Pacentro – Most Beautiful Towns in Abruzzo, Italy

Pacentro is a medieval village in Abruzzo, Italy, standing at 650 meters above the sea and surrounded by a panoramic view of nature and mountains.
This place holds a magic atmosphere, and there is nothing better than to spend a day here, getting lost among the narrow stone-paved alleys of the town, admiring the architectural details of the pretty buildings and breathtaking views along the way.

Talking with the locals was stunning to know that until 25y ago, this town was the poorest of the valley, and look at it today! Thanks to tourism, It’s has become a beautiful gem.

The Living Museum

You should not miss to visit the Living Museum, or better known as ‘la casa di Marlurite’. This is an old house where the old lady ‘Mariurita’ lived here until 1978 with 82y old. She was living an absolute simple life of those days, without water & electricity, just with a chimney, its donkey and a bed made of corns’ leaves. Since her death, the house has never been touched and everything it is at its place as it was during her life.

This is the classic example of who the people were living in those days, no joke. This is why many people decided to emigrate to other countries, especially in the USA to find better opportunities.

Chiesa of Santa Maria Maggiore

By the locals known as the church of ‘Santa Maria Maggiore’, dating back to the XV century. With its beautiful white stone facade from the Majella mountain. In the later centuries, the sides altars were decorated with Baroque style and, in the late 19th century, the vaults and the flat ceiling of the central hall were decorated with ‘stucco’ made by Bernardino Feneziani from L’Aquila and the local Attilio De Chellis.

The Castle

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photo credit to mtakens75 (Instagram)

This is the most ancient castle of Abruzzo with its 3 imponent towers, (anciently were 4) was built for a strategic purpose together with the fortified town.
You can visit the castle and enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the Peligna’s Valley.

Madonna’s grandpas’ hometown

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madonna singer abruzzo

Pacentro is also famous for being the hometown of Madonna’s grandparents. Did you know that? As I said before, many locals migrated to the USA and Madonna’s grannies did the same. Probably they were living in the same conditions as the house I showed you before.
Abruzzo has also been the setting for some famous movies. View the list on my blog post about the famous films made in Abruzzo.

Adrenaline

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zip line pacentro abruzzo photo of ziplinemajella

For the adrenaline seekers, there is a brand-new 1km long Zip-line where you can rush through the air with breathtaking speed and view. No need to book in advance, just go there and enjoy the ride. In summer they are open the whole day 10 am to 5 pm, in winter they might have restricted times. For info write the organiser an email at info@ziplinemajella.com or call +39 366 7279724 I’m not sure they speak English, but you can send a WhatsApp message and they will be able to translate your message

Not enough? Take a virtual tour!

The Best Events in Pacentro

The Gypsy race

It’s a barefoot race happening the 1st Sunday of September.
The teenagers of the town go up to the hill in front, and at the sound of the bell, they run down the steep hill barefoot in honour of the Virgin of Loreto.

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gipsy race pacentro italy – photo credit: Start via photopin (license)

Christmas Markets​

Usually occurring every 8th & 9th of December from 10 am to 10 pm.
The town is filled with many stalls with craft gifts, souvenirs, typical local products, hot drinks and many other delicacies!
The nights are animated by live events and lovely Christmas decorations.
For more info, visit their Facebook page.

Traditional food of Abruzzo

Traditional handmade Chitarra

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chitarra pasta recipe teramo abruzzo

Savour the traditional Chitarra (guitar) made with a string tool that looks like a guitar…Sipping local organically produced Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Red Wine, surrounded in a medieval atmosphere, taking you back in time.
Make ‘Chitarra con pallottine’ (pasta guitar with tiny meatballs) at home with my 84y Nonna Amina’s recipe

Arrosticini, Abruzzesi’s favourite food

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arrosticini abruzzo lamb skewer picture

Savour the best ‘Arrosticini’.  Tasty lamb skewers, cooked on a special charcoal burning brazier. Those are Abruzzesi’s favourite food. It’s hard to find the good ones, I spent over 7 months and went over 13 trattorie, gained 23kg (one of the 3 isn’t true) before finding the perfect Arrosticini.
Join my unspoken foodie tours

Formaggio Fritto

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fried cheese from abruzzo

Formaggio fritto literally ‘fried cheese’ is a typical dish from Abruzzo. it’s made with a young cow cheese, dredged with a special batter and then fried. So damn Tasty.

White & Black Truffles

Truffles are the gold of Abruzzo! You have to savour them on top of some pasta, meat, or even have a truffled ‘formaggio fritto’ and end your meal with a ‘Truffle Gelato’
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Join our Abruzzo’s Truffle hunt and lunch.

