Life in Abruzzo Food & Travel Guide

All about Abruzzo food & travel in a cherry-picked fashion


Life & Culture

My Nonni From Abruzzo – Zoë Boccabella

The characteristics historically used to define the Abruzzesi are ‘forte e gentile’ (strong & kind), a description first penned by the C19th Italian journalist Primo Levi. But this defining blend

Continue reading…

My Nonni From Abruzzo: My Grandfather the Tailor

We called him Pop-Pop, not the traditional Nonno. His kind nature endeared him to the Main Line ladies and staff in an era when Italians were looked down upon as second-class citizens.

Everyone’s a Tony – The Story of St Anthony Abbot

Listen to a TV or Radio show with an Italian in it and you’d almost be surprised if he wasn’t called Tony, but do you know why or about Saint Anthony Abbot

A Traveller’s Companion: Top 15 Books on Abruzzo

An inspiring list of the top 15 books about Abruzzo compiled with the help of 3 Abruzzophile book-loving friends; these titles encompass art, food & drink, travel, history, fiction

#MadeinAbruzzo Christmas

Such is the strong tradition of arts & crafts in Abruzzo it hosted 1/3 of Etsy’s Xmas fairs… we dip in to find some #MadeInAbruzzo Christmas Ideas

Christmas Markets in Abruzzo

Christmas markets in Abruzzo (Mercatini di Natale) are beautiful, short and sweet experiences that celebrate the Immaculate Conception which is a national holiday in Italy

My Nonni From Abruzzo – Lily Lapenna

Lily Lapenna MBE, founder of the youth social enterprise MyBnk recounts her Nonni (grandparents) and explores just what is ‘forte e gentile’

A Few of My Favourite Abruzzo Things: Michael Kenna

The landscape photographer Michael Kenna tells us about the region he discovered whilst photographing his book ‘Abruzzo’

Capturing the Heat in Abruzzo

On the rare occasions of a heatwave in Abruzzo, who best manages to capture the feeling of inescapable heat when the temperatures nudge 40 C in the shade

Summer 2017 Must See Exhibtion – ABRUZZO by Michael Kenna

Your chance to win tickets to see Michael Kenna’s ‘Abruzzo’ in Loreto Aprutino

Witches, Polka, Pizza – La Befana Closes Christmas

Scrabbling about for sweeties thrown by a feisty witch, walking around the village behind a big bass drum, dancing to polka, eating sausage pizza accompanied by soft fruity wines is just part of the experience of celebrating La Befana in our village in Abruzzo

The Secret Inside a Shepherd’s Bag

The secret treats that an Abruzzese shepherd keeps in his bag

A Few of My Favourite Abruzzo Things – Laurence Vannicelli

There is a sense of freedom in Abruzzo that is incredibly rare and is best appreciated without a strict itinerary. Laurence Vannicelli reveals a few of his favourite abruzzo things

Castelli’s Pentacromia Hot Baked Palette

Castelli’s pentacromia sounds more a term that should be in The Exorcist script than Italy’s most important ceramic town describing their hot baked palette

Easter in Abruzzo: Traditions and Flavours in a Snapshot

Easter in Abruzzo in a simple snapshot: exploring its ceremonies and processions over the revered holy weekend and recipes eaten locally to welcome spring and take on the first picnic

Continue reading…

Halloween, All Saints & Remembering the Dead in Abruzzo

Here in Abruzzo, Italy it’s the 1st & 2nd November that celebrates the magic of Autumn & reflects on the past and present familial bond which keeps Italy going

Flowers to Cut Madness

Who needs a bouquet of flowers when a sprig from an elderly neighbour, a single daisy or RaRa flower from your toddler can say something more

Farchie Fara Filiorum Petri: a 7m High of Banging Folklore

Fara Filiorum Petri’s combustible victory re-enactment is breathtaking and loud, imagine 15 x 7 m high reed farchie interlaced with bangers being lit!

The Best Start to the Day: Taking the Sweetie Passeggiata

Sweetness reigns when you do the walk, your morning lap, giro, passeggiata around the village as a toddler in a sleepy rural village in Abruzzo Italy

Homage to Estella Canziani’s Abruzzi & Free Book Giveaway

Un Viaggio nel tempo Abruzzo, an engaging photographic companion to Estella Canziani’s elusive 1st edition Through the Apennines and the lands of the Abruzzi

A Humorous Abruzzo Life in Miniature

Bravo Bellante’s Dino Di Silvestre for his hand carved and whittled take on rural life

1 Stoic Ox, Ribbons & Legend Mash-up @ Festa di San Zopito

Festa di San Zopito got me interested in the stories behind the monumental white ox with his carefully trimmed & polished hooves, multi-coloured ribbons & bells

