The Abruzzo region of central Italy is very scenic. National or regional parks cover much of the area inland. Therefore, mountains and hills, medieval castles and villages, monasteries, and Roman ruins cover the inland area. Abruzzo’s eastern border is on Italy’s eastern coast along the Adriatic Sea.
Because it was once divided into three regions, it’s sometimes called the Abruzzi (plural) . Since most of Abruzzo is fairly remote, a rental car is recommended. L’Aquila, Sulmona, and coast towns are on major rail lines, though. Buses serve many towns but schedules may not be convenient for tourists.
* Abruzzo National Park is a large protected area with great hiking and biking trails, visitor centers, and skiing in winter. Gran Sasso, in the park, is the highest peak on the Appenine Mountains. Pescasseroli, the heart of the national park, is a good place to start your visit. One of the prettiest towns in the park is Santo Stefano di Sessanio. Further up the mountain is the stunning Rocca di Calascio, an abandoned medieval village and fortress. Castelli, famous for its ceramics and has a ceramics museum, is a good starting point for climbing the eastern slope of the Gran Sasso. Read more: Visiting Villages in Abruzzo
* Sulmona, the prettiest city in Abruzzo, sits on a plateau below the mountains. Sulmona’s historic center reflects its medieval and Renaissance past. Its unusual main square has remains of a medieval aqueduct above it. The town is famous as the birthplace of Roman poet Ovid and confetti candy. Sulmona is a good place to discover the cuisine and traditions of Abruzzo and it makes a good base for exploring villages of central Abruzzo.
* Roman Sites: Teramo is an interesting town with a Roman theater still used for events. Alba Fucens has remains of a Roman settlement with a beautiful mountain backdrop. Chieti is a pretty medieval town between the coast and the mountains. In Chieti are Roman and medieval remains and good archaeology and art museums.
* A waterfall and small lake inside a cave make Grotte di Stiffe caverns unique.
* Pescara, on the Adriatic coast, is the region’s largest city. It has a seaside promenade and 20 kilometers of sandy beach.
Because much of the Abruzzo’s inland region is mountainous, winter is cold and snowy. Summer is a popular time to visit the national parks and the seaside. Spring is pretty with lots of flowers in bloom.
Because much of the region is fairly remote and not easily accessed by public transportation, booking a rental car is really the best way to travel in Abruzzo.
Abruzzo Airport is near Pescara but the closest major airport is Rome. L’Aquila and Sulmona can be reached by train from Rome or the east coast. Some towns can be reached by bus.
Although buses serve many of the inland villages, a rental car is really the best way to explore the region. Trains run along the coast and between major cities.