Even though the sun is still shining winter is knocking at the door: the air is chilling, the first snows already hit the mountain peaks in Abruzzo and Christmas is just a few steps away (I’m looking forward to it!).
As we slowly approach the new year, I wanted to collect memories from the past few months and thought of this post as a great way to help me hold on to my favorite moments and give myself something to remember in the future. So I’m sharing some of my favourite travel tips hoping to inspire you to travel to Italy’s best kept region.
- Canoeing along one of the most beautiful Italian rivers
I planned to go canoeing with my kids and made some research on the web to look for the most captivating experience: I found it with Il Bosso! We chose the first morning tour starting at 10.00 AM and for us it turned out to be the best time of the day: the Tirino is one of the cleanest and most beautiful rivers in Italy, for me the best place to relax body and mind after a long work year. Waters are so clear and vegetation so rich and lushy, it is hard to find the right words to describe such a stunning place. It feels like being in a little heavenly spot, never thought I could bathe in cold waters (average temperature is 10 degrees!) eating sedanina plants. What a great experience!
- Exploring wild beaches
Abruzzo coastline stretches along 129 km of Adriatic sea: sandy beaches can be found from north to south, this year we chose to relax on some secluded spots of the so-called Costa dei Trabocchi, where ancient fishing machines draw the horizon with their unmistakable shape. We were totally blown away by Punta Aderci Natural Reserve in Vasto, so wild and free: no endless rows of sunbeds or rushing to find the best spot, though some self-organization is required to enjoy it at its best. We relaxed on our favourite beaches in San Vito (Calata Turchino and Rocco Mancini) and Ortona (Ripari di Giobbe): here you can find at least some bars and restaurants nearby.
- Visiting gorgeous caves
Located at a short drive from L’Aquila and in the very heart of the Sirente Velino Park, the Stiffe Caves are one of the most famous karst phenomena in Italy. Thanks to the suggestive underground stream forming beautiful caverns and cascades, the cave shows a unique spectacle along almost 1 km of tourist foothpath. It is strongly recommended not to take pictures inside the caves, except in the permitted spots. Tours in English are also available upon request. *NEW* don’t forget to pay a visit to the newly opened Aquilandia Museum to learn more about Abruzzo.
- Going local in old villages
Abruzzo, like the rest of Italy, is full of cozy medieval villages and borghi where life still runs slowly and at a relaxed pace. In a borgo you can feel the real Italian lifestyle, mix with the locals and be part of their community. When visiting a new village my favourite stops are the main square and food shops: here it’s very easy to chat with people and discover more about their traditions, learn stories and secret anecdotes you will never find in a travel book.
- Eating local food
Summer in Abruzzo offers plenty of opportunities to eat local food, every small city or village boasts its own food festival or sagra: from polenta to sagne e fagioli, from porchetta to truffles, food is celebrated everywhere in Abruzzo! Meals are usually cooked by locals and sold at a reasonable price, we always purchase different courses to try as much varied food as possible.
- Art Exhibitions
Michael Kenna’s photo exhibition in Loreto Aprutino was a key moment of the closing year, I probably never looked at my region the way he did: his black and white mysterious photographs focus on the interaction between the natural landscape and human-made structures, his cryptic perspective captures a fascinating landscape and record details that the human eye is not able to perceive. The result is for me an essentially poetic image of nature forcing your soul to reflect on the deeper meaning of life.
- Local Shopping
Shopping can be so funny in Abruzzo as there’s a wide choice of local artisans producing very nice handmade objects. My best discoveries of the year were
- A piggy bank by Arago Design
- Handmade bags and pencil cases by Danilla Bag
- Ceramic bow ties by Ceramiche Liberati
- Illustrated Recipes & Calendars by Diane Fujimoto (online webstore only)
And you, when are you coming to visit Abruzzo?
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