More than Lamborghini Tractors – Teramo Agriculture Fair

Outside petting corners and bunnies destined for the pot, Teramo Agricultural Fair was a foodie heaven, with 3/5 of the 200 exhibitors, farmers selling produce

Full Circle in Salle

When I was a young girl, I loved visiting Salle, it was probably the only place on Earth where I could walk down the street without my mom’s firm grip on my hand

A Few of my Favourite Abruzzo Things – Alessia Odoardi

Foodie and travel blogger Alessia Odoardi from Castelnuovo Vomano in the Teramo Province tells us a few of her favourite Abruzzo things

A Few of My Favourite Abruzzo Things – Mike Durham

Somewhere beautiful & tranquil to recover from illness initially bought journalist Mike Durham to Abruzzo, now it’s olive trees, wines, walking & new friends

Collelongo & the Werewolves that Washed in its Fountain

My grandfather, Luigi Carmine Guanciale left Collelongo the province of L’Aquila Italy when he was 17, and arrived in the US on March 13, 1905 my birthday

Fuori dai sentieri battuti, Off the Beaten Track in Abruzzo

Do the names Macdonell, Atkinson and Canziani mean anything? These foreign pioneers are familiar and revered for those that crave material about their beloved Abruzzo

PAESI, PASTORI e VIANDANTI – Uffizi Art Exhibition SS di Sessanio

This second exhibition of paintings and ancient sculpture from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence to be held in Santo Stefano di Sessanio is both a delight and enlightening.

A few of My Favourite Abruzzo Things – Janet Bianchini

The best of Abruzzo from Janet who lives in Civitaquana with her husband & furkids consisting of 6 chickens, 5 cats, 3 dogs and 1 resident kestrel, called Kevin

RIP Domenico: Friend, Good Neighbour and the Best Tomato Grower!

Terribly sad news that our Bascianella neighbour Domenico passed away yesterday, regular readers of this blog will know him through our posts and that the blog is dedicated to him and his wife…

Finding Valentino by Angela Di Sciascio

Finding Valentino, four seasons in my father’s Italy by Angela Di Sciascio is the perfect read for those planning to take a trip & rediscover their Abruzzo roots

Abruzzo and a Transumanza Spot the Difference 1817, 1823, 2012

Whilst Abruzzo can be infuriating for getting information it can be a joy delving & finding historical documents that dazzle & paint a picture

Icy Chill on Italian Residents – Two new Italian Taxes are Born

Two new Italian taxes that will be like an icy wind down the back of anyone with Italian Residency that owns a property or has a nest egg in their native lands

A Few of My Favourite Abruzzo Things – Joshua Lawrence

Joshua Lawrence’s ‘Favourite Abruzzo Things’, a US State Dept Economic Specialist & author of Carbonara, who lived in L’Aquila until displaced to Pescara

Italian Austerity – The Monti Impact on Ex-pats & Holidaymakers

Prime Minister Monti ‘s cabinet approved austerity package began the first of its debtates today, how will it affect ex-pats, holidaymakers & Italians?

A Few of My Favourite Abruzzo Things – Jacqui Dixon

A Few of My Favourite Abruzzo Things by Jacqui Dixon co-founder of the new small campsite, ‘Kokopelli Camping’ set in Serramonacesca in the province of Pescara

Mezza Italiana – Australia & Abruzzo Intertwined

Mezza Italiana is an autobiography & travel book deliciously intertwined which crosses Australia and Italy’s Abruzzo namely to Fossa in L’Aquila

A Few of My Favourite Abruzzo Things – Noel McCarthy

Time to learn ‘A Few of My Favourite Abruzzo Things’ by Noel McCarthy, the Irish author of the blog AboutAbruzzo, whose holiday home is in Loreto Aprutino

A Few of My Favourite Abruzzo Things – Sergio Pomante

Uncovering ‘A Few of My Favourite Abruzzo Things’ by Sergio Pomante who lives just outside Teramo at La Grande Quercia B&B

Win the Fab Walking in Abruzzo Guidebook!

It exceeded our expectations & comments of well thumbed already abound … enter our Walking in Abruzzo guidebook competition to win a copy

Navelli – Il Palio degli Ass’

Navelli has a new found growing fame as host to an alternative Palio; the colourful Palio degli Asini –yep a unmissable Donkey Race like no other in the world

Where in the World of ‘Abruzzo’…

One of our NY based readers, bought this painting titled ‘Abruzzo’ but no one has yet been able to identify where it is, can you help? Reward on offer!

