• Countryside Ain’t no mountain high enough
  • Country life Arts, crafts and cobbles

Abruzzo is rustic, rural, romantic Italy at its undiscovered finest, where sheep roam free and mediaeval villages dot the landscape…

The way of life in this mid-calf patch of the country has changed little over the years: residents still farm the land in fresh Apennine air; artisans use age-old techniques to craft ironwork, ceramics, lace and gold jewellery. Though many of this remote region’s hilltop settlements were built in the Middle Ages, their towns and castles astonish today’s visitors; the rest is taken care of by the mountains, where the wild terrain is unspoilt, its ancient sheep-droving routes intact, and a seasonally changing carpet of colour sees high plateaux clad in snow, crocuses, orchids or poppies. If the coast calls, get back down to sea level and hit the long, sandy shores of the Adriatic, an hour’s land-cruise from Abruzzo’s rugged centre.

Do go/Don’t go

The slopes will be snow-covered from December until early April. The warmest temperatures are in June and July. Evenings up in the mountains are chilly.

Getting thereView map

  • Planes Rome’s airports are the main gateways to Abruzzo. Ciampino is served by Easyjet (www.easyjet.com) and Ryanair (www.ryanair.com); Alitalia (www.alitalia.com) and British Airways (www.ba.com) fly in and out of Fiumicino. On the other side of the Apennines | Ryanair also flies to coastal Pescara.
  • Trains L’Aquila has a train station, served by Trenitalia (www.trenitalia.com) routes to the rest of Italy, usually via a change in Terni. From Rome, the journey will take just over three hours.
  • Automobiles A car is advisable for getting around this remote mountain terrain. There are hire desks at Ciampino and Fiumicino.
  • Taxis You’re more likely to find a mule pulling a cartful of passengers than a cab in these peaceful parts; ask your hotel for advice.