The region of Abruzzo (Abruzzo in Italian) is located in the southern center of Italy and extends from the heart of the Apennines to the Adriatic Sea, through a mountainous, wild and abrupt territory. Abruzzo is also known as the land of yellow gold thanks to its valuable saffron that has protected designation of origin. The Abruzzo saffron route shows you different, very beautiful and unspoiled natural areas of Italy.
The area of Abruzzo offers its visitors a lot of scenery and different landscapes. In the high mountains, between majestic summits arise tourist resorts and resorts for the ski like Pescasseroli, Rivisondoli and Roccaraso. Hiking lovers can go up to the lofty peaks of Gran Sasso, the Monti della Laga and the Majella. The journey from Gran Sasso to the sea crosses territories rich in history, traditions and artistic testimonies. There are also several nature reserves such as the Abruzzo National Park, the Gran Sasso Park and the Montes del Laga or the Majella.
For those who prefer sea and beach, the coast of Abruzzo is characterized by long, sandy beaches in the northern part. In the south pebble beaches predominate. The provinces of Abruzzo are: L’Aquila (the capital), Teramo, Chieti, Pescara.
The most artistic city in the region is L’Aquila, located on the slopes of Gran Sasso and characterized by its great artistic heritage. The city of “celestinian pardon” offers multiple itineraries of art and history. Of particular note are the Basilica of San Bernardino, Basilica of Santa Maria de Collemaggio or the Fountain of the 99 pipes, decorated with 99 stone masks. Unfortunately, the earthquake of April 6, 2009 caused serious damage to the city, but you can still visit important historical monuments.
In the Adriatic area, characterized by its long and sandy beaches, the city of Pescara stands out. Other tourist places in the area that are worth visiting are: Tortoreto, Giulianova, Silvi Marina, Roseto and down south Ortona, Vasto and San Salvo. The town of Chieti, situated on the hills near the coast, houses an important 11th century cathedral and the National Archaeological Museum. Another city that you must visit is Teramo, with its medieval cathedral and remains of an amphitheater of Roman times.
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The land of yellow gold: The saffron of the Abruzzo
Gastronomic tourism is always a good option. The region of Abruzzo is known as the land of yellow gold thanks to its aromatic saffron that has protected designation of origin. Saffron gives flavor to dishes and has various healing properties. The saffron route will reveal you one of the most beautiful itineraries in Italy: the highlands of saffron, where the red stamens of the flower, in autumn they become violet, staining the fields of a color and a unique landscape.
In the province of Aquila diverse zones of culture of saffron extend. An area crossed by the Regional Park of Sirente-Velino and bounded to the north by the National Park of Gran Sasso and by the mountains of the Laga, and to the south by the National Park of the Maiella. In the Navello plateau in autumn, in the season of flowering, saffron crops color the fields in violet.
Another area of saffron production is Cocullo. To get there you have to cross the beautiful Sagittarian valley. In its gorges, you will find a wonderful area dedicated to the cultivation of saffron. The route continues to the high plateau of the Rocche, which stands out for its rich artistic heritage.
The best time to visit the saffron fields is autumn. In the last hours of the night, the saffron releases its perfume and the farmers pick up the saffron very delicately. The saffron flowers are collected one by one, the pistils are manually separated and dried during the same harvesting day.
Saffron arrived in Abruzzo in the year 1300, thanks to the friar and herbalist Domenico Cantucci. Back from a trip through Spain, the friar brought to Novello the bulbs of the original flowers. Saffron became a very important element for the economy of the city. The basilica and the hospital were built with taxes taken out of the saffron trade. They say that one of the main virtues of saffron is its anti-aging power, in fact it is used in traditional Chinese medicine as elixir for a long life. Saffron is very expensive, due to its handmade method of cultivation. To obtain a kilo of pure saffron it takes almost two hundred thousand flowers.