Reliving Romance 100 Years Later in Santo Stefano di Sessanio

An unexpected & romantic surprise on our Abruzzo holiday was renewing our marriage vows: 100 years after my grandparents first got married here in Santo Stefano

Barisciano, San Giovanni & Great Nuts of Fire

Ancient Rome celebrated the Fors Fortuna on the 24th June that later morphed into John the Baptist’s birthday and a night of fire and nuts in Barisciano

Guide Books to Abruzzo: Bradt or A-Tour

Guidebooks to Abruzzo are notorious in their absence, especially in English, Abruzzo instead making at best a slim appearance in general guides to Italy

The Bells Toll & Firefly Bokeh

Our neighbour’s Nonna died today aged 92. An alternative condolence is tonight’s dancing fireflies whose colourful light always bring an eternal smile. RIP

Technicolor Il Giro Termoli-Teramo Stage 10

What do I love most about Italy’s Giro? The vivid colours that sweep past & almost catch you off balance as you swivel to stay with the leaders but[t] end

Hope Springs Maternal – Sulmona’s La Madonna che Scappa

It’s difficult not to feel that Sulmona’s Easter re-enactment of ‘La Madonna che Scappa’ symbolises Spring throwing off the dark winter months

Good Friday Chieti Abruzzo – La processione del Venerdì Santo

I felt compelled to visit Chieti’s La processione del Venerdì Santo after a friend said how it’d make the hairs on my neck stand up – a new Fri night experience

Take a Hike… in Abruzzo with a Guide Book in English

Abruzzo, with its amazingly varied terrain incorporating protected National Parks, mountains, valleys, beaches and forests, is an excellent region for exploring by foot at a rambler or hiking pace

Azzinano’s Murals – a Colourful Blast of Life the Abruzzo Way

Take a leap back into Abruzzo’s recent historical & sociological past through Azzinano’s emotive colourful blast via its unique open-air murals

Counting Gappy Smiles at Carnevale d’Abruzzo

Francavilla al Mare’s Carnevale d’Abruzzo had but 5 tractor-pulled floats but for sheer numbers of gappy smiles it shone like there is no tomorrow

Help for Dogs Affected By Teramo’s Floods

Here’s a very small tribute to the 60 dogs that drowned when left unsupervised in an animal shelter up in Alba Adriatica that had inadequate drainage in the recent flooding

Tongue-Tired Huskies & 6km Sled Dog Races Come to L’Aquila

Dog-sled is not something I’d imagine I’d be a spectator to, but then Abruzzo throws up all sorts of unexpected surprises as ‘alternative’ days out

The American: more George Gloomy than George Clooney?

Anton Corbijn’s 2010 film The American, set in Abruzzo and starring George Clooney, was slow to get released in the UK for some reason, so apologies if this review seems somewhat dated now.

Firestarter Tossicia Firestarter

The Wicker Man & Montezuma’s sacrificial Aztec fires popped into mind at first glance of Tossicia’s vast log pyramid ready to be lit in praise of San Antonio

Win Tickets to Get Down with the Girls at Abruzzo’s Donne in Jazz

Abruzzo’s perennial flowering as host of a leading Jazz festival grows ever stronger with its 13th annual celebration of female jazz legends this year

Christmas Pleasure, Pain & Portare

For those that wonder how Abruzzo girlies stay so slim, outside there being plenty of hills and mountains to walk up & down, welcome to the skill of portare

A Sanctified House Celebrated in Poggio Umbricchio

Our visit up to Poggio Umbricchio, for their fuoco on the 9 December to celebrate Loreto’s Santa Casa di Loreto, came about from reading On the Spine of Italy

Olive Fatigue Banished by San Vincenzo VR Spicy Olive Oil

It was almost a case of “olived-out” courtesy of the omnipresent olive-based conversations, that is until an olive sagra down in San Vincenzo Valle Roveto!

Polenta Picnic at 1450 masl – Waiting for the Snow Festa

The ‘Waiting for the Snow’ festival up at the Abruzzo ski resort of Prati di Tivo, 1450 masl in the Gran Sasso Mountains, is held by Italy’s 2nd oldest ski club

Chasing the Chestnut at Senarica

Needin’ the nuts? We recommend the chestnut (castagne) festa in Senarica di Crognaleto, Abruzzo on the 3rd or 4th weekend of October depending on harvesting

The Bagpipe Beat of Abruzzo’s Zampognari

Going out of my way to see an assorted group of Italian bagpipers known as zampognari wasn’t something I ever imagined taking an afternoon out to do in Abruzzo

The Graffiti Remains of Mussolini at Fontecchio

Fontecchio isn’t a place you’d expect to see Mussolini graffiti that makes you think you’ve come face to face with a surreal Banksy-style joke

Yo-Yo Cheese Rolling at Gessopalena

Cheese rolling or, to give its Italian name, Gara di Ruzzola, is not the first thing that comes to mind when one talks about Gessopalena

The American Shoot Locations

“Location location location”, the phrase that so many George Clooney & The American buffs have been drooling with increasing volume & vigour this week

Cherries & Dressing Up at Raiano

Somebody described cherries as beautiful butterflies, you blink and they’re gone, hence Raiano’s seasonal sagra being utterly unique in Abruzzo’s sagre calendar

Taranta Peligna’s Woven Story

Many people whilst in Abruzzo have slept under a taranta, or under these brightly patterned blankets at their grandparents, who took them upon emigrating

My Big Fat Ferragosto

My big fat Ferragosto isn’t probably what I should be calling this most pleasurable of Italian feast days

Icons of Beauty George Clooney & Abruzzo in The American

Fancy a chance to watch two legendary hunks of rugged gorgeousness, George Clooney & Abruzzo, in action together three times??

