Pescara is the largest city and main port of Abruzzo, a region of central Italy extending from the Apennine mountain range from the west to the Adriatic Sea, an arm of the Mediterranean, to the east.
Pescara , a bigger town, the main city of its province, has 6 km of child-friendly beaches of fine sand, reasonably large, winners of the Green Flag for beaches particularly suitable for kids.
With a population of 123,000 inhabitants, Pescara has no wild expanses or secluded corners, like other parts of Abruzzo.This is an urban environment, with all its disadvantages and also advantages, such as ease of public transport. Tourist facilities abound.
Pescara is one of Italy’s main ports for direct high-speed ferries to the Coast of Croatia on the other side of the Adriatic Sea, which is quite lovely and has many islands. Among the destinations of the crossings from Pescara is the the town of Stari Grad on Croatia’s Island of Hvar, considered one of the world’s most beautiful islands. Hvar attracts young people for its entertainment venues and relatively low prices. There are also ferries from Pescara to Split (Spalato in Italian), Croatia’s second-largest city and Dalmatia region’s largest city.
The River and the Sea Bridge
Pescara is crossed by the river Aterno-Pescara, the longest in Abruzzo, and has developed around its mouth, where, overlooked by the vast Sea Bridge, is the town’s port. The city extends along the coast, the river’s valley and the neighbouring hills.
The Sea Bridge (Ponte del Mare) is a landmark of Pescara and, although opened only in 2009, has already become a characteristic feature of the city’s skyline. With its length of 466 metres, it is Italy’s and one of Europe’s greatest cycle and pedestrian bridges.
The Sea Bridge, linking the two coasts north and south of the Aterno-Pescara river, allows the continuity of the Adriatic Green Corridor, the cycle path that runs along a very long stretch of the Adriatic coast from Ravenna in the Romagna region in Italy’s north to Santa Maria di Leuca in the Puglie region in the south of the Italian boot-shaped peninsula, on the very tip of Italy’s ‘heel’, a cycle path which, when completed, will start much further north from the city of Trieste, joining the entire Adriatic coast, i.e. the eastern coast, of Italy.
Shaped like a sail and futuristic in appearance, the Sea Bridge’s suspended part is supported by a steel abutment anchored to the north bank of the river and positioned obliquely to the course of the river.
The Ponte del Mare offers a stunning view over not only the port of Pescara, but also the Majella and Gran Sasso mountain massifs. At night, its unmistakable curved line at the end of Pescara’s waterfront is illuminated by LEDs that change colour.
History of Pescara, Old and New City
Pescara, which is divided in two by the river by the same name, is a city with an ancient history but has suffered from the destructions of the last war, which have left a mainly modern city. Still, it has several other attractions beside the sea.
The historic centre, or old town, is south of the river. Here once was the Piazzaforte, a powerful fortress built in the 1500s as a military bulwark of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, that included all of southern Italy as well as Sicily. Of this state Pescara defended the north-east border, and the city had a remarkable strategic importance. The fortress’s function was also to protect from attacks from the sea, particularly the ever-threatening Turks, enemies of all Christian lands and people.
The Piazzaforte has now disappeared, but a few vestiges of it remain, one of which is the buildings of the old barracks (giving their name to the street “Via delle Caserme”). These buildings are now home to the Museum of the People of Abruzzo, tracing the region’s history and housing archaeological finds.
Near this Museum is the birthplace house of the great poet of the early 20th century Gabriele D’Annunzio, which is also a museum of the poet.
In Pescara many beautiful churches can be admired. Even those of relatively recent construction may house works of major artists. An example is Il Guercino’s San Francesco painting in the San Cetteo Cathedral.
Inside the 19th-century Santuario della Madonna Del Fuoco there is a statue of the Virgin Mary holding Baby Jesus from the 17th century.
The construction of the Basilica della Madonna dei sette dolori was started in the 1600s in Baroque style and later developed in Neoclassic style.
The Church of San Silvestro, in the city area by the same name, was built around the year 1500. Inside it, on the high altar, you can admire a 17th-century fresco.
