The Charming Villages of Abruzzo: The Best-Kept Secrets of Italy

Central Italy’s best-kept secret, Abruzzo, is seeping with authenticity and old-world charm. Just two hours outside of Rome, and largely unknown to international travelers, this crown jewel of Italy is filled with nostalgic Italian villages that have remained preserved throughout time and offers visitors everything that they are looking for in an authentic Italian experience.

The region’s cuisine, landscape, heritage, and wines depict one of the last old-world destinations in Italy. Abruzzo’s remarkable variety of flavors and aromas, reaped from the produce of its uncontaminated mountainous areas, offer a diverse cuisine that appeals to the most discriminating taste buds.

Beautiful Abruzzo welcomes travelers with rich, wild landscapes filled with olive grove draped hillsides, rolling acres of vineyards, the vast white sandy beaches of the Adriatic Coast, and awe-inspiring peaks of the Apennine Mountains. Prepare to uncover these breathtaking landscapes of some of the most charming and idyllic villages of Abruzzo, Italy, where nature converges with a rich history, ancient traditions, and unparalleled flavors.


Wander through the narrow alleyways of one of Abruzzo’s most beautiful hilltop towns. With an expansive view of the Adriatic Sea, the town brims with medieval architectural wonders that date back to 15th century Italy.

Take in the views where the crystal blue waterways of the Adriatic meet warm golden beaches with a backdrop of medieval structures, art, and cultural centers, and even a palace. Visit the Palazzo d'Avalos palace, which is now home to the Museo Civico Archaeologica and immerse yourself in the beauty of the nearby Neapolitan-style garden.


Descend on the charming town of Sulmona located at the foot of the majestic Majella National Park. This lovely village is one of the most famous of Abruzzo’s villages, made popular for it’s sugary coated almonds, commonly known as “confetti.” The quaint streets bustle with vendors who boast vibrant bouquets and artfully sweet arrangements available in a wide array of succulent flavors. Learn all about the traditions of throwing confetti at weddings that were born here. Despite a devastating earthquake that hit the historic village in 1706, you’ll find medieval architecture and a spirit throughout the village that has stood the test of time.

Piazza Garibaldi in Sulmona
Piazza Garibaldi in Sulmona


Visit Abruzzi’s capital of vibrant ceramics known as “majolica,” which were collected by the elite of Europe for hundreds of years. Select some magnificent pottery and bring part of nostalgic Italy back home. Sealed with clear colored glazes, brightly colored hand-painted adornments, and a signature color palette, these works of art are certain to get your attention. Travelers can even take a cultural tour of the area and learn how to make their very own “Majolica” masterpiece.


Enter into the pages of a fairy tale when you arrive in the scenic, magical hill town of Scanno. Take a canoe adventure through Scanno lake, which formed when a landslide from the mountainside blocked the natural course of the river than ran through it. This enchanting medieval town is known for its magnificent crystal blue lake and its precarious alleyways, baroque architecture and it’s costumed inhabitants. Take home a special memento of an intricately laced pattern embroidered on pillows made within the village borders.

Lago di Scanno, Abruzzo, Italy
Lago di Scanno, Abruzzo, Italy


Sneak into the tiny village of Villalago and discover the sacred, small church, The Hermitage of San Domenico. Unlock access from the outside, stroll past the altar and climb a few steps and discover the hidden sanctuary. Find your zen and connect with the world at this peaceful spot surrounded by serene views of the bluest waters and the pure beauty of nature.


Take a trip back in time to the 16th century with an excursion to the medieval village of Roccascalegna. Seemingly frozen in time, this medieval castle stands elevated on a gravity-defying ledge of limestone. This is only one of the more than fifty awe-inspiring castles that will amaze you on your journey through Abruzzo.

Castello di Roccascalegna / Zitumassin / Public domain
Castello di Roccascalegna

Civitella del Tronto

Travel to the site of the largest Italian military fortress and experience the wildly breathtaking panoramic views that peer over three majestic mountain ranges, a charming village, and the vast blue reachings of the Adriatic Sea. Explore the architecture and venture down the hillside and stroll through the streets and winding alleyways of the small village that it oversees.

Fara San Martino

Discover pasta in Italy’s kingdom of pasta, Fara San Martino! Look no further for extraordinary pasta and Italian cuisine. This producer of the highest quality pasta brands prides itself on its distinctive flavors and ancient pasta-making techniques. Gaze at the wide, beautiful valley of the Verde River, whose waters combine with other special ingredients to make the world-famous pasta.

Explore the village’s stunning Canyon of St. Spirito. Once inside, stretch your arms out and touch two distinct mountains as you hike to the 13th-century Monastery of St. Martino in Valle along beautiful terrain.

There are plenty of unique accommodations in the Abruzzo region. You can stay in beach hotels, farmhouses, cute villas or even a 17th-century castle.

Do you want know more about Abruzzo? We love these books, especially the history and art guide!

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