Obtained from the dried and powdered stem of the 'croccus sativus' which grows on the Navelli Plain in the province of L'Aquila, saffron is considered by many to be the single most representative symbol of the traditional products of Abruzzo. An essential ingredient in Risotto al Milanese (and paiella in Spain for that matter) the spice also crops up in many other dishes across Italy.
For example, the fish soup found in Le Marche, south of the Monte Conero, contains saffron for its red coloring in place of the more traditional tomato. This coloring property is also widely appreciated in the production of cakes and liqueurs and for centuries by painters in the preparation of dyes. Its additional curative powers have long been known to help digestion, rheumatism and colds.