The Magic of Abruzzo Blog
"We travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us." Anonymous
"We travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us." Anonymous
Transhumance is an ancient tradition, which has been happening over many centuries in the Abruzzo region of Italy.
It is the seasonal migration of sheep flocks and shepherds who move from pastures located in the mountain areas during the summer, to the plains, during the winter, then in May, they return home.
These journeys from the mountains of Abruzzo, across valleys, villages, and small towns, up to the plains of Puglia proved many times to be challenging.
These shepherds travelled during the day along the sheep tracks or grassy paths for miles at a time. Then as darkness falls, they would settle into a specific place for the night. The shepherds would eat bread and ricotta and drink wine, then after dinner would carve wood or write their thoughts on rocks. The shepherd would sleep in a cave or a small shed while the sheep either shared the cave or slept in a fenced meadow. The shepherd would sleep ‘with one eye open’ while the dogs watched over the sheep. There was plenty of danger from native animals such as snakes and wolves.
The Maremma Sheepdog or Cane da Pastore Abruzzese are the indigenous, big white guard dogs used for looking after the sheep. When you see them all together it is difficult to tell the difference between the dogs and the sheep. These dogs have become famous around the world especially after the film Oddball showed in 2015.
Though the tradition of transhumance became redundant over 50 years ago, some shepherds still move their sheep in a similar way, except that the distance is much shorter and there are fewer sheep. The modern shepherds now transport their sheep in trucks.
In the spring around May, there are still some shepherds who bring their sheep literally past our Bed and Breakfast from the countryside below up to the mountain behind our house where they can find fresh and aromatic grasses. There is a shepherd that we know in Abruzzo, who is trying to preserve this ancient tradition and will take brave adventurers on the four-day journey, sleeping in tents and camping along the way.
As the poet, Gabriele D'Annunzio writes in the poem, "I pastori": “September, let's go. It is time to migrate.”
Contact us if you’d like to experience the transhumance in Abruzzo, or if you would like to visit a nearby sheep farm to see how the famous Pecorino, mozzarella, and ricotta cheeses are made.
Come to taste the farm to table slow food at one of the agriturismos or sample farm products at the local open-air market.
Call +39 3888 272982 for English or +39 339 466 4901 for Italian.
Or simply email us with your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
The confetti of Sulmona is one of the most famous confectionery specialties in the world. Established in 1783, it has now become a staple at every large gathering in Italy. Every year many tourists come to Abruzzo to taste these famous candies.
They come in various flavors, shapes and colors. They are used as favors when people gather together in celebrations such as weddings, birthdays and baptisms. These delicious treats satisfying even the most refined palates because of the quality of the raw material which manages to preserve the flavors without adding dyes or artificial substances.
Sulmona is famous for being the birthplace of confetti. It is here, in Sulmona, where the most famous confetti companies were established, they have now become a world business, thanks to the famous celebrities who have visited this area of Abruzzo just to see the confetti!
Among the most renowned and ancient factories to visit are the Pelino confetti factory, the Ovidio confetti factory (which takes its name from the well-known poet to whom the city gave birth), and the William Di Carlo confetti factory. All three of these factories have tours to see how the almonds are covered with chocolate and then with a candy coating. Tasting is free!
Spend a wonderful weekend in Roccacasale, Italy at the gorgeous La Rocca Mia House B&B….so much to see and do in this beautiful part of Abruzzo.
Visit the confetti factories and the village of Sulmona – don’t miss the open-air market on Saturday morning.
Hosts Margaret and Domenico will make sure that you don’t have to think about a thing – just enjoy the first rate hospitality and all the area has to offer.
To Book call: +392888272982 or email us at email@example.com
written by Cecilia Pizzoferrato
I confetti di Sulmona sono una delle specialità dolciarie più famose del posto , ogni anno numerosi turisti sono attratti in Abruzzo con l’intento di provarli .
Di vari gusti forme e colori vengono usati durante cerimonie importanti, quali matrimoni, battesimi o compleanni. Riescono a mettere d’accordo tutti, soddisfacendo anche i palati più raffinati, e che grazie alla qualità della materia prima riescono a preservare i sapori senza aggiunta di coloranti o sostanze artificiali.
