Characterized by broad, sandy beaches in the north to more rugged terrain in the south, Abruzzo’s 80 miles of coastline attracts visitors from near and far. In fact, the region has 26 beaches on that meet the criteria of the Blue Flag organization, which rates beaches based on water quality, environmental management and safety. Locals recommend Alba Adriatica and Martinsicuro on the northern coast of Abruzzo and Vasto in the south. Silvi Marina, in the middle, is frequently on lists of the best beaches in Italy.
While touring the coastline, you can’t help but spot a distinctly Abruzzese institution – trabocchi. These are huts built on stilts on the beach or the rocks with nets hooked on to outriggers, giving fishermen access to deeper waters – and the fish there – without needing boats.
The chaos of beams, ropes and wood make from local trees or planks that have washed up on shore can make for a bewildering sight but the trabocchi serve their purpose well. With fishing not as plentiful as it once was, few make their living from trabocchi but rather use them on weekends.
Slow Food has dedicated a biannual festival called Cala Lenta to the trabocchi – the next one slated for summer 2019. The event celebrates the traditional seafood of the “Trabocchi Coast” such as scapece (fish cooked in vinegar, garlic and saffron) and shellfish and potato soup. Special dinners are arranged on the trabocchi themselves.
You don’t need to just visit Abruzzo for the festival, as all summer long, local families arrange to cook for guests on these historic “fishing machines.” The Veri family of the small coastal town of Fuggitella owns Trabocco Pesce Palombo and offers an authentic trabacco meal including fish stew, sole and mussels. (39 333 305 5300)