Subject: Going to Abruzzo next Septmber
Hi, Maria Clara, welcome to the list.

Unfortunately I'm not going to Abruzzo, but I know it well - I worked one summer as a tour guide there (MANY years ago), and went back many times to visit during the 17 years I lived in Rome. Abruzzo is a beautiful region, but not nearly as well known as other regions such as Tuscany and Umbria.

There are some beautiful places that you might want to visit. The Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo (Abruzzo National Park) is worth a trip, and especially the village of Scanno, which borders on the park (there is also a Scanno lake, about a km from the village). There's a great restaurant in Scanno, called Trattoria Roma on Via Roma (or it might be called Trattoria Carbone, which is the family name). If you drive through the park, you can drive up to the village of Opi, on top of a hill and in the heart of the park, from where there are fantastic views of the area. The village of Civitella Alfedena, also in the park, has a museum about the wolves that are found in the park, and you can see real wolves in the wild (but in a restricted area) right in the village.

You can take the highway from Chieti to the park and enjoy the beautiful scenery and villages along the way. You drive right through the Gola di Popoli (Popoli Gorge), between the 2 highest mountain peaks in Abruzzo - Gran Sasso on one side, and the Maiella on the other.

On the way to the park, you can visit Sulmona, the town where Italian confetti is from - candy-covered almonds which are given out at Italian weddings and baptisms. The brightly coloured confetti are tied together with thin wire, and arranged to look like flowers and baskets of flowers, birds, wheat, and many other things. They are sold all over the city, and they last forever (you can also buy some confetti to eat). Sulmona has a big piazza (square) in town; at one end an ancient acquaduct runs across it, and looking towards the other end, you can see the Maiella mountain range in the not too far distance. On Saturdays, there is a big market on the piazza. From Sulmona, it is only about an hour's drive to Scanno, which is practically the entrance to the park. Oh, and in case you're interested, the singer Madonna's family is originally from a village right near Sulmona.

The whole trip from Chieti (Sulmona, Scanno, the park) is do-able in one day, if you don't have much time. When I was a tour guide, we used to do it in one day, and that was starting from about 35-40 km north of Chieti. Otherwise you can take it more slowly and do it in 2 days.

Enjoy your trip!

Laurie in Mexico City (formerly from Rome)