Abruzzo Map and Guide

  • 01 of 04

    Abruzzo Region Map Showing Top Places to Go

    abruzzo region map
    Map of Top Places to Go in Abruzzo. by James Martin

    The Abruzzo region is one of the less-visited regions of Italy. Dominated by national and regional parks, the Abruzzo is a wild and extremely scenic country, with many unspoiled and picturesque medieval villages and interesting festivals with ancient roots. For this reason, a rental or lease car is advisable.

    If you are traveling by train, major cities with stops include Avezzano, Sulmona, L'Aquila, and Pescara on the coast.

    You'll occasionally see references to the "Abruzzi" region. This is because the Abruzzo was at one time divided into three regions, Abruzzo Citeriore, Abruzzo Ulteriore I and Abruzzo Ulteriore II, so the plural, Abruzzi was used to describe the whole. This is no longer the case officially but some people still use the plural to refer to this region.

    To the north of Abruzzo is the beautiful region of Le Marche and to the south is the smaller and even less-known Molise region.

    Abruzzo Distances From L'Aquila

    L'Aquila is the main city of the Abruzzo interior. Here are some distances in Kilometers from major cities in Italy:

    • Rome 116 km
    • Bologna 392 km
    • Florence 363 km
    • Milan 604 km

    Abruzzo Cities

    L'Aquila, the major city of the Abruzzo interior, is a medieval town in a pretty mountain setting. It has a well-preserved castle with a museum, a picturesque medieval quarter, and good shops and restaurants.

    Sulmona is a smaller city, at the confluence of two rivers with mountains as a backdrop, that makes a good base for exploring the region. It has a large, round pizza and a good medieval center.

    Pescara was badly bombed during the war but its a good example of a modern Italian city. Pescara has a nice seaside promenade, good seafood restaurants, lots of nightlife, and a large archaeological museum. From Pescara, you can visit other towns along the coast.

    Continue to 2 of 4 below.
  • 02 of 04

    Highlights of the Abruzzo Region

    santo stefano in abruzzo
    The Abruzzo Village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio. by Martha Bakerjian

    What to See in the Abruzzo

    Castles: In the region surrounding L'Aquila there were once 99 castles. Today you can still see the ruins of many of them and a few that are well preserved.

    Walled medieval villages: Some of the castles also include whole villages. Inside the walls, you can imagine life as it was in medieval times. Fontecchio is a good example.

    Picturesque Villages: The Abruzzo region is dotted with charming villages, many where time seems to stand still. The village of ​Santo Stefano di Sessanio, shown in the photo, is one my favorites along with Rocca Calascio near it, shown in the photo on the following page.

    Caverns: Grotte di Stiffe is one of the top caves to visit in Italy. A river runs through the cave and in spring there's a waterfall inside.

    Roman Ruins: Even in this remote area there are good Roman ruins. The best is Alba Fucens.

    Continue to 3 of 4 below.
  • 03 of 04

    Abruzzo Mountains

    photo of rocca di calascio
    Rocca di Calascio, Abruzzo. Martha Bakerjian

    The high village of Rocca di Calascio is an abandoned fortress and surrounding Borgo. Recently a restaurant has opened in the village and some of the houses have been renovated to make rooms for travelers.

    Mountains and Abruzzo National Park

    The Abruzzo National Park, centered around the town of Pascasseroli, has only one driving road but lots of hiking and biking trails for all ability levels. There are seven visitor centers where you can get maps of the trails. Guided tours can be arranged in Pascasseroli. To arrive by public transportation take a train to Avezzano and then a bus to Pascasseroli.

    The Gran Sasso is the highest point on the Italian peninsula. The Gran Sasso has hiking trails, spectacular spring wildflowers, and skiing in winter.

    Continue to 4 of 4 below.
  • 04 of 04

    Abruzzo Travel Guide and Where to Stay

    abruzzo village and mountains
    Village of Fossa and Mountains in the Abruzzo. Martha Bakerjian

    We stayed at Monastero Fortezza di Santo Spirito, a restored 13th century fortress monastery in a beautiful setting on a hill, about 11 miles southeast of L'Aquila. The photo above was taken on a walk from the monastery. In Santo Stefano, you can stay in the Sextantio Abergo Diffuso with rooms scattered throughout the village.

    More details about all the towns shown on the map, as well as detailed visiting information, can be found in our Abruzzo Travel Guide and in The Abruzzo: Beauty and Nature in Italy's Backcountry.