Sulmona è famosa per esserne la patria, è infatti qui che nascono le aziende di confetti più famose tanto da avere un business mondiale anche grazie alle celebrità che si sono recate qui in Abruzzo solo per assaggiarli.
Tra le fabbriche più rinomate ed antiche da visitare ricordiamo la fabbrica di confetti Pelino, quella di confetti Ovidio che prende il nome dal noto poeta a cui la città ha dato i natali, o anche la fabbrica di confetti William Di Carlo. E’ possibile visitare queste fabbriche, ed assistere ai processi che portano alla trasformazione della semplice mandorla in confetto, attraverso tecniche elaborate, ed una volta arrivati alla fine del tour e possibile degustarli in maniera del tutto gratuita.
Trascorri un magnifico weekend a Roccacasale, in Italia, presso lo splendido B&B La Rocca Mia House… . in questa splendida parte dell'Abruzzo dove c’e tanto da vedere e da fare.
Visitare le fabbriche di confetti e la citta medievale di Sulmona: non perdere il mercato all'aperto del sabato mattina.
I padroni di casa Margaret e Domenico saranno felici di farvi sapere cosa c'è da vedere e fare nelle vicinanze.
To Book Call +39 3888 272982 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Value for Money - La Rocca Mia House B&B is a unique bed and breakfast accommodation in the heart of traditional, unspoiled Italy that provides personalized travel experiences for great value. La Rocca Mia House B&B offers all-inclusive rates or Bed and Breakfast rates that are budget friendly.
2. Comfort and a good night’s sleep - Enjoy a relaxing stay in one of our cozy, clean, and uniquely decorated rooms with outstanding views across the valley to the mountains and over our charming garden to the village castle.
3. Best Guest Service Award Granted for 2019 - La Rocca Mia House won the B&B Schools award for Best Guest Service. Here are the judges’ comments:
"It is clear that taking care of their guests is what Margaret and Domenico do best. No two guest experiences are the same and they customise each visit to ensure that their visitors get exactly what they want from a stay in Italy. From personalised experiences including authentic interactions with the culture and people of the region to the day-to-day planning with their guests to ensure that no stone is left unturned in the Abruzzo adventure, Margaret and Domenico embrace every opportunity to meet the wants and needs of their guests."
4. Dual language Innkeepers – Take the stress off trying to understand and be understood by someone who doesn’t speak your language. Our guests appreciate the fact that Domenico speaks Italian and Margaret is a native English speaker and speaks a little Spanish. It’s a winning combination!
5. Everything can be arranged specifically for you - From booking the bus ride from the airport to arranging for amazing experiences. With La Rocca Mia House B&B you truly get to live the Italian life. Your stay will be tailored to perfectly match your interests, preferences, and budget.
6. Our Loyalty Program - We pride ourselves with a bonus free two night’s stay for our loyal guests.
7. Unique Experiences - Personalized daily itineraries with the locals that you cannot find anywhere else. One of a kind experiences such as using wine to paint with, zip-lining past a quaint medieval village, private sommelier led wine tastings, cooking with Rosa, truffle hunting, visiting bee farms, sheep farms, & cheese farms, as well as joining in on the olive and grape harvests and outdoor sports.
8. The B&B is easy to get to – Though it is an ‘off the beaten track’ location in the almost unknown region of Abruzzo, it’s not hard to get to from the Rome or Pescara airports. Just hop on the ProntoBus from the airport and in 2 hours from Rome or 30 minutes from Pescara you will be met by Domenico at the bus stop and then another 5 minute drive to the B&B. Simple.
9. Breakfast – Such as homemade breakfast cakes, egg Frittata, yogurt, fresh fruit, cereals, Italian coffee, American pancakes and our famous Breakfast Pizza round off our morning menu.
