acqua lake, in the municipality of Capestrano. Under its waters they are preserved two ancient mills, completely submerged. We go down with guides and take a tour around these buildings. A wonderful experience!

18 - Torre Cerrano and Port of Hadria in Pineto

Among the seaside resorts of Abruzzo, the beautiful Pineto deserves a mention.
Here you can visit the ancient Torre di Cerrano, one of the coastal towers of the Kingdom of Naples. Right in front of the homonymous tower, it is possible to dive with mask and snorkel to discover the ancient port of Hadria. Once a landing place for cargo ships from all over the Mediterranean, it was then destroyed by the invaders and swept away by the earthquake. Today his remain ruins underwater.

19 - Pescara

Pescara is a large port city as well as a renowned seaside resort. It offers about 10 km of equipped beaches, numerous opportunities for relaxation and comfort. There is also no shortage of fun places for young people, usually near the city center. In the beach areas you will always find several restaurants and bars, children's parks and sports equipment rental agencies.

Pescara is also the birthplace of Gabriele D'Annunzio. In the center, in corso Manthonè, it is possible to visit the building where the famous poet spent his childhood. There house-museum offers photos, documents, books, souvenirs, frescoes and antique furniture. The entrance ticket is € 4,00 and the visit time is about half an hour. Finally, among the other unmissable attractions we cannot fail to mention the Bridge of the Sea: the largest cycle-pedestrian bridge in Italy and one of the largest in Europe.

20 - Majella Park

The Majella Park extends between the provinces of Chieti, Pescara and L'Aquila and is an unmissable destination for all nature lovers, but also an excellent destination for exciting weekends dedicated to sessions of Trekking on the Majella Mountain, but also history and culture.

Sulmona it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful inhabited centers, both for its historical charm and for the position at the foot of the highest peaks of the Park, which offers wonderful views. Among other attractions and places of interest we point out the Hermitage of San Giovanni all'Orfento e pretty villages of Roccacaramanico and Guardiagrele.

Plan your trip: how to get there and where to sleep

Abruzzo is a particularly easy region to reach by land due to its central location. The reference airport is the Abruzzo International Airport of Pescara (flights starting from € 19,00 -), but considering the short distance from Rome (1 hour and 24 minutes by car from L'Aquila, 2 hours from Pescara), it is also possible to land in one of the airports of the capital and then move by bus or train to the Abruzzo town of interest.

However the absolute best way to enjoy the region is arrive with your own vehicle and build an itinerary depending on your needs, starting from main cities such as L'Aquila and Pescara. Hotel and b & b starting from € 58,00 per room -

For a Sea Holiday, it is advisable to base yourself in the Province of Chieti, perhaps in cities like Ortona and Vasto, instead for one winter vacation in the mountains, places like L'Aquila, Santo Stefano di Sessanio, Calascio, Roccaraso, Pescocostanzo are recommended.

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