The region of Abruzzo is located in southern-central Italy, and its territory is mostly made of mountains (65%) and hills (35%). To the east, its coasts are touched by the Mar Adriatico.
It's one of the most mountainous regions of Italy, mainly composed of the massive mountains of the Appennino Centrale. This part of the Appennino is the most imponent, made of mountains such as the Monti della Laga with 2,458mt of height, the Maiella with 2,793 mt and the Gran Sasso, which reaches almost 3,000mt of height.
The scenario of this region is magnificent but harsh, as can be seen by the various grottos and caves.
The wild nature of the Appennini, covered by desolated grass and woods with little flora, is interrupted by some large and majestic valley, like the Aquilana or Sulmonese or Del Fucino, ancient dried lakes where abundant vineyards and olives grow.
In the ancient times, the region was inhabited by proud and bellicose populations which opposed to the Roman conquer between the 304 and 288 B.C. In the middle ages, the region took the name of "Abruzzo" from the latin word Aprutium. With the coming of the Kingdom of Naples, the territory was divided in Abruzzo Ulteriore and Abruzzo Citeriore, in 1860 with the unification of Italy, the region of Molise was annexed to Abruzzo, which separated only later in 1963.
The influence of the sea mitigates the coasts making the climate mild and mediterranean. The internal part of the region has a more continental climate, characterised by cold winters and warm summers. Rain and snow are frequent from winter through spring, while the summer is usually drought-stricken.
Under an artistic point of view, there are many important Roman remains in the colony of Alba Fucens near Avezzano and the Santuario di Ercole Curino built in the 1st century B.C. in Sulmona. Important and interesting centres to visit are L'Aquila, where magnificent palaces and churches can be found, starting from the dominating church of S. Bernardino, that holds the tomb of Santo Senese, built between 1454 and 1472, with is facade made by Cola dell'Amatrice, with reliefs made by the artist Silvestro dell'Aquila.
Not to be missed is the church of S. Maria di Collemaggio, main monument of the architecture of Abruzzo, built in romantic-gothic forms at the end of the XIII century, with a magnificent facade of the 1300s.
Another important city is Sulmona, famous for being the home town of Ovidio and for its confection factories, whose biggest treasure is the complesso dell'Annunziata, started in the Renaissance and renewed in the Baroque.
Minor but still interesting centres are: Atri, with the Duomo for the XIII century decorated by frescoes of the XV century by Andrea Delito; Scanno, a perfectly conserved typical medieval town; Lanciano with its Chiesa di S. Maria Maggiore in gothic style.
The gastronomy of Abruzzo is made of simple dishes, whose main elements are lamb meat, sheep milk, grain and legumens, with which excellent soups are made. The most famous dish of the region is called "maccheroni alla chitarra", a variety of tagliolini with meat sauce.
Other typical specialties are cheese-filled "calcioni" and rustic meat pizzas. Also worth of mention is the lamb meat rost or veal meat rolls with sausages.
Well assorted is the variety of sheep and cow cheese: either sweet or spicy, provole, mozzarelle and "burrine".
There are also many variety of sweets, some of them dressed with almond paste. These dishes are perfect with the typical wines, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and Trebbiano Bianco.