Abruzzo Italy-10 Fun Facts - Digging Up Roots in the Boot

Abruzzo Italy-10 Fun Facts

Ciao tutti! Welcome to The Best of Italy, a video series on Digging up Roots on the Boot’s YouTube Channel. Alessia is going to share 10 fun facts about Abruzzo Italy.  It is an Italian Region in central Italy. Watch the video and continue reading below. Also, be sure and subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss out on new video posts.

1 Abruzzo is the Greenest Region in Italy

Abruzzo is the greenest region in Europe.  More than half of the region is national parks and protected nature reserves.  Many rare European species live in the 3 national parks, 1 regional park, and 38 nature reserves. Abruzzo is home to the Golden Eagle, Chamois, Apennine Wolf, and the endangered Marsican Brown Bear

2 Spaghetti alla Chitarra

One of Abruzzo’s most popular dishes is Spaghetti alla chitarra. It gets the name from the tool called a chitarra, which means guitar in English.  It is a rectangular frame with evenly space wires that look like guitar strings and was invented in the late 1800s in the province of Chieti. 

The pasta is made by pressing the dough through the chitarra with a rolling pin so the strings of the chitarra cut the pasta into long strips.  It is traditionally served with tomato sauce and veal meatballs called pallottelle.  I recommend that you buy a chitarra if you visit Abruzzo Italy!

3 Civitella del Tronto

Civitella del Tronto is a town in the province of Teramo in Abruzzo. It is home to The fortress of Civitella. Not only is it Italy’s largest fortress, but it is also the most visited monument in Abruzzo.  It is known as the last walled city of the Kingdom of two Sicilies.  It was surrendered only three days after the unification of Italy in 1861.

4 Avezzano, Abruzzo, Italy

The city of Avezzano in the province of L’Aquila was almost completely destroyed by the 1915 earthquake.  So, there aren’t any historical monuments in the city itself as it was rebuilt after the 1944 Allied bombing.  

One of the main historical sights, south of the city, is an archaeological park called the tunnels of Claudius.  They were built by emperor Claudius between 42 and 51 BC.  25 thousand slaves were used to dig 32 wells and six tunnels to create an underground drainage system to empty central Italy’s largest lake.   

Lake Fucino was almost completely drained when the fall of the Roman Empire stopped progress.  As a result, the tunnels became obstructed and Lake Fucino returned to its original water levels.  

Centuries later prince Alessandro Torlonia finished the project turning Lake Fucino into a fertile plain.

5 The Warrior and Lady of Capestrano

In 1934, a man was plowing a field in the town of Capestrano in the province of Chieti when he accidentally discovered two limestone statues.  

The Warrior of Capestrano stands over 2 meters tall and dates back to the 6th century.  The Lady of Capestrano is a torso dressed in civilian clothes.  They are both on display in the Abruzzo national Archeological museum in Chieti.  It was later discovered that the vineyard where the statues were found lies on-top of an Iron Age cemetery.

6 Roccaraso Ski Resort

One of Abruzzo’s best-kept secrets is Roccaraso.  It is the biggest ski area in the region.  The ski season runs from December until April.  There are 65 runs, 11 of which are black-diamond runs.  There are 27 modern ski lifts, about 75 miles of ski slopes.  They all have amazing views of the Gran Sasso.  Roccaraso is less crowded and less expensive than skiing the Alps.  Roccaraso is a great option for skiing if you are in Abruzzo Italy during the winter months.

7 Festa dei Serpari in Cocullo

The town of Cocullo is most well known for its patron saint holiday, Festa dei Serpari. It's centered around Saint Domenico who is the protector of toothaches, reptile bites, and rabies.  

When the snow begins to melt, experts called serpari, search for and capture non-venomous snakes outside of town limits.  The snakes are kept in wooden boxes and fed mice and hard-boiled eggs for the 15-20 days leading up to the festival.

On the first Thursday of May, the procession transports the statue of Saint Domenico covered with snakes.  Two girls in traditional costumes walk on either side of the snake covered statue carrying baskets with bread on their head in memory of a miracle Saint Domenico is responsible for.

At the end of the festival, the snakes are returned to their natural habitat by the serpari.  This is one of the most interesting festivals and a must-see if you are in Abruzzo Italy in May. 

8  The Trabocchi Coast

The Trabocchi Coast is a stretch along the Adriatic coast from Ortona to San Salvo in the province of Chieti.  There are eight seaside towns along the Trabocchi Coast and each has its own characteristics and traditions.  The seascape ranges from sandy beaches to pebble beaches to rocky cliffs.  

What makes it so special are the Trabucchi which date back to the 18th century.  A Trabucco is a traditional wooden fishing structure built on a platform that juts out into the rocky sea.  Its net is lowered into the sea and quickly lifted to catch fish as they swim along with the current.  

Trabucchi define the coastal landscape of the lower Adriatic and are cultural and architectural symbols of Abruzzo Italy. 

9 The Stiffe Caverns

The Stiffe Caverns in the province of Abruzzo are spectacular.  They are located in the Sirente-Velino Regional Park in the province of L'Aquila.  As you walk along the underground river, you experience waterfalls and extraordinary stalactite and stalagmite formations.  The best time of year to visit is in the spring to see the waterfall at its best.

10 Santo Stefano di Sessanio

Santo Stefano di Sessanio is named one of Italy’s prettiest villages.  The tiny medieval village was almost abandoned.  There were only about 20 residents until recent years.  Today there are about 115 inhabitants.  Recently a hotel opened and now it is a hot weekend getaway for Romans.  Also, it is becoming a popular destination for foreign tourists. 

Do you know any other fun facts about Abruzzo Italy? Let’s talk it out in the comment section below. Thanks for reading and watching the best of Italy. A presto!

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