Large or small, the village is the heart of an urban landscape, a place of identity and memory, capable of creating those special atmospheres that make us feel good, making the slow pace of a simple walk pleasant and regenerating. Here then are the villages to recharge your batteries in.
Ortona, ‘village by the sea’. The Aragonese Castle, a sixteenth-century fortress overlooking the sea and garrison of the city; is the ideal spot from which to explore the historic centre. From here you can proceed along the scenic eastern promenade or stroll through the streets of the centre: in each direction the pleasure is assured by the typical atmosphere of the seaside village.
Guardiagrele, ‘lively village’. Passing through the gate of St. John flanked by the shops of reputable blacksmiths you are immersed in a network of ancient streets guided by the aromas of the delicious products of the famous artisan bakeries, amidst the architecture in Maiella stone, rich in art treasures such as the magnificent Gothic façade of Santa Maria Maggiore and the fourteenth-century church of San Francesco, embellished with its cloister.
Lanciano, ‘village of miracles’. The four ancient districts of the city are worth a comprehensive visit and strictly on foot. Not to be missed is the underground archaeological route, Piazza Plebiscito with the immense Cathedral of Madonna del Ponte, the remains of the walls of the medieval city, the ‘Montanare Towers’, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Maggiore with the beautiful fourteenth-century portal and the sacred relic of the Eucharistic Miracle kept in the Church of St. Francis.
Roccascalegna and Gessopalena, ‘ancient villages’. Within a radius of a few kilometres, connected by a scenic country lane, are two picturesque medieval villages, that of Roccascalegna, recognised with the Italian Touring Club orange flag (awarded to small towns in Italy with a population 15,000 or less, for their excellence in tourism, hospitality and relating to the environment), which climbs up to the scenic castle, and the abandoned village of Gessopalena with its streets, buildings and stairways carved into the gypsum and within walking distance of the new town.
Vasto, ‘legendary village’. Whether it was founded by Diomedes, back from Troy, or by Aimone, comrade in arms of King Pipino, the origins of the city are lost in myth. Your visit will be like a trip through time: Roman mosaics, the imposing Caldoresco fortifications, the wonderful churches and the majestic Palazzo d’Avalos, the eastern walk and the Amblingh Loggia, the beautiful balcony suspended over the countryside rich in olive and orange trees and vegetable gardens that slope downwards towards the sea.