Just a few hundred kilometers East of Rome, in the center of the Italian peninsula, immersed between sea and mountains lies the region of Abruzzo.
Geographically, it is divided up into three areas: the Apennines mountain range to the West, the piedmont in the middle and the coast to the East.
The wonderful thing about the Abruzzo landscape is the privilege of being able to have a mountain view from the beach and vice-versa.
Abruzzo is known as "the greenest region in Europe" as one third of its territory, the largest in Europe, is set aside as national parks and protected nature reserves: there are three national parks, one regional park, and 38 protected nature reserves. Abruzzo is also home to the "Calderone", Europe's southernmost glacier.
The Local Culture:
Visiting nineteenth-century Italian diplomat and journalist Primo Levi said that "forte e gentile", meaning strong and gentle, best describes the beauty of the region and the character of its people. "Forte e gentile" has since become the motto of the region and its inhabitants.
Visitors will soon notice the wonderful innate hospitality and generosity of the Abruzzese people.
The Culinary Heritage:
Genuine food and excellent wine is a solid foundation of the Abruzzo cuisine culture. The Abruzzese cuisine reflects its territory and varies significantly from the coast to the inland areas; as a matter of fact, the extraordinary goodness of the food is due to the use of locally grown and harvested ingredients: from olives to saffron, from fish and seafood to meats, from grapes to liquorice.
Abruzzo also has a long tradition and history of preparing fresh pasta. For over 200 years grandmothers have been making homemade Spaghetti alla chitarra (guitar) for Sundays family lunches. The noodles are named after a guitar-shaped tool that’s used to shape them. Their shape and texture allows for the sauce to perfectly coat the noodle.
Biggest pride for locals are the so called "Arrosticini", the most well known food that is unique to Abruzzo and in Italy. They are sheep meat skewers, seasoned with salt and cooked using the "Fornacella", a custom built charcoal grill.
The Abruzzo region has also become, for all intents and purposes, a wine region in which the quality of wine production is widely achieved not only by large producers, but also by small local businesses.