Wild Game

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wild game meat abruzzo

Savour the local wild game of Abruzzo in a small family-owned restaurant. Courses might include: wild boars, pheasant, deer & hare. Everything should be served with the king of the wines, the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.

Abruzzo Saffron – The king of the spices

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Did you know in Abruzzo we produce saffron? It’s real, even the best chef in the world source saffron from Abruzzo. Abruzzesi saffron meals range from the classic risotto rice to second courses with sheep, desserts and liquors too.

Abruzzo Classic Antipasti Platter

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Ventricina, Prosciutto Nostrano, Salami & Pecorino Cheese, mortadella di Campotosto & Capilommo. Those are the Antipasti platter you must try if you’re in Abruzzo!!

Porchetta – The Queen of Abruzzo

4000y old culinary tradition. Porchetta it’s a whole pig seasoned with garlic, pepper, salt and rosemary. Then is marinated for 24h and slow-cooked for 8/9h in a wooden fired oven.
The crunchy crust on the outside and tender juicy meat on the inside

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best porchetta abruzzo

Vino Cotto

Vino Cotto is an ancient sweet wine, produced by the must of Montepulciano grapes, reduced by 1/3 in a copper pot and then blended with 50+ years old vintages. Following the same process as the balsamic vinegar. Best served after a meal with some homemade ‘biscotti’ or ‘cantucci’.

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vino cotto sweet wine from abruzzo

Learn more about Vino Cotto

Montepulciano D’Abruzzo

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montepulciano d’abruzzo grape photo of prodottitipici.it

The Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is the king of the wines, it’s also one of the most favourite red wines for us Italians.
Taste the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and visit a 400y old family winery
Those are just some of the typical products of the culinary tradition in Abruzzo. I hope this gives you an idea of meals & drinks to taste when you are here in Abruzzo.

5 towns you should not miss nearby Pacentro

Sulmona

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confetti almond coated sugar from sulmona

This is the city of Ovid, rich of history and traditional products like ‘confetti’ (almond coated sweets ), currently exported all around the world.

Scanno

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Photo of Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1951

This lovely ancient village, where the time seems has stopped. Was named as the photographers’ town for the international appeal it has been receiving.
Don’t miss the Scanno’s lake with its heart shape, and to reach the photo spot you have to walk on the ‘love path’…walking through untouched nature habited by bears, wolfs, deers and other loving animals.

Anversa Degli Abruzzi

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Anversa degli abruzzi picture of Borghi piu Belli D’Italia

Another example of a medieval village, also in the network of ‘one of the most beautiful villages of Italy’. Protected by the Sagittario gorges with an impressive view of nature and other historic treasures to be discovered.

Cocullo

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cocullo snake festival

This town hosts one of the strangest festivals of Italy, the Snakes festival.
Every 1st of May, for 350 years locals and now many tourists have been participating in this religious ceremony in honour of the Saint ‘Domenico Abate’. The people carry the Saint’s relict covered with snakes, on a procession descending the town of Cocullo
The ‘snake festival’ it’s a religious ceremony you can’t miss which has been going on for 350 years.

Caramanico Terme

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caramanico terme picture of Comune Caramanico Terme

A medieval hamlet situated in the heart of the Majella National Park. Famous for its sulphurous’ springs, has one of the most exclusive thermal baths of Abruzzo. Great for relaxing and romantic moments.

Pettorano Sul Gizio

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pettorano sul gizio picture of Comune Pettorano

Among the ‘one of the most beautiful towns of Italy’ network. Don’t miss to walk around the alleys, visit the ‘Castello’ and admire its architectural beauties
Do not miss the traditional Food & Folklore Festivals around the region of Abruzzo.

Nearby Airports:

  • Pescara, ‘Abruzzo international airport’ runs flights from/to LONDON STANSTED (STN), BRUSSELS CHARLEROI (CRL), BERGAMO ORIO AL SERIO (BGY), BRUSSELS CHARLEROI (CRL), BUCAREST (OTP), FRANKFURT HAHN (HHN), MILAN LINATE (LIN)
  • Rome Fiumicino or Ciampino airports for international flights

If you are looking for organising a trip to Abruzzo, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.

Learn More about our available experiences and multi-day tours at ExperienceBellaVita.com

With Amore From

Marino Cardelli

Marino Cardelli

Marino Cardelli

Food & Wine Enthusiast, 2nd level Qualified Wine Sommelier, Licensed Tour Leader of the Abruzzo Region, Official Abruzzo Smart Ambassador. I try to create environments & opportunities for Abruzzo's small business, young people and our traditions to thrive through sustainable tourism.

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