Abruzzo is probably one of the least known or explored regions of Italy. Yet, it’s only a couple of hours from Rome. We are fortunate to have family there or perhaps we might not have stopped there last summer.
One sunny June afternoon guided by Marta, our grand niece, we explored the costal area south of Pescara. Bouncing from site to site we immersed ourselves in an area rich in history and natural beauty.
Americans hear much about our role in taking Italy from the Germans during World War II, but we are generally ignorant of the role our allies played in that effort. The first place Marta showed us was the Moro River Canadian War Cemetery. It was completely unexpected experience and a spot I’m sure I would have bypassed if we hadn’t had a local guide.
Inside the entryway is a short history of the cemetery and the campaign to retake the eastern side of the Italian boot. Our Canadian, English, Australians and other allies captured this side of the Italian peninsula.
This is a sad place and a poignant reminder of the terrible costs of war. We viewed a particularly touching photo of a young Canadian and his fiancé attached to his grave marker.
Marta drove us along the coast on winding roads, stopping at several places overlooking the sea. We spotted several “trabocchi” in route. Trabocchi are wooden fishing platforms built our over the sea. Most of them are not in use, but restored to preserve the historic character of the area. We visited a working “Trabucco” (it’s along the same coast to the south) a couple of years ago in Puglia, but that’s another story.
For our last stop we visited the Abbey of San Giovanni in Vernere. This hilltop structure, built in 1165 overlooks the Adriatic coast and has a park that is a great spot for a summer picnic. We encountered a couple of other Americans there and, like us, they were connected to family.
The cloister pleased us the most as it was full of flowers and green plants. The interior of the abbey, although spacious, was rather plain. Best of all there we had the place to ourselves and only a few other visitors.
We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly wandering from one site to another, always not far from the sea. We departed for an evening with family at Marta’s place. The pizza was excellent.