Last weekend we ended up doing a last minute trip to Abruzzo. (Like Tuscany and Puglia, Abruzzo is another state/region in Italy.)
Even though it offers dramatic mountains and beaches and you can reach it in two hours, we’d never made it over.
Would I go back? Yes.
Was it our most amazing trip? Well, no.
But honestly the weather and other factors were working against us.
We decided to stop in Sulmona, home of Ovid, for lunch on Saturday. With our plan-a-trip-in-two-days-research, we somehow missed that they were having their annual festival. This wasn’t a kind of happy accident look-at-this-cool-festival. The merriment would all be happening in the evening. It was more of a uh, the whole main piazza is closed for horse racing and bleachers. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it gave a different feel to the town.
Sulmona does have an aqueduct running by the main piazza, a pretty sweet park, and some gorgeous mountain views. We were doing alright.
But then the rain. We flirted with the rain on our drive, but we had a dry window where we could see town. After that, rain all day. I mean ALL Day, and I’m talking about the kind of drenching, soaking rain where you’d think it couldn’t possibly keep raining that hard, but it did.
The rain meant that we didn’t get to explore our agriturismo (and its pool), Montupoli, as much as we would have liked that afternoon either.
The next day it was dry, and we had high hopes for the beach. (We hit up Francavilla al Mare beside Pescara. Looked like all beach clubs. We did Capo Verde Beach Club, but neighboring Kailua Beach looked better.)
While it was dry, the beach was windy. Super windy. Mac was howling if you walked by the water. I wasn’t cold per se, but I didn’t take my cover up off. We dug in the sand for a few hours and then jetted. But, hey, the wind meant it wasn’t crowded!
All of our weather related mishaps were definitely balanced out by some pretty spectacular food. Think grilled meats. The kind where a tiny part of you WANTS to lean over the grill to give yourself grilled meat hair so you can keep the scent. We didn’t even get around to sampling the pizza di sfrigole, pizza dough infused with smoked lard. I would definitely come back for the food.
In Sulmona, Hostaria dell’ Arco had antipasti for days. This spread made me so happy. My mixed grill was pretty fantastic. After two years in Italy, I finally had my first affogato! (Espresso with gelato) Believe the hype.
At Montupoli, our whole meal was tasty, but the arrosticini, grilled lamb kabobs, were the star of the meal. Salty, crispy, savory. I wanted to (and did) put a lot of these in my mouth. I even saved some for breakfast which worked well because this was definitely a cornetto and yogurt sort of place.
We’ll try again. Maybe some light hiking next time. A friend has had great experiences at the refugios there. Or maybe we’ll just slip across the border for lunch.