If you had enough time we would recommend to see everything! Abruzzo is such an extraordinary region of Italy with so much to see, but here are some of our top recommendations. These are sorted by distance from Rocca di Sotto.
a Penne (30 min driving)
It is an historical center of the region having a rich history that spans the story of Abruzzo. The lake of Penne is nice to walk around and there is a weekly market at Saturday morning.
b Citta Sant’Angelo (30 min driving)
Named one of the top 10 places in the world to live. Città has a lovely atmosphere and is one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. The weekly market is Wednesday.
c Atri (40 min from driving)
Is a beautiful medieval town with wonderfully preserved architecture. Choose a good day and you have views over the Adriatic sea, over the mountains and over the ‘calanques’ in the surrounding countryside which have been formed by centuries of erosion.
d Castelli (1 hour driving)
The lovely town Castelli has a beautiful location with fabulous views. From the Middle Ages, Castelli has been known for its colorful hand-painted ceramics.
e Chieti (1 hour driving)
It is a small commune in Abruzzo, but it is one of the most interesting places to explore, with a history that dates back to ancient times. You’ll discover its colorful medieval stories, including facts about the different powerful empires that conquered it and all the wars it has seen. Popular places to visit in Chieti is the San Giustino Cathedral and the National Archaeological Museum of Abruzzo.
g Campo Imperatore (1 hour driving to the beginning of the mountain plain)
Is a not-to-be-missed majestic mountain plain in the heart of the Gran Sasso mountains which is a hive of activity in the summer months.
h Pacentro (1 hour and 20 min driving )
An exquisitely restored village not far from Sulmona. It is the ancestral home of pop artist Madonna.
i Santo Stefano di Sessanio (1 hour 25 min driving)
It is a wonderful example, in the Gran Sasso, of a dispersed hotel. A town restored with the sole intention of creating a tourist attraction. Delightful!
j Rocca Calascio (1 hour 25 min driving)
The emotions of a medieval landscape in Abruzzo. The castle of Rocca Calascio, nearby Santo Stefano di Sessanio in the province of L’Aquila, is one of the highest fortresses in Europe.
k San Vito Chietino Marina (1.50 hour driving)
The exquisite seaside town of San Vito Chietino is home to the famous Trabocchi structures of the Adriatic coast.
l Pescasseroli (2 hours driving)
Just getting there is a joy! This is Abruzzo bear country where we went with a guide and spot a few times a few of these amazing brown bears “Orso Marsicano”.
m Sulmona (1 hour 30 min driving)
Ancient history and colourful sweets are among the things to see in Sulmona. A smallish with charm as massive as the surrounding mountains. Piazza Garibaldi hosts at Saterday a market. When we were there the few market stalls sold odds and ends such as ceramic plates, old brass pots and pans, antique coffee mills, candlesticks and irons.
n Civitella del Tronto (1hour 30 min driving)
An extraordinary vast fortress and the biggest in Italy and second biggest in Europe.
o Majella Mountains (about 1 hour 30 min driving to the edge of the national park)
There isn’t a single part of the Majella Mountains that we wouldn’t recommend…this is truly one of nature’s wonders.
p L’Aquilla (1 hour 30 min driving)
The city is located in the center of the homonymous basin closed on one side by the Gran Sasso and by Velino Sirente on the other. This basin is crossed by the river Aterno. In addition to being a city rich in history, art and culture. Due to the 2009 earthquake, the historic center of the city has been severely damaged along with its main monuments. Currently, although largely enclosed, the people from l’Aquilla are very pleasure with everyone who will come to visit their beautiful city.
q Scanno (2 hours driving)
Lake of Scanno is a place absolutely you have to discover and it will amaze you not only for its natural beauty, but also for the magic air that surrounds this magnificent place hidden in the Marsicane mountains.
Many beautiful wines are produced in Abruzzo. For more information about the cantinas and open days, read here.