Updated: Sep 3, 2019
From the tops of the Abruzzo Apennine mountains down to the alluring Adriatic sea, the region of Abruzzo is not one to miss on your trip to Italy. Many Americans still refer to this region as "Abruzzi" which was the name of this area in 1860 when the regions of Abruzzo and Molise were combined. They were separated in 1963 and is known by Italians as "Abruzzo" or Abbruzzo if you're a local ;). Most who travel here are interested in their coastal towns along the Adriatic and although this is certainly the highlight, Abruzzo has a lot more to offer. We'll start talking about how Abruzzo is split into 4 different provinces that all unite over their shared love for food, beaches, mountains, and nature. In this post you will also find instruction for how to book a bus to reach Abruzzo.
Abruzzo is divided into four provinces:
L'aquila - the region's capital
Teramo - the best of both worlds, mountains AND sea!
Chieti - amongst the most oldest cities in Italy (this is where my grandmother is from!)
Pescara - the city of Pescara is the most populated in Abruzzo (and where my grandfather is from!)
When traveling through Abruzzo it can be accessed by all forms of transportation:
The Abruzzo International Airport in Pescara is served by low cost airlines with low fare flights from and to Barcelona, Brussels, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Krakow, Frankfurt, London, Milan and Turin (wikitravel.org/Abruzzo).
Train is alway my go-to when i'm traveling throughout Italy because I just find it easy to navigate. Trenitalia is the train system that runs throughout this region and all of Italy. Pescara Centrale is the only city station in Abruzzo that can be accessed by the frecciarossa trains which are the high speed trains that run throughout the major cities of Italy. This means that the rest of Abruzzo can be accessed only by the "regionale" trains. *It is important to remember to stamp your ticket before you get on the platform or you will face a hefty fine*
There is a bus system i've used many times to get from Rome to visit my family in Vasto. Dicarlobus is the most *italian* bus experience you will probably ever have. Primarily because it operates completely in Italian so below you can follow my link where I will take you through the site step-by-step because this is probably one of the cheapest ways of accessing Abruzzo. This bus literally offers coffee and candy as part of their service. Not just any candy...like the candy you see in a fancy glass bowl on your grandparents' coffee table but can't find in a store...it just kind of appears. Dicarlobus can take you from the Fiumicino Airport or Stazione Tiburtina in Rome to the following cities: Pescara, Vasto, Vasto San Salvo, Montenero, Lanciano, Val Di Sangro, and L'aquila. Prices have increased since the first time I used their service in 2016 but the roundtrip rates range from €13-28
Click the following link for "How to book a bus to Abruzzo" with Dicarlobus
The motorway in Abruzzo is also an option if you rent a car and get an international driving license (before you enter the country). Italians drive pretty crazy in the big cities, but you can manage the major highways without any issues.
My favorite part about all of this is definitely the food. Abruzzese food is unique and based on "Peasant Dishes." Peasant dishes are particular to a culture that are inexpensive and accessible. I will be writing a more in depth blog about the food in Abruzzo but until then I recommend you try the following:
Arrosticini also known as "Rostelli" in dialect, you can't travel to Abruzzo and not try arrosticini. (Unless you're a vegetarian, I will forgive you.)
Seafood in general is really popular especially in coastal towns. Seafood broths are really common.
Pallotte cace e ove - This one is very particular and one of my favorites. They are meatballs basically but without any meat. Instead these soft "polpette" are made with bread, egg, and cheese and cooked in a red sauce.
Scrippelle - These are a sort of fried dough and are typically salty but I prefer mine sweet!
Montepulciano d'abruzzo - Probably the most popular wine from the region (don't forget to choose DOCG)
Ratafia - This is a cherry flavored "digestivo" or after-dinner drink
Pecorino Cheese + Fave - Learned from my cousins it is a typical snack comprised of the Abruzzese sheep cheese, fave beans, and bread. If you have the chance to go to a supermarket I would by these things and some wine and have a nice Abruzzo picnic on the beach!
The beaches in Abruzzo are some of the best and here are my recommendations:
Although i've never made a visit to any of the national parks in Abruzzo there are many that i've heard are worth the visit for their walking and biking paths:
and finally, although I've never been skiing (but i'd love to) these are some of the ski resorts that are popular:
I hope you enjoyed my tips on Abruzzo, keep checking back for more! Until then, read about how I discovered my Italian relatives from this region!