Before being conquered by the Romans, Abruzzo was inhabited by the Italic people, of which one particularly pugnacious tribe was the Samnites. The tribe fought against Roman rule so fiercely that when Rome finally conquered the area they named it Samnium in honor of the Samnites. After their conquest, the Romans established the first series of roads in the area and added luxuries such as spas and amphitheaters. Many elements of Tuscan Renaissance architecture can be seen in the churches and cathedrals of the area.
Until 1963, Molise and Abruzzo were combined into a single territory known as Abruzzi.
The western part of the Abruzzo is dominated by the Appenine Mountains. This part of the mountain range offers slopes ideal for skiers and campers. The eastern Abruzzo has miles of coastline along the Adriatic Sea offering some of Italy’s best beaches. The miles between the hills and the mountains are comprised of serene villages where artisans work metal and various other materials into beautiful works of art, tools, jewelry, and various other masterpieces designed for everyday use.
Perhaps the most iconic and internationally recognized food from Abruzzo is the pepperoncini. The small, semi-spicy, pickled pepper finds its way into many different pasta dishes, such as maccheroni alla chitarra and various pork dishes. Brodetto, a fish stew made by combining fresh fish, garlic, tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves, is served along the Adriatic part of the Abruzzo. The most famous local dessert is Parozzo, a soft cake that incorporates almonds and is decadently covered with chocolate.
The Abruzzo boasts a single DOCG — Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane — but is far more widely known for its DOC-level Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. It produces what can be described as a large volume of wine, some of which is high quality and some of which is low quality. They use the Montepulciano grape, which produces large yields of über-ripe fruit. Rosato versions of Montepulciano are bottled under the term cerasuolo. For several years, the perception of Abruzzese wine suffered due to the massive production figures from a geographically small area. Good-quality wines from this area, on the other hand, can exhibit a mineralic component because of the calcareous clay soils that cover the area.
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