The landscape of the Abruzzo
Hardly any other Italian region offers such a diverse and varied landscape as Abruzzo. It is less than 50 km from the gigantic Gran Sasso massif and covered with alpines and hills to the flat, endless sandy beaches of the Adriatic coast.
Natural Wonders of Abruzzo: A journey through the region's diverse landscapes
Amid the Abruzzi, the head of the Apennines, the “Corno Grande”, around 2,912m high, towers with its striking, rugged silhouette. All around it rise the highest peaks of the Italian peninsula, south of the Alps. The “Corno Piccolo”, the “little horn”, still reaches 2,655m. On the north side of the Corno Grande lies Europe’s southernmost glacier, the Ghiacciaio del Calderone, at an altitude of about 2,800m.
To the south of the mountain massif is the Majella mountain range, whose Monte Amaro reaches an impressive 2,795m and Monte Aquaviva reaches 2,737m. The mountain ranges of the elongated Monte Sirente (2,3349m) and Monte Velino (2,487m) complete the Abruzzese “mountain triangle”. Limestone mainly characterises the mountains, which offer gorges the water has dug deep into the mountains, grottos rich in stalactites and jagged mountain peaks. The Marsica area, which includes 37 municipalities in the province of L’Aquila, was once home to Lake Fucin, which was once the third-largest lake in Italy.
Endless hills with wide valleys stretch from the foothills to the Adriatic coast. In the valley of Vomano south of the province of Teramo and the lower Sangro valley, the industry has settled alongside agriculture.
Olives and wine are the main crops grown on the slopes of the steep hills. A special feature of the Abruzzese hilly landscapes is the “calanchi”, rugged notches on the otherwise fertile slopes caused by soil erosion.
The Abruzzo coastline consists mainly of fine, wide sandy beaches whose water quality attracts little attention from tourists. In 2018, nine beaches in Abruzzo received the strict “Bandiera Blu” seal of quality from the European F.E.E. (Foundation for Environmental Education) for clean, intact stretches of coastline and the best water quality.
In the province of Teramo between Marinsicuro and Silvi are the so-called “Seven Sisters”. These are seven dreamy bathing resorts lined up next to each other, of which Alba Adriatica, Giulianova, Roseto degli Abruzzi, Pineto and Silvi are among the most beautiful. Further south, romantic bays cut deep into the coastal cliffs from Ortona to Vasto and San Salvo. In the far south lies the most beautiful part of the Abruzzese coast: you will find crystal-clear water and diverse marine flora and fauna in the nature reserve between Lido do Casalbordino and Punta Aderci.