Southern Italy ,offen known as the Mezzogiorno ("Midday"), welcomes visitors with vistas of beautiful stretches of dramatic coastline, turquoise blue Tyrrhenian sea, charming quaint village, amazing archaeological sites , towering cliffs , yellow lemon groves and the perfect Mediterranean climate. It is one of the most enchanting coastline in Europe.
South Italy encompasses six of the country’s 20 regions:
Abruzzo, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Molise and Campania
The UNESCO World Heritage Sites in these regions are:
The Sassi and the Park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera
Castel del Monte
Sanctuary of San Michele (Longobard Site)
The Trulli of Alberobello
Campania (see Campania and Amalfi Coast)
So if you’re tired of the same-old same-old city tours of Rome or Venice, why not experience the authentic South Italy?
By Valter Cirillo - Pixabay
A region nestled in the Apennines and the Adriatic coast, just a couple of hours away from Rome.
Abruzzo is world-famous for its wildlife parks (Abruzzo National Park, Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park, Majella National Park), one of the Italian regions where it is possible to admire a realm of unspoiled nature, perfectly merges with the beauty of the valleys, mountains and tablelands. The highest peak of the Apennines, Corno Grande is located in this region. It is a land rich in history too. Abruzzo was an important military base during the Kingdom of Naples.
Below are some of the dazzling gems not to be miss while you are in Abruzzo region.
The city of L’Aquila, nestled on a hill, in the valley of the Aterno River, surrounded by the Apennine Mountains, is one of the oldest city in Italy. An earthquake that struck L'Aquila on April 6, 2009, damaged many of the city's medieval buildings. However, it has been reconstructed and many important monuments have been beautifully restored, although there is still much reconstruction going on. The main square and the main streets in the old city are buzzing with life now. Visitors spending really helps the local economy and this great city to rise again! After all L'Aquila is still worth a visit!
Some of ancient monuments that remains perfectly intact are Fountain of 99 spouts, Collemaggio Church and Saint Bernardino Church.
Fountain of 99 spouts
An unique medieval fountain, built in the 13th century, lined with 99 unique stone faces whose origins and meaning remain unknown, is an icon of the town of L'Aquila, and certainly is one of the best-known monuments in Abruzzo. The sound of flowing water is really impressive and can already be heard from afar.
Amiternum was an ancient Sabine city, then Roman city and later bishopric. It is located in an uncontaminated countryside iFor history buff, you can see a part of the ancient romans’ significant mark in the site of Amiternum , the remains of an amphitheatre and a great theater. This place is very well preserved and surrounded by a treasury of natural beauty. Amiternum was the birthplace of the historian Sallust.
By Lasacrasillaba -wikimedia.org
One of the oldest standing forts in Italy, the spectacular Rocca Calascio. This is the highest mountaintop fort in Italy, 1460m above sea level. Rocca Calascio was initially built as a watchtower in the 10th century, was gradually expanded over the following centuries especially during the Medici family in the late 16th century. An earthquake badly damaged the fort in 1703, Rocca Calascio has been abandoned ever since. However, the view still exists and remains as breathtaking as it was a millennium ago.
A city in province of L'Aquila, has become famous in Italy for its lake, which is the biggest Italian man-made lake. It is located in the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park. Visitors usually view it from the peaks of the Alga District and the Gran Sasso. In summer the lake is a rendezvous for canoeing, windsurfing, picnicking or simple romantic walks during the sunset hours. Its height of 1313 metres above sea level guarantees a refreshing temperature. During the winter the lake freezes completely , while in autumn, many people come to admire the colorful foliage.
By Valter Cirillo-Pixabay
Castel del Monte Abruzzo
Castel del Monte, a charming village in an awesome location, which covers the top of a hill in the Gran Sasso mountain range. Around the town are strong defensive walls and five defensive gates dated from the Medici period in 16th century. Its architecture mostly medieval and Renaissance. From the village, you will have breathtaking views over the surrounding mountains. It is classified as one of the "borghi piu belli d'Italia" or "one of the most beautiful villages of Italy".
NB: Not to be confused with Castel del Monte, Puglia (Apulia), a 13th-century castle and World Heritage Site in Andria.
Church of San Marco Evangelista
By Ra Boe - Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 de
Castelli nested at the foot of a mountain, surrounded by the thick forests of the national park, is one of the most dramatic settings in Abruzzo. It is world famous for hand-painted ceramics, Maiolica (Majolica ), a form of brightly colored hand-painted pottery, which were collected by the nobility of Europe for centuries and are still produced today by local artists. There are plenty of shops and factories to visit, and you can make your own Majolica masterpiece while you are in Castelli!
By Pietro Valocchi-flickr-CC BY-SA 2.0
Civitella del Tronto
Civitella del Tronto is another enchanting town in the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park. It is home to the largest fortress in Italy. The Fortress of Civitella del Tronto, one of the most important engineering works on the Italian peninsula. Built from the fifteenth century by the Aragonese, later enlarged and modified by the Spanish Habsburgs and the Bourbons. It is now an interesting Museum of Weapons. It offers stunning views over three different mountain ranges, the villages and the Adriatic sea.