THE INSIDERS ABRUZZO, ITALY
SEE: San Martino Gorge, Majella National Park, Chieti, Pescara and L’Aquila provinces Walk the magnificent limestone gorge and see the ruined 10th-century Benedictine abbey of San Martino in Valle. Also in Majella National Park, climb to summer pastures frequented by shepherds for more than 3000 years. Fara San Martino at the exit of Santo Spirito valley is considered Italy’s home of pasta; parcomajella.it; comune.farasanmartino.ch.it.
STAY: La Grande Quercia B&B, Teramo A delightful property run by Sergio and Russ with great Abruzzese hospitality at the foot of the majestic Gran Sasso mountains in Teramo province; lagrandequercia-abruzzo.com.
DINE: Ristorante Caldora Punta Vallevo, municipality of Rocca San Giovanni, Chieti province Dine here for the best seafood on the Adriatic coast of Italy. Spoil yourself with a five-course degustation lunch; puntavallevocaldora.it.
SNACK: Pescara food market, Piazza Largo Laporta, Via di Porta, Pescara Try deboned roast suckling pig seasoned with garlic, rosemary and pepper and slow-cooked; scoff on a bread roll with crackling.
SHOP: Eugenio di Rienzo, Scanno, L’Aquila province This 13th-generation goldsmith and fine artisan crafts stunning pieces of traditional jewellery in gold and silver filigree. His pendants, earrings and bracelets are works of art; eugeniodirienzo.it.
INDULGE: Copa De Dora Gelateria, Via Nazionale Adriatica 10, San Vito Chietino, Chieti province This has to be the best artisan gelato in all of Abruzzo; I recommend the pistachio and tiramisu flavours.
BARGAIN: Casoli market, Chieti province Pick up a bargain at these weekly outdoor markets in a pretty hilltop village inland from Pescara. Look for produce such as fresh seasonal cherries plus traditional linen cloth and handcrafted wooden spaghetti frames; comune.casoli.ch.it.
AVOID: Pace yourself and beware of over-indulgence as Abruzzo is a gourmet paradise, with the best extra virgin olive oils, wines, saffron and truffles (from S.Z. Tartufi of Atessa, Chieti province); sztartufi.com.
ABSOLUTELY ABRUZZO TOURS
Simonetti, Castelli, Teramo province This company has been making traditional majolica ceramics since the 14th century. Its hand-painted and fired pieces make perfect presents or mementos from Abruzzo; ceramichesimonetti.it.