What to see. Trabocchi coast and Terre del Sangro Aventino
Being both close to the sea and to the Central Apennine mountains, our property is in the ideal location for a wonderful holiday.
Just 3 km from the farm, you can relax on the beaches of the Abruzzo coast, with its array of small bays and sandy shorelines.
The coast at San Vito Chietino and the neighbouring village of Rocca San Giovanni is known as the costa dei Trabocchi, famous for its characteristic fishing huts built on piles, built in the 17th century and still in use to this day. The sea in this area is so pristine and crystal clear that for several years both villages have earned the coveted Blue Flag award from Legambiente (the biggest Italian environmental organisation).
Abruzzo is the region of National Parks. The Parco nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise, Parco nazionale del Gran Sasso e dei Monti della Laga, Parco nazionale della Majella and the Parco naturale regionale Velino Sirente are about an hour’s drive along an excellent wide dual carriageway.
Lovers of history and architectural beauty will enjoy Lanciano, the ancient Roman city of Anxanum, regarded as one of the most interesting sites in Abruzzo and located just 10 km from San Vito Chietino.
From its Roman beginnings, Lanciano developed into a key Longobard viceroyalty during medieval times, with over 40 feods under its direct control. As Lanciano’s reputation as an artistic and trading centre grew, an important trade fair was established here. At the end of August, Lanciano holds a well-known historical festival known as Mastrogiurato, reviving ancient celebrations.
Well worth a visit are the ancient Roman bridge of Diocletian, at the centre of the city, and the 14th century cathedral of Santa Maria del Ponte at the top of the hill, and the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, built in 1227 on the ruins of an ancient temple to Apollo. Further along the streets of the old city, we come across the Church of San Francesco, built in 1258, which holds the relics of the Eucharistic Miracle, and is a popular pilgrimage site, while at the top of the hill stand the imposing Torri Montare, relics of the imposing medieval fortifications. In recent years, the towers have been used for a series of summer concerts and theatre productions run by Estate musicale frentana, and the towers provide excellent panoramic views over the Sangro valley.
Another site not to be missed is the Castle of Roccascalegna, 40 km from San Vito Chietino, with its splendid views across hillsides swathed with olive groves and vineyards to the most important and impressive in Abruzzo: San Giovanni in Venere, just 12 km from the farm. Founded before the end of the 8th century, tradition has it that this abbey was built on the ruins of an ancient temple of Venus, and was inhabited by Benedictine monks from 1015 onwards. Today you can still admire the church, an outstanding example of Cistercian art, the cloister and its monastery, which are built on the top of a promontory with splendid views of the valley and the coastline.
Even though Il Gelso does not provide any restaurant facilities of its own, there are plenty of restaurants in the surrounding area where you can enjoy the best of the Abruzzo’s traditional cuisine, such as ventricina, a spicy salami, the guitar pasta known as pasta alla chitarra, the fish soup brodetto di pesce alla vastese, or the mouth-watering almond biscuits and cakes.
In San Vito Marina, enjoy a lunch at L’Angolino di Filippo, one of the most characteristic traditional premises on the Abruzzo coast, mentioned in nearly all of the great gastronomic guidebooks.
For lovers of typical dishes in more informal surroundings, for its seafood we warmly recommend Greco e Levante, (also in San Vito Marina just along the SS16 highway), and for its traditional meat-based dishes made with wholly organic ingredients Trattoria Mancini at Sant’Apollinare, a village just outside San Vito Chietino.
Sea lovers might book a special dinner at the trabocco, for a suggestive evening and experience the art of cooking and eating in the middle of the sea, but grounded on the land: Trabocco Punta Cavalluccio and Traboccco Pesce Palombo.