The Abruzzo region of Italy
'Dove la natura è spettacolo' or 'Where nature is a spectacle' is the hook used by the local Abruzzo tourism authorities to promote the territory around Scanno in the province of L'Aquila. The area is practically all the Alta Valle del Sagittario and is topped off by the Lago di Scanno at almost 1000 meters above sea level. Two small towns are located either side of the lake; Scanno itself and Villalago.
A short history of Abruzzo should first make it clear that the region is located at the extreme north of the south of Italy. It has always been a wild land and suffered from constant instability due to its geographic position. The original inhabitants were the Sabines and Piceni in the north, the Equi and Vestini in the centre, and the Marsi, Peligni and Frentani in the south.
Maison Petrosa is cozy and rustic bed and breakfast accommodation near Caramanico Terme in the National Park of the Majella. The exact location is the tiny hamlet of Riga which overlooks this wonderful thermal spa town in Abruzzo just 4 kilometers away as the country road winds its way to Demetra.
L'Aperegina is an organic agriturismo located in the centre of beautiful Gran Sasso and Monte della Laga National Park, one of the three National Parks of the Abruzzo region. It is run by Marino and Elide who have restored and converted what was once the old shepherd's house into country accommodation still immersed in the woods and enjoying an fabulous uninterrupted view of both the surrounding mountains and the Adriatic coast in the distance.
The word 'transumanza' means 'crossing the land' and derives from 'transmundus' or 'crossing earth'. In effect, that's exactly what it is, the passage or migrations of the sheep twice a year from the high ground in the hills to winter pastures nearer the coast and vice versa. It was a way of life which originated as soon as men domesticated animals in Italy and is certainly pre-Roman. It celebrated its greatest period in Abruzzo during the 18th century when millions of sheep were led towards the Tavoliere Plain in Puglia.
This recipe comes from the Province of Teramo in Abruzzo and the "chitarra" (guitar string-shaped pasta), is made with an 'instrument' that is easy to find in any market in Abruzzo.
700 gr. flour, 6 eggs (1 egg per person), 200 gr. lamb, 200 gr. lean pork, 3 large cartons peeled tomatoes (or 2 one-liter bottles), 50 gr. butter, 1 cup oil, 1 small onion, 1 carrot, salt, plenty of Parmesan cheese.
The traditional confetti originating from Sulmona in Abruzzo can be seen everywhere in Italy. This is not the paper stuff thrown at weddings, but fabulous sugared coated almonds of every color. They are popular as gifts handed out at the end of marriage ceremonies and other such romantic occasions.
The industry developed in the town around 250 years ago. One of the first, and perhaps most famous of the local factories, 'Pelino' dates from 1783 and the oriignal part of the factory can be visited very close to the historical centre of Sulmona. Inside the doors is as close to a real Willy Wonka chocolate factory as you can get, although what we see is as much for presentation as use. A small museum completes the tour