Calascio: Best Kept Secret in Italy

When you think of a perfect honeymoon location, what’s usually the top pick?  Italy!  And for very good reasons – the food, the scenery, the wine, the coffee, the rolling hills, the history…  You get the idea.  I haven’t been for years, and this would be Brendan’s first trip to pasta country, so we booked it.

Photo Sep 20, 7 31 10 AM

Since we were flying into Rome, we decided to devote a few days to the city before moving onto the less explored, less commercial central region of Abruzzo.

Brendan cashed in his hard-earned points and booked us a room at the Rome Cavalieri (Waldorf Astoria, Rome) (holy buckets), and we proceeded to hit up every major attraction – the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon, and the Vatican just to name a few.  We also kicked off our daily lunch regimen of gelato and espresso.

On the third day we were off to Abruzzo and the real adventure of the trip.  We rented a car and took the scenic route from Rome to Calascio, one of a dozen Abruzzo area, 9th century stone villages clinging to mountaintops.  A friend of Brendan’s lives in Calascio and generously lent us his villa while we were in town – and stayed close enough to play tour guide through the region.

View from Calascio

Calascio is most famous for Rocca Calascio, the highest fortress in the Apennine Mountains, looming above the village.

The original village at the foot of Rocca Calascio has been abandoned for hundreds of years.  But about two decades ago, a couple started buying up the property of the abandoned village and turned it into a bed and breakfast – Rifugio della Rocca – complete with a restaurant, cafe and a modest concert hall.

Sulmona

Valle Reale

When we first decided to do Abruzzo instead of the more famous regions of Italy, I had no idea what to expect.  It turned out to be one of the best travel decisions we could have made.

I recommend this area to any and everyone planning an Italian vacation, and no one has been disappointed.  Its worth the food alone, although I’ve found this true for any region of Italy.  But sometimes the less known is the most fun – do yourself a favor and visit Abruzzo next time you find yourself in pasta country.

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