Surrounded on the north by the Marche, west by Lazio and south by Molise, the
region of Abruzzo spreads out from the Apennines Mountains to the Adriatic Sea. The landscape is austere with a
primitive beauty, untamed mountains and oasis of unspoiled territories where the National Parks of Abruzzo, of
Sirente-Velino, of Majella-Morrone and Gran Sasso-Laga are located. In particular the Park of Abruzzo is a refuge
for wild wolfs, for the Marsican Bear, for wild boars and numerous animal species.
The mountainous terrain of the region does not favor agriculture and sheep rearing is the predominant economic
activity. The roasted or baked lamb is the preferred dish, and the baby lamb is stewed with onions, celery, olives,
dry tomato and wine. Mutton
cooked with onions, tomato, pork, rosemary and white wine is a special occasion dish and its sauce is
used as a condiment for the pasta served with it.Suckling
pigs are roasted, the older and taster pork end up as
Cheeses and sheep milk products are manufactured; the
saffron mozzarella is a local specialty. The costal strip
facing the Adriatic Sea is narrow and has no inlets and has no good ports. Varieties of fish are caught and are a
good source of food. The rivers and lakes provide trout
in large quantity, and the ingenuity of the people found original ways to cook it.
The province of Teramo is famous for the ‘ndocca-‘ndocca,
a stew made with pig skin, ears, snout, feet and small chunks of meat boiled for a few hours in water
with herbs and spices and when tender is cooked for an additional hour with the addition of chopped
tomato. Stoccafisso, dry
cod fish, is stewed with tomato, celery, onions and abundant red hot pepper.
In L’Aquila trout are stewed with tomato or baked with herbs and the locally produced saffron; in the
sausages are made sweet with honey and hot with red pepper
crazy. L’Aquila is famous for the panarda, a banquet for important and great festivity consisting of a
meal of many courses, over forty, and lasting for almost 12 hours.
The southern part of the region was inhabited by Samnite tribes, they were mostly hunters and fishermen, their
cooking was done on the spit or in the oven; they consumed a lot of legumes and milk products.
At the mouth of the river Pescara, the harbor city of Pescara was founded.
Pescara has one of the largest fishing fleet in the Adriatic Sea.
Fish is part of the local diet together with local vegetables and legumes.
Skate and palumbo,
the sand shark, are prepared alla Scapece,
fried and marinated a few days in a sauce made with onion, oil, vinegar garlic, sometime saffron produced at
L’Aquila, octopus is made al Purgatorio, in
purgatory, with a spiced tomato and red chili pepper sauce; fillets of mackerel
are baked with breadcrumbs after being marinated in a mixture of vinegar, oil, garlic, capers and
In Chieti many types of pasta are made, but the area is mostly famous for the maccheroni alla
chitarra, square spaghetti, usually
served with a tomato and pancetta
(not cured bacon) sauce and the localpecorino
d’Abruzzo and Montepulciano are among
the most popular wines.