I’m so glad I came to Abruzzo….from L’Aquila, its capital, to odd little resurgent Santo Stefano di Sessanio and its sister village Castel del Monte, to its wild and dramatic mountains and plateaus, to its Adriatic coastal beaches and communities and to its southern inland villages like Larino, Abruzzo has been worth the visit to relatively unknown territory. Several people have asked for my impressions about this province. Never one to shrink from an opinion…..
Abruzzo is certainly more sheltered from the outside world than its famous northern neighbors, Tuscany and Umbria. It’s a place of severe contrasts. The striking mountains posed against the swaying fields of young chartreuse wheat down in the narrow valleys. The Italian tourists along its coast in summer and the industry growing inland. The cool temperatures in summer and many feet of snow in winter in those mountains make this part of Abruzzo ideal for the Roma rich to summer here and leave the ancient villages to their rural folk in winter.
Further evidence of Abruzzi individuality for me ….I’ve met very few Abruzzi who can speak English! I’ve scolded myself more than once for not doing more to learn the language, if only enough phrases and words to understand and be understood! I think most of the tourists to this region are Italians from other parts, not so much international travelers.
Pescara, where I have stayed for three nights, is not very attractive other than its Adriatic view and beach. I’m told it was mostly destroyed during WWII and rebuilt without much imagination or style. Even the shops use metal grates and sliding steel panels when they close up shop….ugly!!! Haven’t seen that any place else…on this trip, that is. And there’s a great deal of graffiti here which is sad to see. Also sad is the fact nearly every home is walled and gated…we’re talking apartments, single family homes, hotels, nearly every residence of any means is walled and gated! If this gorgeous b&b I’m staying in is any example, behind those walls and gates are beautiful homes surrounded by manicured lawns, sparkling pools and flowered hills but a casual visitor has no way to know since access is denied, of course! Maybe there’s above average crime here ….research needed.
And yep, the beach on Sunday was packed….wall-to-wall. All kinds of shapes, sizes and suits to cover some, almost none or almost all! Ugh!
Today I drove south to visit the southern beaches and to see some Abruzzi inland. On the way down, I took the local coastal roads (think A1A) and I saw towns that reminded me of our own snow bird towns in S. Carolina, Georgia and Florida…cheap hotels and some nice hotels but nothing too upscale.
On the way back, I got on the A14 autostrada, the expressway running north/south. Though it parallels the local artery, it’s a bit more inland and mostly elevated. For much of the trip, I had a view of the amazing blue Adriatic on my right and the verdant (loads of vineyards) rolling hills on my left as I headed north back to Pescara. This is when I asked why so few knew how beautiful Abruzzo is?! I have some guesses but this isn’t the forum for that discussion.
Let’s look at some pictures!
So sorry for the dust on my lens!
Anyone id that bird? It was sitting on a light stanchion near my lunch spot yesterday. Isn’t it beautiful?
And the last two pix are sunrise this a.m. from my terrace!
Tomorrow morning I leave this west coast and drive east to the Mediterranean, to Positano! Looking forward to seeing the Amalfi Coast which is reportedly the BEST!
Only 15 days left of this amazing adventure! Where did the time fly to?!?