Classic Italian countryside holidays in the heart of Abruzzo

ABRUZZO

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

 Abruzzo (pronounced [aˈbruttso]) is a region in Italy, its western border lying less than 50 miles due east of Rome. Abruzzo borders the region of Marche to the north, Lazio to the west and south-west, Molise to the south-east, and the Adriatic Sea to the east. Although geographically more of a central than southern region, ISTAT (the Italian statistical authority) considers it part of Southern Italy, a vestige of Abruzzo's historic association with the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

The region is situated at the centre of the Italian peninsula facing the Adriatic, which it follows along 150 km of beaches and rocks. With an area of 10,794 km2 (4,168 sq mi), and bordered on the east by the Adriatic and on the west by the Apennines, it is one of the most mountainous regions in Italy (the Corno Grande in the Gran Sasso massif, at 2,914 m (9,560.37 ft), is the highest summit in the Apennines). The rivers, although numerous, are all seasonal except for the biggest - the Pescara and the Sangro. In the interior are the 500 km2 (190 sq mi) of the Abruzzo National Park, where rare examples of Mediterranean flora and fauna survive (chamois, wolves, bears, golden eagles).The climate is varied - warm and dry on the coast, an alpine climate in the mountainous interior. Major roads and railway lines link the region to the south, west and north of Italy and the rest of Europe.[1]

The best thing we like about Abruzzo is the unspoilt and pristine nature, mountain air, clear blue water of the Adriatic Coast and protected National Parks with lots of places to explore.

 From our guests experience it is best to try and see different places in the area, there are so many things Abruzzo has to offer! Our house is well located for short sightseeing trips and within 30 minutes drive away you can be exploring Roman ruins, Medieval Abbeys, Palaces, caves and waterfalls.

 We tried to put together and offer you some ideas and inspirations for your break. To be honest, we have spent a considerable amount of time there over past few years, and we feel that what we have seen only the tip of the iceberg. There is always feeling "What is there around the corner?" about Abruzzo, and also the sensation of discovery when you find this old medieval village, or a waterfall, or lovely view from the mountain. 

 

Any way, in no particular order our Top Places to see are:

BOMBA

Yes, you heard it right. And it does mean "Bomb" in Italian. And other languages as well.

Bomba is a comune and town in the Province of Chieti in the Abruzzo region of Italy. The first historical quote to the existence of the town is in parchment paper present in the Chieti Archbishop Administration. It dates back to 1115 and refers to taxes to be paid. In 1269 the town was donated by King Charles I of Naples to Ranulfo de Courtenay. In 1500, town inhabitants were about 600. While at the end of the 17th century they were only 300. At the beginning of the 19th century it was home town of Bertrando and Silvio Spaventa who were famous Italian patriots. In the middle of the 20th century a big dam was built over the Sangro River (close to the town) that generated a large artificial lake famous for tourism and for sportive activities. - Wikipedia

Bomba is a lovely village, located just 25 km (18 miles) from the Adriatic sea and the all-important A14 (autostrada Adriatica, running from North to South of Italy). It lies at the heel of the Pallano mountain, famous for ruins of Pre-Roman settlement (Pallano itself is worth a visit, just for sake of views towards Majella mountains and Sangro Valley). Pay a visit to ethnographic museum, 16th century Baron Palace, Church of Santa Maria Del Popolo and the Sanctuary of San Mauro. Call in to the village square in a popular bar (you will need to learn some Italian here, remember "Un Altro" - means another one, after you tried some proper Italian coffee there). Historical center is idyllic with cobble stoned streets, old steps leading to the town walls, pots of geranium on the balconies and old ladies greeting you as you walk by. It is very safe village, where people know each other and often leave their doors unlocked.

Now, if you do not wish to drive the car to get your pint of milk, or loaf of bread, or to pay your fine for parking illegally in the seaside resort of Vasto, you do not need to do that in Bomba. As you walk from our door to the street, turn left and walk along Via Roma and you will find: The present shop, the clothes shop, the greengrocer, pharmacy, flower shop, hairdresser, two corner shops/mini-markets, post office, cash machine, public park, upholstery shop. pizzeria (open in season only). There are a public swimming pool, football pitch and tennis courts all just 5 minutes walk from the center.

              
Bomba's public swimming pool  with Abbey view         Piazza/main square                                  Santa Maria Del Popolo Church



There is a San Mauro village cooperative down the road (will be about 20 minutes walk) where locals take their olives and grapes to be processed into superb Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil (once you try it, you will not forget it) and local wine Trebbiano, Montepulciano and Chardonnay, DOC-wines also local cured ham, cheese, pasta and olive soap - all really reasonably priced and of good quality. Give it a try, people of Bomba are very hard working and are proud of their produce.

