Mount Pallano is the site of an important archeologic area which dates back to the Italic Samnite age. The Megalithic Walls were built by Lucanians in the third millennium before Christ to defend the ancient city of Pallanum. The fortification has military and civilian functions: they were used as lookout post on closer centres and protect the population and the flocks . Inside the walls it is possible to recognize the rests of the ancient Roman village, resurfaced during the recent excavations, suggesting the existence of a wider urban settlement, kept underground. The characteristics of the ancient village are the wastewater drainage system and the building technique based on stones tied with purified sandy soil. Continuing on some paths of the park you can see little stone tholos huts, used for vertical sheep farming, common practice until twentieth century.
The village of Roccascalegna was born as a Lombard outpost around 600 after Christ with the purpose of defending the valley of Rio Secco from Byzantines. The watchtower was built on the rocky spur which dominates the village because of the conflict. Probably, the Normans erected the castle around the tower in the following age, although there aren't official records about the fortress until 1525, year of the first restoring works. After the succession of several feudal lords, around 1700 the manor had been abandoned for 3 centuries and is subject to adverse weather conditions and robberies until the donation to the City Council in 1985. The major restoration, accomplished in 1996, brought “La Rocca” back to his ancient glories. The enchanting panoramic view from below projects the castle out of the rocky spur as it were suspended.
The chronicler Gregorio Di Catino attests the construction of Castellum Tornariciae around 1200. It had seven original towers, two of them still visible today and situated in the centre of Tornareccio. In 1513 the village becomes feud of Colonna family, but in 1806 it gains the independence. This little village of Abruzzo's hinterland is the heart of contemporary art thanks to the donation of 204 works by the collector and a patron of the arts Alfredo Paglione, exhibited in Sala D'Arte Pallano. During last years, Tornareccio turned into a precious outdoor museum: twenty-four stunning mosaics fill with light and colours every inch of the historical centre and express through art and mastery the intimate and daily aspects of the man and citizen. The village is one of the first honey manifacturers in Abruzzo and it is appreciated all around the world.
According to an ancient legend the gorges were created by a miracle of San Martino, who opened a passage to reach the heart of the mountain and build an hermitage, the monastery of San Martino in Valle, XI century. Crossing the narrow walls of the rock, distant from each other around two metres, you can reach the longest canyon of Appennini. The valley of Santo Spirito lead the explorer on the top of Mount Amaro, height 2793 m, drawing a natural setting which melts with history, an unique and uncontaminated atmosphere.
Cavallone caves are situated between Taranta Peligna and Lama dei Peligni, they develop for more than two km. They are divided into a main gallery and three secondary branches. If you venture into the caves, water will be the main element of this wonderful and unique underworld trough pits, galleries, lakes, stalactites and stalagmites. The entrance of the caves recall the eye of a horse, whose snout seems to be carved into the rock. The magnificent karst formations fascinates every summer speleologists and tourists who come to visit them. In 1904 the painter Francesco Paolo Michetti found the inspiration right here for the setting of the second act of the pastoral drama La figlia di Jorio by Gabriele D’Annunzio. The grotte del cavallone and Fara San Martino gorges are situated inside the Majella national park, an oasis on the mountan, the most impervious and savage part of the Central Apennines. Inside the park you can see wolf and bear traces, cross high altitude plateaus and imposing canyons, but you can also step into hermitages, abbeys, stone huts and fascinating historical centres.
The Punta Aderci nature reserve is a Chieti’s protected area which stretches from Puntapenna beach to the mouth of Sinello river. The naturalistic coastal strip is a succession of sand and pubbles, dunes and cliffs, in which you can look to a lot of typical marine plant species as for instance Halymernia Floresia, a unique and marvelous Mediterranenan red seaweed. The area offers a view over the entire oasis and as well over Majella National park; from here you can cross pinewoods on the sea, sandy coasts cliffs, gorges and stretches of Mediterranean maquis. You must discover the reserve on foot, by bike, by canoa or you can enjoy the quiet and savage Punta Aderci beach.
The charming Trabocchi coast, unique in Italy, stretches along Adriatic coastline from Francavilla al mare to Vasto. The coastline is characterized by big fishing machines on stilt houses, the “Trabocchi”, symbol of Abruzzo region and emblem of people devoted to the sea and fishing. The beauty of this natural and uncontaminated places valleys and hills is beyond question, the territory has heterogeneous features: the coastal strip alternates valleys and hills sandy beaches and rocky coves, ranges of promontories and gulfs, places in which ancient traditions are still alive. Trabocchi inspired artists and writers as Gabriele D’Annunzio, who in 1889 decided to stay in an ancient hermitage where he found tranquility and inspiration to write the novel Il trionfo della morte. Still today it is possible to admire the so-called “D’Annunzio’s promontory” and from there take advantage of the breathtaking landscape.
In Fossacesia, on a hill next to the Adriatic sea, you can admire the jewel in the crown of Trabocchi coast: san Giovanni in Venere, a monastery built over an ancient temple dedicated to the worship of Venere. Between 529 and 543, some san Benedetto’s devotees gave birth, in that area, to a Benedictine monastery, building a small Christian church dedicated to san Giovanni Battista. Around 1000 there was the first expansion and between XII and XIII century reached the peak of its splendor. Today the abbey is imposing, located in a panoramic position, true expression of severe and majestic Romanic style, an amazing example of Cistercian architecture.