How not to be seduced by “frank and wild beauty of this unjustly (or fortunately?) too little-known region?”, writes Paride Vitale in the brief introduction to his book. Well, perhaps the beauty of Abruzzo lies in these words: “not very well-known.”

The author of this guide, entitled D'Amore e D'Abruzzo, 272 pages, Cairo publisher, in bookstores from May 17 (18 euros), but he knows his region very well, because he was born and raised there before settling in Milan. He comes back to it as often as he can. And he continues to prefer it for his vacations to any other place in the world: when he is on vacation in Iceland, In front of an untouched white expanse, described by Lonely Planet as “the most incredible snowy panorama you have ever seen”, he turned to his traveling companions and declared: “However, Campo Imperatore is nicer“. Parochialism? Yes. Without shame. Or if you want to see things differently, a long declaration of love, divided into six chapters.

A declaration of love in six steps

The first chapter, and the most passionate, is devoted to National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molisea park “without a gate” which leaves Milanese visitors perplexed: “Where is the entrance?” they ask, still unaware of the immensity. It's nearly 50 thousand hectares of green paradise, an immense territory which extends over the territory of 25 municipalities and 3 regions. And no, there is neither door or bell to ring The other chapters follow: Gran Sasso L'Aquilano and its villages; skiing in Abruzzo; the Abruzzo sea; everything one expects from a guide. The story oscillates at every line between autobiography and diary, novel and manual for eating and drinking well, and the author's account includes testimonies. of friends and acquaintances, “guests” here and there throughout the pages, with pleasant and authentic fragments of life lived. A successful stylistic alchemy.

The scent of the Abruzzo woods

And speaking of alchemy, the story that the author devotes to the birth of PARCO1923, “a perfume brand that I co-founded with Ugo Morosi”, arouses curiosity. Nostalgic for the scents of the Abruzzo National Park (“I wanted to take some with me to Milan when I moved”) Paride Vitale studied the way of “trapping the smell of the woods” in a formula ready to wear. With the help of the Park's botanists and one of the most talented “noses” in Italy, they put all the olfactory notes of these plants which “contribute to the scent of one of the most intact places in Europe » in a small glass bottle. (1923 is the year the Park was created).

Paride Vitale with his Jack Russells in the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park. Photo by Maki Galimberti

Jewel villages and a heart-shaped lake

The book lists the many excursions to try in the Park, the unmissable towns, such as Pescasseroli. (“It is called “the Cortina of Abruzzo, but they are seriously mistaken, because Cortina is the Pescasseroli of Veneto…”). But above all, many addresses and good insider tips. For example, shops where you can taste local delicacies, such as “the ingenious invention found in summer at Pasticceria Leone, i.e. the roast in ice cream version. Pure poetry”. There are restaurants and hotels that you don't know (for a while). And some pearls that you have to contemplate along the way. Like the heart-shaped lake (blue flag) of Scannoone of the most beautiful villages in Italy.

Scanno Lake (iStock)

Walking around L'Aquila, a city that doesn't give up

The book cannot miss the obligatory steps like the one at the end'Eagle, the city that never gives up. A walk down the main street is an opportunity to be moved by the resilient shops which, after the 2009 earthquake, continued their work with enormous effort but with equal tenacity. There are all the indications to taste the local nougat or better yet, sip a nougat coffee before leaving. Pearls of history, art and architecture intertwine with addresses for shopping, for lunch and dinner, for spending the night “in truly unique B&Bs, often housed in recently renovated historic buildings”.

The historic center of L'Aquila (iStock)

The spectacular plateau and the crystal clear river

And here we are at the famous Camp of the Emperor, which for Paride Vitale is more beautiful than Iceland. A 75 square kilometer plateau – one of the largest in Italy – between 1,500 and 1,900 meters above sea level, in the heart of the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park. It's a spectacular ski resort in winter, but magical in any season. A few pages later we talk Tirin, “the river with the clearest and cleanest waters in Europe”. Many times, explains the author of the guide, you will want to jump from the canoe to swim in these wonderful waters, “but this will be enough puccare a finger to change your mind” (the temperature, unfortunately, never exceeds 11 degrees).

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Emperor's Camp (iStock)

Snow, caves, sea

The final chapters are dedicated to where to ski, where to taste the best Abruzzo wines, with detailed and careful information on the wineries not to be missed, each with its own story. Finally there is Pescara (“the Miami of Abruzzo”) with its atmosphere and its pride (“you can take an Abruzzo from Abruzzo, but you cannot take Abruzzo from an Abruzzo”). And to top it all Trabocchi Coast Greenway, from Ortona to Vasto: thus, after “majestic mountains, magnificent parks, green hills as far as the eye can see, large families and ancient buildings unique in the world”, we end up arriving at something equally unique and spectacular. The sea.

The Trabocchi Coast (iStock)

The “enriched” reading experience

« Of love and Abruzzo you can start it wherever you want,” concludes Paride Vitale. “Depending on the season, what interests you or even randomly, because the places and experiences I tell you about, I am sure, will never disappoint you.” To make us fall in love with his land, the author used all the best words he knows. But as from time to time he couldn't find ones that were beautiful and effective enough, he decided to “enrich” the story by adding QR codes here and there. “Framed with your smartphone, they will take you directly to the location, to discover with your own eyes the crazy charm of my region, through a series of video postcards that I shot just for you.” Good view.

(The book can be pre-ordered from May 10 by CLICKING HERE)

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