It’s sad to think that most people will never travel to the wonderfully authentic and unique region of Abruzzo. Understandably, there is so much to see and do in Firenze, Roma, and Venezia that there just isn’t enough time to take it all in on one trip. But if you’ve ever exhausted the long museum lines, pricey admission fees, and all right, yes, some of the most amazing, breathtaking, and important architectural and art masterpieces on the planet, there are alternatives!
Allow me to make a poor comparison: if Roma and Milano are the NYC and Washington, DC of Italy, then Abruzzo is the entire Great Plains. It’s the bread basket, milk, goat cheese, grapes, and heart of Italy. Drive west and within 20 minutes you can go hiking or skiing in the Abruzzo Mountains. Bike or climb down the rocky cliffs of Acqua Bella (city of Ortona) and a tiny private rock beach on the Adriatic Sea is all yours.
During the Second World War, brave Canadian and New Zealand divisions battled German squads up and down the streets of Ortona and San Leonardo. The house next door to my grandmother’s is still a wreck from the war, and many middle-aged residents easily recall childhood days of playing out in the fields and discovering leftover shells.
There are no hotels in San Leonardo or in the other tiny villages that dot the area around Pescara, but there are plenty of resorts and accommodations in places like Pescara, Lanciano, Chieti, L’Aquila, and others — as well as fantastic campsites throughout Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo.