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Abruzzo for 5 days

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I'm planning a road trip in Southern Italy. We will be spending 12 days traveling from Rome to Puglia and then I'm considering heading back towards Rome via Abruzzo to spend a few days eating more delicious food and taking in the beautiful landscape of the mountains and the sea, before we fly home from Rome.

Abruzzo seems to be a region not very well covered in the guide books which is what is drawing me to this off the beaten path destination. I would love the input from fellow fodorites who have been, as to where to base ourselves for some nice day trips not too far afield. We will be traveling the 3rd week of May. We enjoy hiking, exploring quaint villages, and seaside strolls. We prefer Peschi over Carne but in Italy willing to eat whats local and fresh.

Any specific B&B and or agriturismos, and restaurants recommendations would be greatly appreciated. From the little research I have done thus far I am leaning towards using Sulmona as our base.

Grazie!

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    Sulmona is a very nice small city, the birthplace of Ovid. Abruzzo, like its northern neighbor, Le Marche, is a very beautiful and overlooked region. However, it's a favorite summer getaway spot for Italians, especially those from the Rome area. If you like to hike, a lot of the towns organize hikes, at little or no cost. We stayed in a B&B in Pescasseroli where the owner's brother, a former park guard, took us on a free mountain hike that lasted over four hours.

    There are lots of pretty little towns; Scanno is a little town with a lace-making tradition, where some of the women still wear traditional costume. However, rather than have any particular destination in mind, I suggest that you just drive around and stop where you see anything interesting or attractive. Most of the towns are really tiny, so you could see them in half an hour.

    It's almost impossible to go wrong in this area as far as restaurants go. There isn't a great difference from one to the next. In other words, there are almost no bad restaurants, but also not many that are especially elegant or innovative. You'll usually get good local cuisine, reasonably priced.

    L'Aquila was a very beautiful city when we saw it; it's heartbreaking what the earthquake did to it, and how very little the government has done to rebuild it. I have a feeling it will become a ghost town.

    Along the coast, Giulianova is famous for its brodetto, a fish soup. I've never eaten there, but most restaurants will offer it, although some require that you order it in advance, and most won't make it for less than two people. Le Marche also specializes in this dish.

    By the way, when speaking of fish in general, as a food, we say "pesce" (singular) rather than "peschi", which sounds like those swimming around in the sea. "Carne" is also singular.

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