Abruzzo is a feast for the senses; it is a stunning, wild and mountainous area in central Italy, with the Appenine mountain range running through it. In the spring the high meadows are covered with wild flowers, and the air is filled with the scent of curry plants and wild thyme. In the Autumn the trees turn red and golden, and the air is full of the smell of oak smoke coming from the fireplaces.
Abruzzo is an area of outstanding natural beauty, a place to be close to nature, and a place to explore without any crowds! Abruzzo is home to no less than four National Parks, added together they make the largest area of protected wilderness anywhere in Europe! Abruzzo’s varied landscape hosts a myriad of medieval hilltop villages and ancient castles; in fact Abruzzo has the highest medieval castle in Europe.
Majella National Park
The Majella National Park has more holy places per square kilometre than anywhere in the world, except Tibet.
It is one of the 13 Parks established across Europe in 1998 by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (formerly the WWF). Their aim is to protect these important areas of outstanding natural beauty that are important refuges for some of Europe’s rarest species.
The Majella is Europe’s largest protected area, the 74,095 hectares of unique mountainous terrain is home to an amazing rich array of wildlife, nearly half of all mammal species found in Italy are present in the Majella. The Apennine wolf, wild boar, red deer, roe deer, wild cats, otters, chamois and brown bear are all found in the Majella.
The park hosts one third of the entire Italian flora, there are over 2,000 species of plants in the Majella. That’s 36% of Italy’s flora, 22% of Europe’s – and a whopping 11% is found nowhere else on earth.
Gran Sasso National Park
The Gran Sasso contains the highest mountain in central Italy at 2,912 metres, the southernmost Glacier in Europe, and the plateau of Campo Imperatore, (little Tibet) a large and beautiful high-altitude grassland.
More than 2,000 species of plants live in the different areas of the park, from prairies and pastures to woods. The undergrowth is rich in colours and the aromas of raspberries and wild orchids.
When it comes to wildlife, the Gran Sasso is considered the kingdom of the Abruzzo chamois. But also to be found are deer, roe deer and the Apennine wolf – as well as many rare birds of prey such as golden eagles, peregrine falcons and eagle owls – that call the area home.
Stories from Abruzzo
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Breathtaking views of Rocca Calascio! Video created by Mauro Pagliai
Sacred sites and heavenly food on Abruzzo’s holy trail
Award winning travel writer Emma Thomson hikes through stunning mountain scenery with Sacred Walks on the 66km-long “Spirit Trail”.
Best Food in Italy
In 2015 the Guardian newspaper wrote an article about Abruzzo, saying; “it had the best food in all of Italy”.
Abruzzo is famous for its lentils from Santo Stefano, saffron from L’Aquila, sugared almonds from Sulmona, Pecorino cheese, De Cecco pasta, and Montepulciano wine.
The dishes in Abruzzo are rustic and hearty, you can expect Chitarra Pasta, Potato Gnocchi, Polenta, Ricotta, Wild Boar, Rabbit, Sheep, Spicy Sausages, Artichokes, and Chicory.
People & Culture
Abruzzo and its people have kept their traditions and artisan skills alive. The Abruzzese people are known for being strong but gentle and generous to a fault.
In the rural towns and villages life has changed little, shops close in the middle of the day when all the restaurants open, people grow their own food and make their own wine, people go to church and shepherds still tend their flocks in the traditional way.
The Abruzzese people love to sing and make pasta, and often they can be found doing both at the same time.
Famous people from Abruzzo: Madonna, Dean Martin, Bradley Cooper,
Alternative Guided Tours for Non Walkers
Best of Abruzzo – Cherry-Picked, Guided and Bespoke Tours