There’s a secret that even the most passionate travelers keep to themselves. If you’re like most people, you’re probably always looking for that new place, that new discovery, that truly unique offer. While many travelers are often after the new and the local, to truly get a taste of something special—something secret—it’s important to not just wander around lost a familiar city, but to find a new city altogether.
Most tourists who visit Italy hit the familiar places on a grand Italy tour: Rome, Venice, Florence, Naples. And who can blame them? All these cities are amazing and full of culture, unique landscapes, good food and… long queues.
Yes, because one of the problems of going where-everyone-else-is-going can be expressed in a single word: crowded. Visit the Trevi Fountain or Pizza San Marcos during summer and you’ll barely be visible in your own Instagram photo. There are just too many tourists, so much of that special Italian culture gets lost.
We tend to forget that Italian culture, with its breathtaking cuisine, its romantic language and its unique architecture is not confined to a single city, but is available throughout the whole country. Abruzzo, for example, is one of these hidden gems in Italy. And a young couple are trying to put it on the map.
The Eden House is the dream project of Federico and Federica who plan to convert an original Italian home into a beautiful, luxurious guest house. They’re currently running a Kickstarter campaign to help get the guest house underway—with detailed and exhaustive plans to renovate the building into a lovely guest house. Those that wish to donate to their project can provide anywhere between €10 and €1,000 toward rewards such as nights in the hotel, postcards, posters and even homemade local jams and marmalades. The guest house will be located in Abruzzo, in a small medieval borough near Pescara.
And below you’ll find some recommended reasons on why you should put Abruzzo in your travel plans. You can actually book a room in the Eden House through Kickstarter.
Five reasons to Visit Abruzzo
Oh, the Adriatic Sea. The beauty of the Abruzzo region isn’t just the calm, pale blue waters, but it’s also to do with the opportunity of enjoying long strolls in the sand, great food in seaside restaurants and even some sailing. From the Alba Adriatica to Vasto, and especially around the little city of Pescara, you can enjoy open beaches both in the summer and mild winter months. Moreover, one of the great things about beaches is seafood, and even when Italian food is most closely associated to pizza and panini, you’d regret not to try the risotto ai frutti di mare, one of the classics of Italian cuisine.
From Roca Calascio, a fortress in the Apennine mountains to the the Church of San Pietro in Roccascalegna, there are a lot of opportunities to appreciate ancient Italian architecture in the region of Abruzzo. The good thing about visiting this area is that you can stay in Pescara, for example, and discover the Old Town while taking day trips to nearby communities. New projects such as the Eden House are emerging, promising to improve the city and the region making it more accessible for LGBT tourists. The Eden House Project is trying to restore a medieval borough in Spoltore, near Pescara, with the goal in creating a gay-friendly guest house for international tourists. It is strategically located in Italy, just 10 minutes from the sea, 30 minutes from the mountains and only 15 minutes from the international airport of Pescara.
Solitude in Nature
Many of the enchantments of the Abruzzo region are related to the scenic natural landscape, visible within the small cities and in the countryside during road trips or day trips. You can rent a bike and have your own self-guided tour through the valleys and mountains, or you can visit the National Park Gran Sasso e Monte della Laga, with the Apennine’s highest peak the Corno Grande. If you prefer to explore the Adriatic Sea, there are small tour companies that take you around. If you are into trekking or camping, then Abruzzo is worth discovering. Spoltore is a wonderful place in Abruzzo where you’ll find a medieval clock tower, an historical church, a medieval convent and 360° panoramas of the sea and mountains!
Art and Culture
As I mentioned early, Italian culture is visible throughout all of Italy, but there is something about small villages and towns that makes it feel less commercial and more unique. Spend time to explore the city life of Pescara or Spoltore, visit some of the museums like the Museo d’Arte Moderna Vittoria Colonna with its interactive halls and temporary exhibitions, the Paparella Treccia Devlet Museum with its collections of artifacts and objects; or explore the archeological sites in the region. Local markets, galleries and bar and restaurants also offer a glimpse of contemporary Italian art, from music, to painting and crafts. Choose to stay in a local guest house in one of the small medieval towns of Abruzzo and you’ll get to live as if in the past, but with all the modern amenities.
Heaven in your Mouth
Like so much of Italy, one of the best reasons for visiting Abruzzo is the food. Italian food in can either be great or terribly bad. Forget the overpriced panini of Rome and opt instead for a more local discovery of all the delicious breads and cheeses, olives, wines and Italian dishes that the Abruzzo region offers. Moreover, you have to take into account that the cuisine of Abruzzo is different because the region has been influenced by the pastoral lifestyle and by the proximity of the coastal zones. This means that the food is both traditional and modern—a true Italian fusion. The region of Abruzzo frequently holds food festivals.