Scenting the Truffle at Campovalano’s Sagra

Visiting Abruzzo’s Campovalano Tartufo Sagra is a time to indulge in some olfactory summer truffle loving

The Longest Giro Ride -The Lucera-L’Aquila Tappa

Abruzzesi bicyclists, Giro lovers and admirers of spandex-clad men were out in force to cheer the competitors of Il Giro 2010

Getting Slippy at the Cocullo Snake Festival

Cocullo’s snake festival must win awards for being not just one of Italy’s strangest festivals, but also for being the most multi-cultural

‘IN THE ABRUZZI’ 1907 – a Journey Recaptured in Photographs

A review & photographic journey of Anne MacDonell’s 1907 book ‘In the Abruzzi’ to see what has changed in 100 years.

Abruzzo In Pictures – A Photographer’s Paradise

How do you capture the essence of life in Abruzzo? Is it the people that live here, the animals, its hill-top villages & towns or the Adriatic & mountains?

The Real Stats and Facts of The Guardian’s Poor Abruzzo

Defining ‘Abruzzo one of Italy’s poorest regions’ triggered tremors of consternation amongst many in Abruzzo who know & love the region

Call a Friend for ADSL Telecom Italia

It has taken us a year to get it, but we finally have an ADSL connection courtesy of Telecom Italia in the depths of the Abruzzo’s Gran Sasso Mountains

La Befana – One Cool Crone

Thanks to global warming La Befana is going to have to navigate through some strange old weather as she visits the children in Abruzzo to celebrate Epiphany

The Living Nativity of Cerqueto

Cerqueto provided us with an outstanding opportunity to briefly access the true festive spirit, thanks to its awe-inspiring “living nativity”

In love with Tripe – The Villa Maggiore Trippa Fest

Villa Maggiore’s Tripe Festival entails 3 days of eating tripe whilst villagers get jiggy to traditional music that seems to have been mixed by Berlusconi

A Geometra or Architect for your Abruzzo Home

After buying a wreck in Abruzzo, most people’s next decision is whether to appoint a geometra or architect to carry out the restoration

To Pool or not to Pool

A lot of people have asked us why when we have gone to the trouble of buying an Italian holiday home didn’t we go the whole hog and do the land & pool thing

Castelli – Love it or Loathe it…

The hill-side town of Castelli is home to one of Europe’s most renowned majolica products. Brightly hand-painted, these ceramic pieces of art are hugely popular

How to get a mortgage in Italy as a non Italian

Buying and restoring a house in Italy via a mortgage is not something to consider if you don’t like stress, bureaucracy, and introspection

Abruzzo Festival with Medieval Sausages & Beans!

To celebrate the historic event of Lucrezia Borgia’s Abruzzo elopment to Castiglione della Valle (aka Castrum Leonis Vallis) an annual August festival is held

Top 10 Tips for Buying a House in Abruzzo

Are you in the process of talking to Abruzzo estate agents to buy a property in Abruzzo, Italy’s green & pleasant land? Don’t be led up the garden path…

An Abruzzo Christmas in Bascianella

For those that do not go to church at home but are planning an Abruzzo Christmas, do try and go to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve (Vigilia di Natale) in Italy

The Terrible Waiting Game of ENEL Gas

If you are planning to restore a property in Italy which currently does not have mains gas make sure that you get your application in to ENEL Gas quick!

Groundhog Christmas Eve Warning

Christmas Eve Menus in Abruzzo do uphold the religious aspect of Christmas with the focus on fish & more fish! Italian culture upholds ‘fare bella figura’

Gathering Wood

October in Abruzzo, still Autumn but cold. Skies that held a low warm sun in the day, twinkled with stars at night and arrived with a sharp morning frost

Bascianella & her Silver Haired Lovelies

Our local town hall in Colledara lists Bascianella as having 92 residents, most who have silvery hair, false teeth and aching hips but all manage to still farm!

Why Buy a House in Abruzzo?

If you’re considering buying a house in Abruzzo adapting a few of our tried & tested lines would be good to convince friends & family that you aren’t mad!