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Places of Heart

They are our favorite places that we recommend to discover in Abruzzo.


Pacentro (690 mts above sea level) is a small and well preserved medieval village in the Peligna Valley. The most ancient part of the town is dominated by the towers of Castle Caldora -Cantelmo.
There are many important monuments such as the churches Santa Maria Maggiore, San Marcello Papa (Pope) and Immacolata. There are also many pretty narrow streets along the centre which resemble embroidery works.
Pacentro is also the birthplace of the American singer Madonna’s family.
The handicrafts is a centuries-old tradition in Pacentro such as the white stones of Majella, the small terracotta statues for the nativity scenes, crochet works and female traditional costumes.


Penne is famous for its convents and monasteries and it was beloved by the Farnese duchy. It was the capital city of the Vestini people with the ancient name of “Pinna Virens”, it had a magnificence period during the Roman Empire. Penne lies on a panoramic hill (438 mts above sea level) over the Tavo valley.
Its noble history is well illustrated by the beautiful monuments and elegant palaces in the centre town from the 18th Century. The places to visit are the main access to the town, called door San Francesco,the ancient Cathedral of Santa Maria degli Angeli and San Massimo Martire, the church and former convent (now town hall) of San Domenico, the church of San Giovanni Evengelista, the church and convent of Santa Maria in Colleromano and the palace Del Bono. The main museums are Museo Civico – Diocesano di Arte Sacra and the Archeological Museum.
Penne is also home of the famous dressmakers Brioni, some of the most powerful and successful men of the world wear their high fashion suits.
Just a few kilometers away you can reach the natural reserve named Lake of Penne with an interesting Naturalistic Museum.


Guardiagrele (9,500 inhabitants), also called the stone city, lays on a hill (576 mts above sea level) overlooking the wonderful panorama of the National Park of Majella (Guardiagrele is the registered office of the Park).
The city has Roman origins, it was probably fortified by Bellisario and had its own coins during the medieval age. The ancient fortifications (with towers and walls) are still well visible: the tower Orsini, the Tower Adriana and the nearby Door San Giovanni. The cathedral of Santa Maria Maggiore is made of Majella stone, the bell tower is from the end of the 14th Century, a side porch with a 15th century fresco of San Cristoforo and a loggia on the left side with a fresco of the Madonna del Latte. The interior is Baroque and was rebuilt after the earthquake of 1706.
Other monuments of major interests are the churches of San Francesco, San Nicola, Santa Chiara.
The city of Guardiagrele is famous for the copper and wrought-iron crafts and for a peculiar cream cake called in dialect “Le Sise delle Monache”, a big and soft cream puff with 3 points which you can taste in the historic small shop along the main street of the city.

Trabocchi Coast

The so-called Costa dei Trabocchi is a stretch of coast of about 130 kms from Ortona, right beside Francavilla, to Vasto.
The coastline is mostly rocky with reefs, cliffs, pebbles and bays while the Trabocchi are directly into the sea.
The Trabocchi are old wooden fishing huts that sits over the water. They resemble stilt-houses and are made of planks and poles anchored to the rocks by large logs. They are connected to the land by a simple wooden peer which leads to a platform jutting out into the sea, from where some long arms called antenna stretch out suspended some feet above the water and supporting a huge, narrow-meshed, net. The Trabocchi have a light and yet strong structure that can resist the weight of the heavy net and any weather conditions including storms. They are usually made of elms, spruce pines and acacia. The fishing technique is quite fascinating: the wide net is lowered into the water through a winch fixed at the centre of the platform and is often lifted above the sea level. The fish are caught in (mostly grey mullets, sea buss, needle-fish) and kept suspended just above the sea waters, inside the narrow – meshed net, for a while before the catch of the day is scooped up with a “volega”.