    
                                                                                                   San Mauro

Another good place to visit is Centre of Tourism ISOLA VERDE on the shore of the Lake Bomba (Lago di Bomba). There you can find a tourist information office, a good swimming pool, bar, excellent restaurant Airone serving rustic local dishes, pizzas (up to half meter pizzas for bigger appetites!) - smart place which starched tablecloths, excellent service and good prices.  Call into Antonio's bar downstairs, he serves good paninis, coffees,speaks good English and has a wealth of local knowledge. Walk down to the lake and enjoy lovely views, calm and tranquility. On the way back to Bomba you might see the riding school along the road, which is a popular sport in the area. Have a horse- or bike ride on old road along the lake to admire meadows, olive groves and wildlife.
 
    
          Airone                                                                                     Lago                                          Swimming pool at the lake


There are lot of itineraries for cycling (mountain and road), all for different levels of skills, but equally unforgettable. A popular bike race takes start from Isola Verde in summer. Please email us for further info on biking tours.




Other interesting villages all within 20 minutes drive away are Colledimezzo and Monteferrante with a stunning views, Villa Santa Maria, with world famous chef school,  Quadri - village of truffles, Archi with ducal palace, Atessa with charming historic centre.


    

Watch the video about Bomba

LANCIANO

Nearest town to us, situated just 25 minutes drive away. You will find a medieval stone built castle, historic church (popular pilgrimage destination as first recorded Eucharistic miracle happened there, narrow cobblestone streets, good market and shopping. It is well connected with main towns by railway and bus routes.


Lanciano caters for all tastes, all ages and interests. It is a place to explore, admire, walk, go shopping, go to the theater, treat your children for a artisan cake and yourself for a nice meal. There is a tourist office in the Eucharistic Miracle Church and on the square, both very helpful, please call in. On the practical side you will find all necessary amenities in town (post office, train station, supermarkets etc)

If you are lucky to be in Lanciano in September, you will witness popular Lanciano festa, colorful and spectacular and attracting thousands of tourists every year.

 

What to see - Abruzzo mountains

Grotte del Cavallone - caves on top of the mountain

Feel yourself at the top of the world and enjoy a spectacular cable cart ride to the mountain, where you can visit 1km long cave. Especially nice in the summer as you can enjoy cool mountain air and have a lunch in the small restaurant at the top with amazing views across the valley and mountains. You can make a day trip out of it by visiting nearby Museum of Majella National Park.

Website to Cavallone (directions, opening times etc)

Roccascalegna - beautiful castle just 10 minutes away

Romantic medieval castle just 10 minutes drive away from Bomba, the true landmark of the region. Interesting museum telling the fascinating story of the previous owners.

How to get there, opening times

Fara San Martino - the gorge walk and biggest pasta factory in Abruzzo

An ancient village, the heart of Italy's pasta production. You can buy De Cecco pasta pretty much anywhere in the world, it is said that the quality of the pasta depends a lot from the water from the mountain springs used in the production. We invite you to visit the factory itself, Nature reserve where you can see the crystal blue water of the river and 15 km walk through the impressive gorge of San Martin.

 

Gessopalena - open air museum

The medieval old town, currently lively village with impressive open air museum telling fascinating story of the past life in Abruzzo. Is strongly recommended for people interested in history and architecture.

      

Monte Pallano - mountain Pallano, prehistoric walls

Bomba is situated at the heel of this mountain, mountain is famous of ruins of pre-historic walls and the views of the whole area. Easy to reach, enjoy the countryside at its best. Watch out for tractors carrying grapes and olives from the mountain slope farms!

Around Bomba Lake


Artificial basin created in 1960's lago di Bomba is a popular tourist destination now. The place of annual canoe competitions, water sports, fishing, cycling (nice and easy ride around the lake), best rock climbing place in Abruzzo, charming hillside towns, Italy's oldest (and arguably the best) chef's college, horse riding and many authentic family run restaurants. You will need a good day to explore the area around Bomba! 

Highest waterfall in Italy - Cascate del Verde

Twenty minutes drive away, nature reserve with impressive waterfalls and lovely easy walks.

Nature reserve's official website

If you feel more adventurous, we suggest you can explore many other places in the mountains, towns of Castel di Sangro, Pescocostanzo, Sulmona, L'Aquila, Casoli with its big Friday's market and the castle, ski resorts of Roccaraso, Passolanciano etc.

What to see - Adriatic Coast


Vasto

                                                   

A really old town (1300BC), just 30 min drive away South from Bomba, important port and center of Hellenic culture in the area. Plenty of museums, important palazzos and ancient ruins to explore. To add to that, the best beach in Abruzzo with proper seaside resort feeling, lively in August. Lots of independent shops, restaurants serving legendary signature seafood dish - Brodetto Vastese and a good theater.

Article about this lovely town from the Guardian (UK)

Our another favorite Vasto attraction is Aqualand, especially appealing to teens, who might otherwise be not that much into culture and sightseeing, like our children....just joking...

The Tickets are e20 full ticket (over 140 cm tall and under 65), otherwise e16 (summer2010)



Punta Aderci - Nature reserve, bird watching

                                                     


Nature reserve with stunning views across "Costa dei Trabocchi" - the local name for the South Abruzzo coast. Nice gentle walks along the coast, ideal for bird watching and good for snorkelling. Lose yourself in nature in this unspoilt and pristine spot!

