March 12, 2013, Abruzzo, Italia, News, Notes, Teramo, Tourist Attractions & Destinations, Travel & Tourism

Abruzzo national parks: Castles and pastures

Abruzzo national parks are among the largest protected areas in Europe. Natural beauty interspersed with ancient castles, convents, villages and pastures. 

The Abruzzo national parksGran Sasso and Monti della Laga offer a perfect setting for outdoor activities such as skiing, biking, hiking and canoeing. But there is also a rich tradition with castles, convents, villages and pastures to explore

While high mountains dominate the Gran Sasso, the eastern part is characterized by smooth undulating hills and valleys. It’s a friendly welcoming landscape, not densely populated but with enough dotted villages to break the monotony. Many of these tiny towns deserve exploration for their regional products, the sweeping views and the challenge of getting there. Their hilltop location and names reveal a military strategic origin as as part of a medieval defense line, and among the extremely narrow alleys and old brick houses immense castles and fortresses can be seen.

One of these towns is Civitella del Tronto with a population of about 5 000 people. Even though ‘civitella’ is the diminutive of ‘civita’ meaning ‘city’ the fortress dating back to 1255 is the largest of its kind in Italy with a total surface of 25,000 square meters and ambient living quarters. A few centuries ago the fortress must have been virtually impenetrable. The walkway leading up to the summit only allowed one person to go through at a time. Futhermore enemies had to cross a moat with a guarded drawbridge. According to legend foreign soldiers once tried to rock climbing in order to stage a surprise attack, but they discovered and stopped by falling millstones. No wonder the people of Civitella have been honoured for their ability to hold up resistance against invading armies.

Civitella del Tronto is surrounded by vertical cliffs, deep gorges and mystic abbeys and convents. And in the plains below sheep graze from spring to fall when the Italian equivalent of American cowboys drive their herds south to the milder Puglian climate as part of the bi-annual ‘tranzumanza’.

Abruzzo national parks

Other things to explore near Monti della Laga

The public squares of Ascoli Piceno

Abruzzo in the springtime: Teramo’s 99 times in pink

Canada in WW2 – The Battle of Ortona

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March 12, 2013 7:02 pm


I saw a transumanza in Le Marche one early morning a couple of years ago. Sadly didn’t have time to follow along to the top of the mountain.

March 13 2013 09:09 am


Maybe you should go back on shepherding holiday. I've heard it's the new black in package tours:)

March 12, 2013 9:16 pm


I can’t imagine trying to penetrate these places. Looks like an idyllic area to explore.

March 13 2013 09:10 am


Idyllic sounds like the right word. It's peaceful, picturesque and there's lots of great food to make you happy.

March 12, 2013 9:34 pm


Sounds like my kind of place. Would love to visit this place someday :)

March 13 2013 09:11 am


Sure you'll make it.

March 13, 2013 11:00 am

Natasha von Geldern

Sounds wonderful, I bet there’s good hiking and rock climbing there (as well as the history, the architecture, the food etc etc).

March 15 2013 09:29 am


That's right. Abruzzo it really wonderful - in an understated rural kind of way.

March 13, 2013 9:50 pm


Great tips, I want to discover Abruzzo now. I love climbing so it might be a great place to go!

March 15 2013 09:30 am


I haven't checked out the climbing in Abruzzo. I leave that to my son.

March 14, 2013 5:14 am

Mary {The World Is A Book}

The fortress sounds like a very interesting place. I love National parks and this looks like a great place with a lot to offer. I’m especially intrigued by the mystic abbeys and convents. Our US parks don’t have that kind of history on our parks.

March 15 2013 09:32 am


That's the remarkable thing about Italy, I think. Every square metre of the country oozes history.

March 16, 2013 3:21 am

Cathy Sweeney

I think these European towns that were once fortresses are so fascinating. Would love to visit Civitella del Tronto — must be beautiful in the setting of a national park, too.

March 17 2013 11:56 am


I agree. And in Italy fortified towns and villages are all over the place.

March 16, 2013 1:50 pm

Donna Hull

I’ll be visiting Abruzzo this fall. After reading your article, I can’t wait!

March 17 2013 11:57 am


Glad to raise your expectations. Abruzzo cannot disappoint.

March 16, 2013 8:45 pm


Abruzzo features the highest peaks in Italy outside the Alps. Also people, in my experience, are very friendly.
You’re my best source about spots and things I don’t know of Italy, which is incidentally also my motherland.
There is so much to discover in Italy that it is impossible to know everything. That’s frustratring.

March 16, 2013 9:21 pm


Looks so great. I need to go there!

March 18, 2013 10:18 pm


I’d go for the moat, the reliving of history and a walk through those fields — so inviting.

March 20 2013 09:44 am


Indeed. And very different from West India, I suppose.

March 19, 2013 2:59 pm


One of my goals is to spend more time exploring the more natural side of Italy. This would fit right in with my plans and looks gorgeous!

March 20 2013 09:48 am


It is a breathtaking and beautiful area.

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