Abruzzo and Molise

Castel del monte . Abruzzo - Italy

Explore the Cities and Towns of Abruzzo and Molise


The regions of Abruzzo and Molise are largely unknown and perhaps the least visited by those traveling to Italy and yet for this very reason perhaps they are 2 of the regions that leave the most to be disovered by visitors to these areas.  We group these 2 regions together not only because of their proximity but also because of their small size and similiarities and so while they differ in name, chances are if you visit one, you will by the very necessity of geography itself have to visit both.  

Each of these regions offers wonderfully diverse landscapes; lush mountains & vineyards, immense National Parks, long beaches, alpine lakes, quaint picturesque villages and fascintating artistic cities. Located in central Italy this region stretches from the heart of the Apennines to the Adriatic Sea and is only 50 miles/80km from Rome.

Visiting here on your own can be wonderful, but keep in mind the roads and the language.  We can assist you here with all of your needs, family heritage questions and much else.  There are many factors to consider when driving including the roads, tolls which often don't work and hotel closures.  Planning a trip here certainly takes a little bit of time and also know-how.  

The Abruzzi, as Abruzzo and Molise were known until 1963, is where one can experience some of Italy's wildest countryside or relax on a secluded sandy beach. Abruzzo's mountainous region is sparsely populated and is best explored using the ancient sheep-driving routes, or "tratturi". A trip to the  villages of Pescasseroli, Sulmona, Roccoraso, or Campitello Matese is fascinating and should include a dish of the local lamb. Or opt to explore historic cultural centers like Pescara, Aquila, and Chieti, amazingly, only a few kilometers away from this rugged enviornment. As one drops down from the mountains you discover several picturesque relaxing seafront towns like Termoli, Ortona, and Roseto degli Abruzzi.

Eventhough Abruzzo is only 50 miles/80km from Rome you will find an Italy completely out of sync with the sophisticated northern regions. As with the Southern Italian provinces (Calabria, Puglia, Basilicata and Campania) this is an "Old Italy" that is slowly moving into the modern era at its own pace.  There are wolves, bears and cougars at large in the mountains; shepherds mind their flocks as tended during times forgotten; castles and monasteries stand on precipices as if guarding or protecting mountain passes and vast tracks of empty land.  It is charming, curious, interesting and compelling all at once.

You will find the highest peaks of the Appenines in central and western Abruzzo. The Gran Sasso, the Appenine's highest mountain reaches 9560 feet, while Monte Maiella and Monte Velino-Sirente are almost as high.  Throughout this mountainous regions one finds rugged canyons, forests, rivers and lakes.  All the land that can be farmed is farmed, particularly in the eastern foothills of the Appenines where the land tapers off into the long and sandy beaches of the Adriatic coast.

The earliest Italic tribe known to occupy Abruzzo were the  Picenians.  Starting in the 3rd century BC, due to its proximity to Lazio Roma - or Latium - the region came under increasing domination by the Roman Empire, who established firm control by about 90 BC.  The With the decline of the empire, some 600 or so years later, the area broke into a number of often warring feudal fiefdoms.  A measure of control, and unity, was restored when most of the territory came under the control of the Longobard's Duchy of Spoleto during the 6th Century AD.

In the 12th Century, the area was conquered by the Normans.  It was later conquered and merged into the Kingdom of Sicily under the rule of Frederick II.  The Kingdom of Sicily may have changed hands throughout the succeeding centuries, but Abruzzo remained more or less within it (Napoleon asserted control from 1799 until he was routed) until Italian unification in 1861.
Given the political history and geography of Abruzzo, it should come as no surprise that the traveler will encounter ruins and extant architecture that dates back to its earliest tribal days through the Romanesque, Gothic and, to a limited extent, Renaissance periods.  The principal cities have churches, museums and other public buildings which house important collections of art and artifacts.

Economically, the area continues to struggle, but there is economic and industrial development, particularly around Pescara, and from Chieti to the Adriatic. There is some large an medium sized farming on the eastern side of the region, mostly of wheat, grapes, olives, and potatoes.  Licorice, saffron and tobacco are also produced.

Many of the rivers have been harnessed to produce hydro electric power that is fed into the main grids serving all of Italy.  Bauxite is mined in some locales; methane gas is trapped and distributed on a commercial basis.






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