Bordered by a craggy spine of the Apennines Mountains to the west and the Adriatic Sea to the east, the Abruzzo region lies just a two-hour drive from Rome’s Fiumicino international airport. Remarkably little-known, it offers a combination of Tuscany’s rolling landscapes and Umbria’s verdant scenery.
Abruzzo is a blissfully relaxing destination, in part because sightseeing duties are minimal. The Museo Nazionale d’Abruzzo in L’Aquila, the region’s capital, is fascinating, as is lively Pescara, a city on the Adriatic coastline. But my strongest memories are the honeyed smell of yellow-flowering broom, the bleating of lamb and goat herds, and the villages of cream-colored houses spilling down distant hillsides. The pleasures of a trip are waking every morning to birdsong, admiring the routinely spectacular views and exploring the region’s superb cuisine during long, lazy lunches. With three major national parks and one regional one, this sparsely populated region remains a tract of Italy where time has largely stood still.