Villages intact in their ancient charm are scattered everywhere in the hinterland of the Apennines of Abruzzo. Situated in the mountains, are the sentinels of solitude without borders, centers like Navelli, famous for its saffron considered among the finest in the world.
Close you should definitely plan a visit to Bominaco, where the abbey consists of the church of Santa Maria Assunta and San Pellegrino. At an altitude of 1460 meters, in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga, film atmosphere at the castle of Rocca Calascio, which were filmed shooting Ladyhawke and The Name of the Rose.
Beatiful also the village of Capestrano, all gathered at the Castello Piccolomini d’Aragona, one of the landmarks of the region. Dating from the fifteenth century, it belonged, among others, also to Margaret of Austria, wife of Alessandro de Medici. Originally it was owned before the Acquaviva family, then that of Pietro di Celano and subsequently by Antonio Piccolomini of which you can still see the coat of arms. The castle boasts powerful cylindrical towers escarpments and resist traces of the drawbridge, the rooms of the garrison and the parade. To remember that nearby nof Capestrano, to be exact to Ofena, it was found the Warrior of Capestrano, a sculpture of a Piceno warrior more than two meters high, now in the National Archaeological Museum of Abruzzo in Chieti, which happens to be one of the most important examples of Italic art.
A day is dedicated to Sulmona, the city of comfits. The main square of the country headed to Garibaldi’s walls like a crown by medieval aqueduct and through every edge you can enjoy a magnificent view of the mountains of the Majella and Morrone.
Suddenly it appears Scanno, medieval village perched on a spur of rock of Mount Carapale and facing onto the lake in the Upper Valley of Sagittarius. In the country, including steep stairs calls cimmause, you can visit interesting monuments, including the eighteenth-century source Pisciarello, buildings from different eras and styles, ancient churches and the Wool museum that testifies the pastoral culture of Abruzzo which includes processing wool, skins, cheeses and parchment.
You can not say goodbye Scanno without purchasing a Presentosa, a star-shaped pin with two hearts baptized by Gabriele D’Annunzio, who was given to girls as a promise of love and that the goldsmiths of the country’s teachers still produce handmade.
The antique shop Armando Di Rienzo (Via De Angelis, 1 – tel. +39 0864 74329 – www.armandodirienzo.com – firstname.lastname@example.org) exists since the early nineteenth century and preserved in its own laboratory historical memory of tools used by goldsmiths: how could I not make me give the Presentosa, the jewel filigree most popular piece with local women, created as once by the descendants of this family?
Guardiagrele too, in the province of Chieti, is famous for its craft shops and art jewelry. Here our advice for purchases, focuses on “sciacquajje” a spacecraft earrings tracery knitted, which cast out the evil eye and with their tinkling had to ward off evil spirits.
The town, halfway between the Adriatic and the majestic silhouette of the Majella, is truly the “terrace of Abruzzo” sung by D’Annunzio, proud of its forty towers and its Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, a magnificent example of Abruzzo Gothic with the superb bell tower, one of the largest in Abruzzo with 9 bells placed at octagon: 4 more side, flanked by four small, and finally the bell placed in the center.
Probably various tours and the mountain air did give you an appetite. Well, you’re in the right place: everywhere is a riot of arrosticini (lamb kebabs), wild boar sauce, homemade pasta and ventricina, the typical salami.
Among the desserts, the more curious you find in Guardiagrele: is Pan di Spagna, stuffed with cream and has three bumps. The name? The Sise (ie breasts) of the Nuns. You found them by Palmerio in Via Roma in the center, but if you go there on a Sunday morning when there is the market in the country, we must make a long line to be able to buy a few: it is absolutely worth it! These cakes are really delicious…
In the area Villa Maiella (loc. Villa Maiella 30, tel. +39 0871 809319 – www.villamaiella.it –
email@example.com) a historical place by Angela and Peppino Tinari, one of the best restaurants in Abruzzo where you can taste the specialties of regional cuisine with homemade bread, handmade pasta, meat including the indispensable lamb or game, the traditional salt cod and the selection of different origin and aged cheeses, all served with great courtesy in an ancient elegant atmosphere and frozen in time. I had the privilege of dining here for my birthday and to receive as a divine cadeau a cake prepared by Angela specially for me to discover, at the end of the evening, to share the birth day with the great chef! An affectionate hug and a promise to return sealed the event.
To complete the gastronomic tour of the region, are essential stops in Bussi, Popoli and Capestrano, where the Tirino waters are home to crayfish. Rustic and generous portions with a basic menu of crayfish served with a good Pecorino, which is not a cheese but a regional vine with white fruit, from A Silvia (State Road 153 km 7,600 – Bussi sul Tirino, tel. +39 333 5791733 – +39 334 3310070).
A Popoli, however, an institution is the historic restaurant Lombardi (Via Capponi 33, tel.: +39 085 98214 – www.ristorantelombardi.com), a reference point in the Abruzzo restaurant for over a century in the central Piazza Paolini, that continues to represent the gastronomic history of the place since before the Unification of Italy, as keen to emphasize. The crayfish are not local ones but are imported from Armenia, Iran (Caspian Sea area) and Turkey, but the local cuisine continues to be famous for its delicious dishes in which the noble crustacean is the protagonist. The crayfish are excellent enjoyed alone, with green sauce on toast or stewed “alla fiumarola”. And never forgotten, once tasted, the taste of the chitarra (handmade pasta) to the crayfish sauce that is not as sweet as shrimp seafood. I should not write it by aupulian born just seven kilometers from the sea, but rather its particular taste to that of its “cousins” of the seabed.
Sleeping move to Semivicoli where the winery Masciarelli, founded by Gianni Masciarelli, figure symbol of italian panorama wine and starring affirmation of abruzzese winegrowing and now led by his wife Marina Cvetic, has vineyards, hills, wineries and the Castle of Semivicoli, a baronial mansion overlooking the village of San Martino on Marrucina, in the province of Chieti, transformed into a magnificent hotel with design suite (via San Nicola 24, tel. +39 0871 890045 – www.castellodisemivicoli.com). The rooms are situated within the ancient castle walls, and are furnished with period furniture perfectly harmonized with the latest amenities. Our room , located in the highest part of the building that housed the old prison, has allowed us to live a unique atmosphere under the ceiling with original beams enjoying the wonderful overlooking the Maiella national park through the skylights.