Travel To The Abruzzo, Italy

Ah, The Abruzzo–This Is The Real Italy

“‘BARGAIN! Independent house, 130 square meters on two floors, composed of: living room with fireplace, large kitchen, two bedrooms, bathroom. Private garden of 2,000 square meters. Good condition, recently restored. €75.000.’

“Considering this house is in Loreto Aprutino,” writes Euro-editor Roseanna Keats, “it sounds like an outstanding bargain to me, too. Just under US$100,000 for a home in Italy–and not just anywhere in Italy. Loreto Aprutino is one of the most enticing hill villages in the Abruzzo.

“Ahh, the Abruzzo–it’s hard to think of a lovelier corner of Italy. Its beaches are golden, and the sea rolls out like a giant bolt of turquoise silk. Eagles swoop down from craggy eyries…wild peonies and gentians color the alpine meadows.

“On my first night here, I saw bats. On the second night, glow-worms. On the third, in the plum-colored dusk, I heard the hoot of an owl. These creatures are like the messengers of old magic–and the Abruzzo has plenty of that.

“Stitching together seascapes with lush mountain valleys, this region is one of Italy’s secret treasures–and you’ll love it. You can have the best of all worlds here–and if 75,000 euro sounds ridiculously cheap for Italy, you haven’t heard the half of it. In other villages, habitable village houses are on the market for as little as 28,000 euro. At current exchange rates, that’s US$36,400.

“No over-crowding, no heavy industry. Hiding away down its curvy roads are castles, vineyards, and villages made of stone and memory. Life in the Abruzzo hasn’t changed that much over the years, and it’s like wandering into a gentler, kinder yesterday…a yesterday with little or no crime and neighbors who watch out for each other.

“Old ladies in pinafores bring their chairs outside and sit in gossipy groups, stringing onions into plaits. Instead of playing computer games, young boys are outside playing soccer. Families shop at open-air markets, not hypermarkets–and if they don’t produce their own wine, they buy it from local vineyards.

“Sure, it’s ‘everyday wine,’ but, at 8 euro (US$10) for five liters, who can complain? Relatively unknown to foreign visitors, the sparsely populated Abruzzo is where central Italy merges into the languid realms of the deep south. Even though many parts of the area are only an hour or two’s drive from Rome, it clings onto its secret feel…”

Kathleen Peddicord