The Abruzzo (or Abruzzi) is the Italian region covering the highest and wildest part of the Apennines, the mountain range that forms the backbone of peninsular Italy.
Abruzzo is in the central section of eastern Italy, stretching from the Central Apennines’ watershed to the Adriatic Sea, an arm of the Mediterranean.
As much of Italy, Abruzzi is mountainous and coastal at the same time.
The highest peaks of the Italian peninsula – excluding continental Italy in the north, crowned by the Alps which have Europe’s tallest mountains – are indeed in Abruzzi: the groups of Gran Sasso d’Italia which reaches the altitude of over 2,900 metres, and Maiella at nearly 2,800 metres above sea level.
Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo
In the southern part of the region is the vast Abruzzo National Park (“Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo”), extending for about 50,000 hectares (over 123,000 acres), covered with beautiful beech forests. Founded in 1922, it is Italy’s second longest-established national park and includes within its territory 25 towns.
It is home to rare species of large animals like the Abruzzi brown bear (Ursus arctos marsicanus), the Apennine wolf (Canis lupus italicus), the Abruzzi chamois deer (Rupicapra rupicapra ornata), the lynx (Linx linx), the most difficult animal to find, and the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos). All in all this is the hanitat of over 60 species of mammals, 300 of birds and 40 of reptiles, plus innumerable insects and other invertebrates.
The Park is criss-crossed by numerous side valleys, and possesses a wide network of footpaths and mountain huts, all of which makes it highly suitable to walkers and climbers.
The Parco Nazionale can be explored on foot, horseback or bicycle.
The central point and hub of the Abruzzo National Park is the little town of Pescasseroli, located in a wide plain at 1,167 m. above sea level in the upper valley of the river Sangro, with a dry and healthy climate. This is where the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo has its administrative headquarters. It makes a great base, a resort for both summer holiday visitors and winter sports enthusiasts, and is Ideal for active, nature-loving families. There are some 150 walking trails around Pescasseroli.
For a nice mountain stay, among the best-liked hotels in Pescasseroli are: the 4-star Grand Hotel del Parco, surrounded by unspoilt nature and wildlife at an altitude of 1,250 metres, close to ski slopes, ski schools and ski lift, with a swimming pool, gardens and rooms furnished in mountain style;
the B&B Le Antiche Torri, with free private parking, free WiFi and a garden, not far from Pescasseroli’s main square; the very good value guesthouse Affittacamere Prato Rosso, right in the town centre of Pescasseroli, with views of the village from the rooms, free parking and located 200 yards from bus stop to Rome and Naples. For self-catering holiday flats, the Appartamento Vacanze Pescasseroli has balcony, free on-site parking, free Wi-fi.