Le Morge - nearest sandy beach

Our nearest sandy beach, shallow and clean, popular with children.

Trabocco the fishing jetty, unique to Abruzzo!

                                

Only in Abruzzo! The trabocco is a unique fishing house typical of this coastal area of Abruzzo - you can find it only here and nowhere else.

Fishermen in the past used to fish from those houses, usually built on stilts and located some meters from the shore, and you can reach them via a makeshift board-walk. The fishing lines come straight out of this house and are made of iron - so it's a bit like a fishing machine.

You can find a fine example in Fossacesia marina about 20 minutes drive from Bomba along the coast, not far from the old station.

Fossacesia - old town and marina, nearest resort plus Abbey

  

Charming town and Marina with long, clean, pebble beach that has been awarded a Blue Flag status for many years running. Traditional Italian resort, quiet out of season with lovely restaurants and cafés, water sport hire, fishermen's boats (try to catch them when they are coming in, e5 for a kilo of freshest mussels or clams can not be bad!). Try fresh slice of pizza from the artisan bakery shop at e1 or Italian gelato at e1.50 and you will not want to leave the place. When coming out of Fossacesia do not miss old abbey San Giovanni in Venere, originally pagan temple dedicated to Venus, dating back to 1165. The architecture combine elements of Romanesque and Gothic, the abbey is open to public and has a lovely walled garden and beautiful original mosaic flooring. Stunning views towards Punta Aderci and olive groves.

Ortona


Important port, some nice beaches, good old town market. Historic town dating back to Bronze Age, picturesque Aragonese castle is especially worth a visit.

Chieti - capital of province

                                                                             

                                                            Enigmatic Abruzzo warrior in Museum of Abruzzo


The hilltop capital of our province with some remarkable stone churches and interesting archeologic museum of Abruzzo.

Pescara - city on the beach, airport

Modern busy seaside resort, worth a visit for a golden sandy beach, good shopping village outlet in Citta St. Angelo, airport and train station.

                                                 

Our many guests also commented about the good central location of casa Bomba. You only have to drive for 2 hours along picturesque road to reach places like Rome, Naples and Bari. If you fancy bit of diving, the best place is just an hour away by boat - travel down A14 South to Termoli and take the boat trip to historic Isole de Tremiti http://www.isoletremiti.it/



TREMITI ISLANDS - BOAT TRIP AND DIVING

Well, they do not belong to Abruzzo, or Bomba. Unfortunately. However if you are like wildlife, sea and scuba diving, you must go visit these islands. It only takes 1 hour drive to Termoli, where ferry starts from and within another hour you will be standing there pinching yourself, not able to believe the beauty of this place. It is relatively unknown to foreign visitors, but very popular with Italians. We think the only reason being that they want to keep the secret to themselves. We would compare it to Capri in Italy or iles d'Or in France.

Approximately twelve sea miles from the Northern coast of the Gargano, there are three islands and a number of rock formations which make up the archipelago of the Tremiti islands. Departures for the island leave from Rodi, Peschici, Vieste, Manfredonia and Termoli.

The Tremiti islands are now a protected marine reserve, and with their unique environment, in the middle of the blue waters of the Adriatic sea, are the habitat of a wealth of sea life.

They are home to an ancient settlement of fishermen who today still speak in Partenopean dialect. The Tremiti islands are made up of the islands of San Nicola, San Domino, and Capraia, this last is uninhabited and covered in Mediterranean vegetation.

Then there are the rocks, the most important of which the Crepaccio and the Vecchia. The island of San Nicola represents the historic heart of the Tremiti islands, with its Castle and the Church of St Maria del Mare, in which the mosaic of the Black Madonna is housed. On the island of Domino, the largest of the Tremiti islands, there are many caves to visit, including the Grotta del Bue Marino. The timetable and prices can be found on NLG website

 

SAFARI PARK ZOO D'ABRUZZO

A Lovely little zoo in one of the most picturesque ancient villages of Italy, within easy reach from Bomba (30 min by car, between Lanciano and the sea). Open 10 - 19, tickets e12 (adult), e8 (bambini), for more info visit http://www.zooabruzzo.it/
Lions and tigers and bears all in one place, great fun for all the family!


ROME DAY TRIP FROM LANCIANO OR VASTO ON THE BUS DI FONZO FROM 10E A HEAD

Daily service operates from Vasto or Lanciano to Rome. Catch the morning coach and you will be in Rome in approx 3 hours, spend the day in Eternal City and come back on the same day, for more info visit Di Fonzo website


AGNONE - A HISTORIC TOWN WITH A PAPAL BELL FACTORY FOUNDED OVER 1000 YEARS AGO, STILL RUN BY THE SAME FAMILY

If you are getting too hot on the coast, head into mountains towards Agnone! It will take you about 40 minutes, but the scenary is amazing, you will be going through Rosello Nature reserve and some mountainous plateaus with delicate alpine flora. The town is located in the valley "next door" to ours and the town is full of churches, artisan shops and cafes. Visit the famous bell factory with a museum and have a stroll around town.