- Where: Fly to Pescara Airport and rent a car. Stay in Chieti or the surrounding area. Bucchianico is 10km from the centre of Chieti and 24km from Pescara.
- Why: For the impeccable panoramic views of the Adriatic sea and the Apennine mountain range and for a slice of Abruzzo life.
Abruzzo is a region that is full of old and ancient hill top towns, some abandoned to their fates and others that are still thriving. The small but rather large for Abrruzzo town of Bucchianico is one of those in the latter category. Elevated at 360m above sea level it has views that will make your heart melt.
The area on which Bucchianico is situated has been actively inhabited since pre-Roman times, there is a long history of agriculture and settlement due to the fertility of the soil and the high vantage point which came in handy when warding off invading armies. Modern day Bucchianico is your typical Abruzzese town – the population is small and friendly, there are at least two festivals if not more every year and the architecture, whilst not pre-Roman, is older than all of our grandmas.
Bucchianico is famous as the birth place of San Camillo who was sainted for establishing the origins of the Red Cross and caring for the citizens of Rome during the bubonic plague. His memorial day is July 14th and there is, of course, a grand festa in Bucchianico to celebrate. The festivities start with fireworks and goes on for the entire day. You can expect to find the religion and celebration intertwined with a Catholic procession and stalls selling a variety of items. The full biography of San Camillo can be found here
When you’re in town you can follow the winding roads down to his house where you will find a small alter with frescos, a museum, art gallery and up the stairs is a model display of religious artifacts from around the world. There is also fantastic views from the vantage point of the town wall, very close to the house, the elevation allows you to see across the valley and to the mountians.
Another thing to love about Bucchianico is the ornate iron work that adorns almost all the houses in the historic centre. Stroll from the central piazza to the church and back again and you will find yourself stopping to admire someones balcony or front door, much to the amusement of the local people.
The historic central piazza itself is a lively place. You can expect to see the residents taking in the sun with a coffee or going about their daily business at the town hall. You can also find a doctors surgery, a pharmacy, a primary school, a hairdressers and a few clothes shops. There is also a beautiful ornate water fountain that is lovely and fresh to drink from.
Be warned – there is only one restaurant and one pizza place in the historic centre and just like in other places, everything closes for lunch at 1pm. Unfortunately, we didn’t fancy a sit down lunch and the pizza shop was closed for holidays. Fortunately, the ladies in the supermarket are really nice and we were able to get focaccia and some emergency crisps (Piu Gusto – the best crisps in Italy).
If you ever find yourself in the area of Chieti, pay a visit to Bucchianico – take a coffee, visit San Camillo’s museum and look out over the mountains; its the perfect way to spend a morning.