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Scanno is a little jewel in the National Park of Abruzzo at 1050 mts above sea level above the Sagittario valley. It is famous for its famous lake and for the superb goldsmith, laces and female traditional costumes which goes back to the 17th – 19th Century. In the same period it took place the development of the wool industry and dyeing plant. Even nowadays it is common to meet the old ladies wearing the traditional costumes in their every-day life.
The historical centre of the village is worth a visit. Its twisted narrow streets, the beautiful palaces made of stones and the typical portals are just a treat for the eyes. The spots of interest are the two Baroque fountains, the court inside the Palace Tanturri de Horatio. There is plenty of churches to visit such as Santa Maria della Valle church and Sant’Eustachio church (both 12th century), the church Delle Grazie (16th century) and the small Madonna of the Lake church on the opposite lake bank (17th century).


The plain of Voltigno is a gorgeous highland of calcareous origins on the east side of the Gran Sasso, in Abruzzo region, at 1,400 mts above sea level. It spreads between the provinces of L’Aquila and Pescara. The valley is part of the town Carpineto della Nora and of the National Park of Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga. Since 1989 the plain of Voltigno has become the regional Reserve “Voltigno e Valle d’Angri”, together with the Valley of Angri. There is a stunning view over the landscapes all over the highland. The flora and fauna are typical of the Abruzzo Appenines. There are beech woods, fir trees /spruce pine, birch, poplar, yew (taxus baccata), maples. There are many species of flowers such as gentian, primrose, anemone, orchid, lily, peony or deadly nightshades. There are many species of fauna. It hosts bears, wolves, hares, deers, foxes and chamois. Excursions in the Plain of Voltigno are recommended in summer and winter either. During the winter it is possible to make cross-country skiing or walking on snowshoes. In the summer it is possible to make wonderful excursions or visit the valley by mountain bike. There are many points of access to the Plain of Voltigno. One of the most common is from the Pescara province side, in Carpineto della Nora. From this village you can reach the foot of the highland through hours long walk. The access from the Abbey of San Bartolomeo of Carpineto is definitely more comfortable, just need to follow the directions to Voltigno.
Another access to the Plain of Voltigno by the Pescara side is from Villa Celiera.

Orfento Valley

The Orfento Valley is named after the River Orfento. The beautiful valley goes from the main peaks
of the Majella massif to the town of Caramanico Terme; the water has carved narrow canyons over millions of years and has created lush woods covered with willows, ferns and musks.
Deers and roe deers were reintroduced in 1980, since then they have reproduced and settled down on the western side of the Park.
The valley has nowadays many paths with various accesses from both sides of the Majella massif; from the town of Caramanico Terme there are two paths leading to Ponte del Vallone and to Scalelle, from the entrance of the town the access is from the bridge to the national road (strada statale).

Santo Stefano di Sessanio

Santo Stefano di Sessanio (1251 mts above sea level) is an ancient fortified village of about 120 inhabitants inside the National Park of Gran Sasso-Monti della Laga. Its medieval historical centre is of striking beauty, entirely made of white limestone. It has a majestic round tower “medicea” named after the coat of arms of the famous Florentine Medici family who ruled the village in the 16th century (after the Piccolomini family).
There are two churches to visit outside the centre of the village: Santo Stefano Cemetery Church and the tiny Madonna del Lago Church (17th century) on the bank of the small lake outside the village walls.
Nearby the village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio is Calascio village and the stunning Castle of Roccacalascio (1512 mts above sea level), one of the highest castles in Europe.
Santo Stefano di Sessanio is famous for its lentils, renowned by the best chefs for their rare and ancient quality.


Sulmona is a Medieval city with Roman origins, in the middle of the Abruzzo region between the Majella mountain and Morrone mountain.
Its strategic position on the two main commercial routes has granted richness and growth over the millenniums.
Sulmona is famous for the production of sugared almonds, as the birthplace of the poet Ovidio, the place that Celestino V (the Pope who renounced to the papacy) chose to retire in the 13th Century and for production of the famous Red Garlic of Sulmona.
The city of Sulmona is rich in events throughout the year, the most famous are the Medieval joust during the summer and the Good Friday Procession and the Running Madonna during Easter time.