On the north side of the Pescara river is the northern seafront promenade (Lungomare Giacomo Matteotti), that starts from the Sea Bridge and extends along an uninterrupted beach to reach the adjoining resort of Montesilvano, north of the city of Pescara. A lively city where fun continues until late at night, Pescara during the day offers relaxation at the beach bathing establishments, some with swimming pool and entertainment. At dusk, the restaurants overlooking the beach become animated, with live music among their attractions.
In this area is the heart of the city, namely Piazza della Rinascita, better known as Piazza Salotto, name which means ‘Drawing Room’ Square and gives a clear idea of the square’s socialising function. This is Pescara’s main square, located between Lungomare Matteotti and the main street, Corso Umberto I, east of the Central Station. Piazza Salotto is very ample and spacious, the hub for events, happenings, cultural meetings, concerts and the like. Bars, shops and venues around it abound. This is the modern area of the town, rebuilt on an impressive scale after the war.
The corresponding seafront promenade on the opposite side, the south bank of the river, is the Lungomare Colombo, dedicated to the great Italian explorer and discoverer of the Americas Christopher Columbus, also, like the other promenade, with a pedestrian path and one for cyclists, and embellished with the La Meridiana fountain. The two waterfront ‘passeggiate’ are connected by the Sea Bridge since 2009.
Lungomare Colombo heads to the southern part of the city, until it reaches the Nature Reserve Pineta Dannunziana, also named informally D’Avalos Park or D’Avalos Pine Forest after the family that was holder of the Marquisate of Pescara at the time of the Bourbon dynasty in the 15th century. In it, flora typical of the Mediterranean grows around a central small lake and the Gabriele d’Annunzio Theatre, an outdoor arena used in the summer for all kinds of events. It is the largest green space in the city, with about 125 acres of protected area.
Between this nature reserve and the beach, there is an elegant district of various buildings and villas in Art Nouveau style designed in the early 1900s by Antonino Liberi, an architect brother-in-law of the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio.
The coast where the city of Pescara lies was once almost entirely occupied by a vast Mediterranean pinewood, where the species of the Aleppo Pine predominated. This woodland was largely demolished in the late 1800s and then again in 1950s to make way for new buildings. The surviving forest is widespread in the D’Avalos Pinewood and in a stretch of coast long about two kilometres, the Pineta di Santa Filomena Nature Reserve.
Best Loved Hotels
These are among the preferred hotels and holiday lets in Pescara most highly rated by guests:
Hotel Alba in Pescara 3-star hotel 1 minute’s walk from the beach, in the very heart of Pescara, with nearby parking and free WiFi.
Le Stanze Sul Corso Bed and Breakfast in Pescara 5 minutes’ walk from the beach, with rooms with air conditioning, free WiFi, a fully equipped shared kitchen and nearby private parking.
4-star luxury hotel 10 minutes’ walk from the beach, 50 yards from Pescara Centrale Train Station, with a terrace, free WiFi, free on-site private parking, 24-hour front desk.
Villa Zagara Luxury Bed And Breakfast in Pescara beautiful elegant villa with outdoor swimming pool, garden, large free parking area, free Wi-Fi, in lovely quiet setting 1.5 miles from Pescara Port and 2.3 miles from Pescara Train Station.
luxury 4-star hotel 7 minutes’ walk from the beach, 15 minutes’ walk from Pescara Train Station and 550 yards from Pescara Port for ferries to the Tremiti Islands. It has free parking, a sun terrace, 24-hour front desk, bar, and rooms with air conditioning, free Wi-Fi and LCD TV.
B&B Pescara Centro Luxury Suite in Pescara 1 minute’s walk from the beach and from Pescara Bus Station, a short walk from Pescara Port, 2.5 miles from Abruzzo Airport. accommodation hvaeair conditioning with free WiFi. Rooms have a balcony with city views.
Hotel Regent in Pescara right on the Lungomare Cristoforo Colombo seafront, 1 minute’s walk from the beach, this 3-star hotel is located opposite its own private beach and less than a 10-minute drive from Pescara Airport. With restaurant and free parking. Rooms have free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, balcony, and some rooms have sea views.
Hotel Carlton in Pescara 4-star luxury hotel right on the seafront promenade, 2 minutes’ walk from the beach, close to the main shopping area and business district. With private onsite parking, restaurant, terrace, 24-hour front desk, free WiFi and many more services. Romms have air conditioning.
Photo credits: Pescara by pescaramatteo .