Traveling Green in Abruzzo

Castle on mountaintop (flickr: Stefano Maule)
Castle on mountaintop (flickr: Stefano Maule)
Mountains in the Abruzzo region (flickr: Stefano Maule)

Gorgeous mountains in Italy’s region of Abruzzo. Photo by Stefano Maule

We’re passionate about sustainable travel in Italy… and what better place to travel green than in Abruzzo, Italy’s “greenest” region?

Filled with miles of unspoiled parks and countryside, the region of Abruzzo offers tons of green travel options. And, of course, green travel isn’t just about reducing the carbon footprint while on vacation—it’s also about supporting local businesses, and really getting to know the land and the people who live there. Since Abruzzo tends to be off the beaten path for most travelers, there are even more authentic ways to do that here than elsewhere in Italy!

What to see in the region of Abruzzo

Gorgeous region of Abruzzo

Castle on mountain top. Photo by Stefano Maule

Abruzzo mountains

The gorgeous region of Abruzzo. Photo by Stefano Maule

If you like the outdoors and off-the-beaten-path travel, you’ll love Abruzzo! You won’t find a grand tour of famous sites in this region… but you will get a genuine feeling of what daily Italian life is like, plus get to experience rolling hills, spectacular mountains, and stunning beaches.

Abruzzo is especially famous for its parks, which cover about a third of the region. Head to Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise, Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso e dei Monti della Laga, Parco Nazionale della Majella and Parco Naturale Regionale Sirente-Velino to get in touch with the “green heart of Italy.”

These parks aren’t just green; they also boast some of Europe’s tallest mountains. The Apennines are perfect for skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer, and so high that you can see both the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas from their peaks.

Looking for something more relaxing? Try one Abruzzo’s many beaches along the crystal-clear Adriatic Sea.

Beach in Ortona (flickr: Vito Manzari)

Beach in Ortona (flickr: Vito Manzari)

Where to stay in Abruzzo

Immerse yourself in nature and enjoy sustainable accommodation in any one of Abruzzo’s four provinces (L’Aquila, Teramo, Chieti, and Pescara). Green lodging options include renting an apartment or staying at a local bed-and-breakfast or agriturismo (farms that rent out rooms to guests).

Interested in getting your hands dirty? Include organic farming in your vacation by using websites like WOOF and GrowFood, which can organize opportunities for working on farms and living with local families for extended periods of time.

What to eat in Abruzzo

Pecorino cheese, an Abruzzo specialty

Pecorino cheese, popular in Abruzzo. Photo by senza senso (Flickr)

Abruzzo’s rich mix of mountains and sea makes for very fertile farmland—which means deliciously fresh produce! Abruzzo’s traditional dishes tend to serve up seasonal products, so you may not find the same dishes in the winter as you do in the summer (which is much better for the environment!).

Specialties in Abruzzo include arrosticini (roasted lamb skewers), handmade maccheroni alla chitarra (a pasta similar to spaghetti and resembling guitar strings) and pecorino (hard cheese made from sheep’s milk). These dishes tasted even better when paired with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo red wine!

How else to promote sustainable travel in Abruzzo

Piana di Campo Imperatore  in Abruzzo

Shepherd in Piana di Campo Imperatore. Photo by Alessandro Giangiulio

Staying at organic farms and hiking in the mountains are “green” ways to travel in Abruzzo.

But there are other sustainable ways to travel in Abruzzo and help the region, too. In 2009, Abruzzo’s capital of L’Aquila was devastated by an earthquake. It’s slowly rebuilding, but one way to help is to promote the region’s local businesses. It’s easier than you may think! Eating fresh, local food, buying artisanal goods, and staying at family-owned establishments not only boost local business, but give you a real feel for the region.

Of course, we also recommend traveling as little as possible by car. Instead, get lost on foot. Not only is it good for you, but it allows you to see the many hidden treasures that the region has to offer!

 

2 Comments

  • Chloé says:

    Hi! Your blog is so thoughtful and informative. I stumbled on it this morning and I’ve just lost a few hours of my day here.

    I have never been to Italy and now I’m moving to Pescara for work! I’m in the process of trying to figure out where to live and what kind of day trips I can take on the weekends in order to fully capitalize on my visit.

    Do you have any tips on great towns nearby where I might want to live instead of Pescara? Fermo? Ascoli Piceno? I’ll have a car and wouldn’t mind driving in to work if it meant living somewhere interesting/authentic with fresh produce and rich culture!

    It also looks like I can explore lots of Le Marche fairly easily. I would love to know your expert thoughts. Thanks!

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Ciao Chloé! Thank you so much for your kind words. Pescara is a great place to live – the city is on the smaller side, but there are lots of great piazzas and views of the sea, as well as great local food an culture. You may want to stay in the city center instead of commuting, then venturing out on the weekends to nearby towns. Le Marche is quite close to Pescara and we would definitely suggest visiting the beautiful towns and beaches of the area, especially Parco Regionale del Conero. Let us know if you have any other questions!

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