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Chieti: terrace of Abruzzo

A journey to the land which enchanted D’Annunzio

Chieti: terrace of Abruzzo



The Province of Chieti
: a journey to the land which enchanted D’Annunzio

Mediterranean climate, large variety of landscapes, uncontaminated beaches, snow-capped mountains, wide valleys, culture, gastronomy and history.  Our journey back in time to Chieti defined as the “terrace of Abruzzo”.  The province of Abruzzo is situated between the beaches of the Adriatic Sea and the Maiella and Gran Sasso mountains in the greenest part of central eastern Italy.  Amongst the most sought after destinations for invigorating and energizing holidays.  Chieti winds its way through a variable territory which is suitable for a wide range of tourist activities.  Hiking, mountain climbing, cycling and climbing sports are some of the most sought after.

The older part of the city is full of historical buildings which are of great artistic and cultural value, such as the beautiful Villa Comunale, along with fountains, small lakes, gardens, small bridges and grass lawns are a relief to the hot sunny Summer days.  It is the historical centre which is the setting for numerous annual events.  The Maggio teatrino (May theatre) is one of the events to be noted and forecasts a tightly packed calendar of events, concerts, markets, historical and medieval pageants, theatrical and sportive spectacles which donate the city with colour, music, sounds and perfumes ever so powerful and attractive. Not to be missed is the celebrated Chieti in strada Buskers, a festival of street artists which takes place the 14th and 16th August, and the Settimana Mozartiana (Mozart week), presented in July, in which chamber concerts and dances remember the celebrated composer.

Of its many municipalities there are two particularly noteworthy:  Palombaro and Rocca San Giovanni.  The small village of Palombaro, with just over 1000 inhabitants and nicknamed “sentinella della Maiella”, stands at the foot of the second highest point of the Apennines.  It is characterised by its strategic position which allows one to reach both the wonderful Abruzzo coast and the best known ski resorts quickly. Palombaro is nestled in a fertile valley rich in plant species.  Stretches of mountain pine, together with patches of lush honeysuckle blend with roads decorated with primroses, peonies, dwarf juniper, blueberries and other rare plants, creating a perfect atmosphere for long leisurely walks on foot, on horseback or by bike.
During excursions it’s also possible to admire some animal species in their natural habitat such as deer, roe deer and rare wild cats.  Palombaro is noted for Fieragosto (mid- August bank holiday), a festival which takes place on the night of 15th August when the narrow streets of the town come to life under the sky illuminated by the glow of falling stars.  A special night when craft markets, typical food and music blend together with the old and new, renovating the association between the past and the present.

Rocca San Giovanni, which overlooks the sea, welcomes us to endless cultivated fields and pebbled beaches lapped by a crystal clear sea dotted with rocks.  Which once again has been awarded the Blue Flag by the FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education).  Rocca San Giovanni, proudly and elegantly perched on a rocky outcrop, possesses a characteristic historical centre alive with local markets where you can buy typical foods and crafts of the area including citrus fruits, fresh fish and genuine vegetables.  One of the most interesting attractions to visit is the charming village of Vallevo, a tiny group of small cottages overlooking the harbour which seem to have come out of a novel.  Here it is possible to admire the famous overflowing wooden platforms with long runways from which fishermen throw their lines to capture the most previous fruits of the sea.

The Fossi natural depressions positioned perpendicular to the coast, where charming gorges and caves have formed, are typical formations of this area.  One of the most famous is the Fosse delle farfalle (Butterfly fosse), a treasure trove of priceless natural treasures such as streams and springs that feed on a thick vegetation.  Even the poet D’Annunzio was captivated by these places and drew inspiration from them for one of his most beautiful tragedies: Il trionfo della morte (The triumph of death).
Rocca San Giovanni is the scene of the Frentania Film Festival, an event dedicated to young film-makers in Italy and includes works by famous directors of national and international status.

Did you know that?
The remains of an ancient city called Theate are hidden in the depths of Chieti and are located right under the historic centre.  It is only on a few occasions that we are allowed to visit them.


Alessandra Denaro

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