10. Domenico - Domenico was born and raised in this area of Italy and knows about all the well-kept secrets of the central Italian region of Abruzzo. He is your own personal, Italian guide and his excellent local knowledge and passion for Abruzzo means you will experience and enjoy the 'real' Italy. You will be taken to the best places, introduced to hidden gems known only to the locals and experience the warmth of a true Italian community.
But, don’t just take our word for it. Click here to read our latest reviews!
TRUFFLES - it seems most people either love them or hate them, but truthfully, I’m not sure how many people have actually tried them!! Sometimes the smell will steer you away.
Personally, I think the first time I tried a truffle was a chocolate truffle! That’s not the same as the ones we are talking about here. Chocolate truffles originated in France in 1895 and it was here that the ball of chocolate ganache dusted with cocoa received the name, truffle. As it turns out, chocolate truffles are named after the mushrooms because of their resemblance to the dark and bumpy mushroom.
So let’s talk about the mushroom truffles. They are actually a spore or fungus growing wild and nearly always found at the roots of certain trees. Truffles have a very unique, earthy taste and an even rarer aroma. Truffles are highly regarded in many countries.
Is there only one kind of truffle?
No, there are several different kinds of truffles. There is the prized white truffle (Tuber magnatum pico), black truffle (Tuber melanosporum), two varieties of summer truffle (Tuber aestivum), winter truffle (Tuber brumale) and the bianchetto truffle (Tuber borchii).
Why are they so expensive?
Truffles are so expensive because mankind cannot cultivate them. They are wild and difficult to find. Because they have a distinct taste they are highly desired in the culinary world.
How do you eat them?
Truffles are usually grated or sliced with a truffle slicer directly on to food and into sauces or soups, just before eating. The heat will damage the flavor and aroma so don’t cook them! Cream cheese or other cheese dishes are excellent with truffles.
A few ideas: Shaved on eggs, grated in butter with bacon and mushrooms over pasta, truffled potatoes or truffle risotto. You can add grated truffle to unsalted butter or infuse olive oil to add to your favorite chicken or fish dish.
Where can we find truffles?
Most of the best truffles are found in Italy, France and the Pacific Northwest.
Abruzzo produces 60% of Italian truffles including the prestigious white truffle. This amazing region is full of wild truffles that are just waiting for us to find them. Truffles are more commonly found growing on the roots of oak, poplar, hazel and beech trees. We have been lucky enough to go with Fausto our local truffle hunter. He has taken over a forest that was specifically planted for truffles.
Here in Abruzzo, the Romagno Lagotto dog is the most common dog used for the hunt. They are excellent working dogs because of their attitude and physical capacities. Their great sense of smell, paired with their memory, help them to perform truly amazing searches. And because of their temperament and loyalty, the Romagno Lagotto makes a wonderful family dog.
Dogs are often used to find truffles for two reasons, firstly, they can smell truffles making them much easier to find, and secondly, by digging they’re spreading the spores, leading to new truffle growth. (While pigs are used, too, they tend to eat the truffles.)
How can I get involved in a Truffle Hunt?
Experiencing the truffle hunt is like no other.
Fausto and his family use their land on the outskirts of Raiano to harvest the truffles and sell them to famous chefs around Italy and recently they have started taking small private groups for hikes in the forest and to experience the truffle hunt. Often times he will start the day with a short hike through the countryside before the hunt. During the hunt, he will introduce you to the dogs and explain a bit about truffles and how the dogs are trained to find them. Then off you go!! Try to keep up with the dogs because they go fast! After hunting for truffles Fausto’s wife sets out a beautiful table in the outdoors with various dishes using the truffles that you find. If there are any truffles left over, they’re happy for you to take them home.
If you’ve always wanted to meet the dogs and search for truffles, we will be happy to organize a private truffle hunt with Fausto and his dogs.
With its breathtaking scenery, four national parks plus beaches along the Adriatic Sea, Abruzzo is truly extraordinary.
Experience it all, Stay at La Rocca Mia House B&B in the Heart of Authentic Unspoiled Italy and Join us for the Truffle Hunt.
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About the author
This blog is curated by Margaret Gigliotti, B&B owner, teacher, explorer, wine drinker and creative writer.
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Telephone: +39 3888 272982