In a territory still unknown to the majority of holidaymakers, and thus even more fascinating, there is a winding route up the hills, forming a sort of natural terrace with a stunning view of both the Adriatic Sea and the Gran Sasso d’Italia. The starting point is represented by the boundary with the Marche region, while in the final stretch it borders the province of Pescara.
These are the Hills of the province of Teramo, offering very interesting art and historical routes through uncommon itineraries dotted along the way with parish churches, abbeys, Romanesque and baroque churches, archeological museums (the museum of Campli is worth a mention) and necropolis, such as the VII century BC necropolis of Campovalano. There are also small medieval towns and villages still preserving several remarkable monuments as well as Roman cities such as Atri and Teramo (with its precious III and IV century remains of an amphitheatre and a wonderful cathedral standing amid two squares).
In Abruzzo nature is a protected resource. With a third of its territory set aside as parkland, the region not only holds a cultural and civic record for protection of the environment, but also stands as the biggest nature area in Europe: the real green heart of the Mediterranean.
The astonishing array of Abruzzo’s natural habitats (sea, river, lake, woods, mountains, high altitude) mean that the region is now, more than ever, an extraordinary biolaboratory for the preservation of nature and ecosystems.
The magic of Abruzzo derives precisely from the measured equilibrium of a landscape dominated by nature and a stratified human presence, which can be seen in the theory of villages dotted around the countryside, the architectural might of churches, castles and mansions, precious works of art, the countless examples of applied arts and ageless rural traditions.
What better invitation for the keen, observant visitor to explore Abruzzo and seek out the typical features of the splendour that make this such a unique region.
From the oldest testimonies, of which the solemn and hieratic "Warrior of Capistrano" is the most representative icon, to countless art treasures preserved in regional museums, the entire historic and artistic heritage of Abruzzo contributes to shaping a territory with a strong local identity, a very idiosyncratic way of interpreting and outlining the artistic methods and styles, architecture, spirituality, applied arts that in Abruzzo boast truly special traditions and peaks of excellence, including pottery and goldsmithing.
Abruzzo cuisine has many facets simply because of its varied territory and local cultures: there are the traditional dishes of the shepherds, up on the mountains; peasant cuisine, on the hills and in the valleys; the cultured, middle-class enclave of Teramo’s culinary traditions; fish recipes on the coast. A wide variety of wisdom and tastes rooted in the region’s huge patchwork of landscapes and environments.
Prime meat from the mountains, above all mutton, and prized dairy products: Pecorino and goat cheeses that include “Canestrato di Castel del Monte” and “Pecorino di Farindola”, both Slow Food Presidia. The deep-rooted pork butchering tradition produces two types of “ventricina”: the spreadable Teramo version and the Vasto version with its chunkier texture. The hills provide the seasoning and flavours of the earth: first of all, extra virgin olive oil, followed by vegetables, greens, pulses and cereals whose simplicity enhances Abruzzo cuisine in its entirety, alongside the precious Crocus Sativus stigma used for L’Aquila’s PDO saffron. Then there is the wine, with Montepulciano d'Abruzzo in the front line and followed closely by its “white brother” Trebbiano and new niche products: Cerasuolo, well to the fore; rediscovered and a successful new entry - Pecorino. There are plenty of gastrotours available, from those in the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Parco del Gran Sasso-Laga or Majella national parks to those along the hills dotted with hospitable wine and olive oil producers, and agritourism enterprises for sampling and buying not only wine and oil, but also a huge assortment of other good, natural products: honey, preserves, pickles, pulses and cereals.