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Aragno – an Abruzzo hotchpotch medieval village

by Sam Dunham

Aragno Poppies(Papavero)

Our June roadtrip from Bascianella to was one of those experiences when the journey is better than the destination.

We had looked up this little medieval Abruzzo town located 1067masl, just 12km outside L’Aquila in the midst of the Gran Sasso , and been promised 6 ancient fountains and a Cardinal’s house, and chapel of the “Madonnella”, all which sounded quirky enough to pay a visit to.   What we found on arrival was a hotch-potch of largely disused houses unless you count them being used for the animals, peeling paint and old balconies (turning the most intriguing colours), sheep skulls.

If you are an architect and want to get dirty with medieval building techniques – this place is worth a visit for sure – it’s great too for the contrast of textures and fading colours if you are into that sort of thing for your photography.   We failed to find the fountains (possibly through lack of endeavour on our part), though we did find a cattle water trough.

However, the journey there was a beautiful surprise! Having taken the Assergi exit off the A24 and headed down through Assergi and Camarda, a small road off to the right took us through rolling fields of bedazzling red , an incredible sight and well worth a visit for this alone.   It’s the best array of and Apennine flowers that we have seen in Abruzzo, so if you are an artist or photographer it’s not to be missed. Best times of the year to make this Abruzzo road journey is mid-May to mid-June before they cut the wheat and of course the too.

Useful Vocab

Poppy – Papavero

View a slideshow of Aragno

A snapshot of Aragno


Janet Riben 06/04/2009 - 00:31

Hello there! Also an Abruzzo resident in village of Tussillo south of L'Aquila. Loved reading all this. One town I really love is Fontecchio further down the Aterno valley from us and they have a local restaurant "Ristorante del Rio" I believe it's called. They have a delicious spaghetti with saffron and Zucchini. Place is filled every time I go so obviously appreciated by the locals. Prices extremely good. Paid 16€ for a wonderful meal.

Sammy 03/09/2008 - 11:59

Hi Marilyn

I am afraid I can't help you out on the groceries as we get practically all the food we need delivered straight to the village from the local bakers/farmers/fishmongers etc who run round the hill & mountain villages daily and very conveniently (ha next time you'll have to rent our little holiday cottage!). We are about a 20 minute drive away from Teramo centre itself, if you aren't right in the centre perhaps ask the cottage owner if they have a similar delivery thing with the local farmers etc visiting which you can take advantage of… as you'd expect everything tastes better from them.

Around the actual cathedral in Teramo there are a lot of lovely delis on the left hand side if you are looking back out the cathedral door which is a good place to get some special goodies but they are a little bit more expensive than going to the supermarket. When we do shop at the supermarkets for dry stuff like pasta etc – we generally go to Conad. There is a lot of them around. Just remember most are open till only lunchtime on Sunday and you can't buy Ibuprofen or anything like that too from them, you will need to go to the pharmacy for such things.

If you aren't a veggie do try and go to the local butchers for your meat, it's so much better being able to chose what you would like minced instead of just being given a wadge of mince like here in London where I am at the moment and all have a really interesting range generally of home made sausages. You will see a lot of agriturismi do sell their own meats and cheeses – this really is the best option in price and quality and is so much fun tasting first which you will be invited to so when you are out and about. Do make a detour to them if you see them advertising as you are out and about sightseeing. A lot of them are organic so that is another reason to shop at them.

I am writing a piece in 2 weeks about the best ever cheese and salami farm shop which is up in on the road to Lake Campotosto if you drive up to this lake on one of your sightseeing trips. I'll let you know when that is live on the site – it is worth the visit this is the only place I have ever seen packed, it is in the middle of nowhere but people come from far and wide to buy here. Also a place to take great photographs not just inside the farm shop but leading up to it the ponies that drift across the road. Also up in 2 weeks wil be a piece about an organic vineyard near Civitella that is run by a lady, quite novel in Italy, so if you do go up there again it is worth a visit to.

Restaurants again we try and eat at agriturismi – have a look at ones that we do really like – food is better and generally a lot cheaper but one good restaurant that we can recommend is Osteria degli Ulivi. This is about a 12/15 minute drive from Teramo depending on how fast you drive but is quite unlike anything else I have experienced in Abruzzo on the restaurant side of things and worth a visit.

Marilynne Adair 02/09/2008 - 19:01

Not so much a comment as getting some advice. We will be coming to Teramo Town/City in Abruzzo in October,2008. This is our first visit to Italy and are really looking forward to it. We will be renting a cottage/house in Teramo and would like some information/advice on where to shop for groceries, local restaurants. What we should see and do during our week stay. Any advice or information would be most helpful. Thank you so much.

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All about Abruzzo in a slow travel & food blog
All about Abruzzo in a slow travel & food blog