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Author Topic: Best areas of Abruzzo to retire to for quality of life and weather?  (Read 8996 times)

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Offline Lisa C.

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Re: Best areas of Abruzzo to retire to for quality of life and weather?
« Reply #30 on: September 20, 2014, 11:04:47 PM »
You have been everywhere  Lisa, ignore any advice and make up your own mind.

Advice is really what we DO want.  Since we have explored so much of the province of Teramo, we thought that we would check out either the province of Pescara or Chieti.  We currently have a reservation to stay at an agriturismo near Penne but are thinking of cancelling it and staying in the province of Chieti.  After hearing from several people how chock full of foreigners Penne and Loreto Aprutino were and getting recommendations to visit Chieti, we thought that sounded like a good plan.

What do you mean by " foreigners " Lisa C? Do you mean that these places are full of Italians and you'd rather be with other Americans? If that's not what you mean then perhaps you should take a look at L'Aquila. I think it's the province with the fewest members so not many to sing it's praises or to have an interest in attracting potential house buyers.

By "foreigners" we mean a large contingent of anyone who is not Italian.  We do not want to live in an area with a large ex-pat community.  We do have a few friends in Italy who are British. It's just that we don't want to be surrounded by a lot of other ex-pats.  This is one of the things that we have difficulty with in some of the nicer towns in southern Marche.  Towns like Amandola, Montalto, Petritoli have tons of them and you hear English in many places.  The other issue important to us is to have decent weather.  We would like to live in an area where it doesn't get below zero degrees in winter and ideally is above that.  We currently live in the country but close to a town a few hours from Canada and as I have said it gets very cold.  We do like the countryside but don't want to be far from a town with amenities and people who reside there year round.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2014, 11:15:10 PM by Lisa C. »


Offline Allan Mason

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Re: Best areas of Abruzzo to retire to for quality of life and weather?
« Reply #31 on: September 20, 2014, 11:17:00 PM »
On the point about wanting to avoid a large ex-pat community, I'd suggest that anywhere in Abruzzo would fit that bill if it's English-speakers you want to avoid. It seems that, in 2011, there were fewer than 400 Brits and fewer than 300 Americans living in Abruzzo. Given that the population of Abruzzo is something like 1.3 million, this is obviously a minuscule minority. (http://www.tuttitalia.it/abruzzo/statistiche/cittadini-stranieri-2011/)

In any case, my experience is that if you don't want to talk to ex-pats, all you need do is not make the effort to contact them. It's not like every English-speaking ex-pat living in Abruzzo stalks every English-speaking incomer and forces them to socialise. Still, those unfortunate types who desperately want to believe that they've found some sort of incredible "hidden Italy" and are the first non-Italians to ever settle in some desolate hill-town are likely to be disappointed: the odds are that they will occasionally spot pale strangers in the local shops and they might even speak English.

As for the "best" area, I don't think there is one. I also believe that, in this as in so many things in life, it is very easy for excess choice to become overwhelming and lead to paralysis due to fear of making a less than absolutely perfect decision.

I've heard of people visiting literally hundreds of houses looking for some perfect ideal that they have defined in only the vaguest terms. Visiting loads of towns is, in a way, laudable, but - as it seems you have discovered - it's all too easy for them to start to merge into a hazy, useless blur. I've heard more than once that those who look at huge numbers of houses in a particular area often find themselves visiting a property for the second time and not realising it until they've wandered around for some time. I'm sure the same must happen if people do whirlwind tours of a huge number of towns.

With respect, it seems to me that saying you're looking for a town with "...some charm, a nice piazza, a good restaurant, bar or two, weather where the ground does not freeze ..." is not much help because that description applies to a vast number of communities in all the provinces of Abruzzo. But I'm also certain that many towns that tick all those boxes will nonetheless be useless to you because there are no properties for sale there that you actually like and can afford (in every possible sense).

I firmly believe that anyone thinking of moving to an unfamiliar area should put serious effort in to understanding what the place is about in the broadest strokes, but there comes a time when you have to sit down and make up a list about things like whether you want coast or mountains, in a town, village, city or rural setting, how far you want to be from major cities, how far from airports and motorways, how far from hospitals and so on, and then start looking at real, specific houses in real, specific locations.

Finally, you say you want to live in a place where it doesn't get below zero degrees in winter and ideally is above that. If that point is crucial for you, I'd suggest you might consider looking well south of Abruzzo. It's not common, but snow on the beaches of Pescara and points south is known. I'd also suggest that if you want somewhere with that sort of climate, you should be looking for areas with citrus groves, not the olives you mentioned earlier. Olives can tolerate serious cold for brief periods; citrus cannot.

Al
« Last Edit: September 20, 2014, 11:27:28 PM by Allan Mason »

Offline Cassius

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Re: Best areas of Abruzzo to retire to for quality of life and weather?
« Reply #32 on: September 20, 2014, 11:26:05 PM »
Sorry - really don't get this 'no other ex-pats' concept.  Even if there are other Americans/British/Canadians/whatever in the town - it's not compulsory to mix with them.   Do your own thing - smile and say 'Hi' and walk on by.

Since I started this comment I see that Allan Mason has made a similar comment - however I would still like to make the point - even if he puts it so much better than I do  ;)

Offline TP

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Re: Best areas of Abruzzo to retire to for quality of life and weather?
« Reply #33 on: September 20, 2014, 11:46:55 PM »
Sorry - really don't get this 'no other ex-pats' concept.  Even if there are other Americans/British/Canadians/whatever in the town - it's not compulsory to mix with them.   Do your own thing - smile and say 'Hi' and walk on by.

Since I started this comment I see that Allan Mason has made a similar comment - however I would still like to make the point - even if he puts it so much better than I do  ;)


Hi, have to agree with the above - I have a house in Tollo and for years we were aware of there being English people about but as that was not what we wanted, we did not go to 'find' them and had lots of holidays without any contact, my circumstances changed and the english I did know were a great support and I discovered there were many more around and about all within a short distance.




thediggers

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Re: Best areas of Abruzzo to retire to for quality of life and weather?
« Reply #34 on: September 20, 2014, 11:56:49 PM »
A Northern hornets nest! Very hard to argue against Cassius and Al, but Lisa is not from the UK and perhaps has different requirements/ideas. Of course I don't think she has a clue, but I'm also from Teramo region  ;) - the best  ;) - well not sure, but we love it!

Went to post this and TP from the South waded in .. far too many in Abruzzo.. But still more than enough space for more all... :)

Offline Lisa C.

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Re: Best areas of Abruzzo to retire to for quality of life and weather?
« Reply #35 on: September 21, 2014, 12:00:41 AM »
Cassius and TP,

My husband, in particular, is the one who has strong feelings about the ex-pat community.  This possibly stems from his having lived in Pisa for a long time and aside from some fellow students, there were few English speaking people around. 

We have been turned off by the large number of them in towns that we had previously loved when we lived near Pisa.  Towns like Lucca, San Gimignano, Volterra, which felt that they had been turned into a tourist trap and had lost much of their appeal for us along the way.  Perhaps it is an American thing as we have friends who live in the Basilicata who felt the way when visiting some of these towns in Le Marche.  I do know, though, English friends in Le Marche who complain about this as well.  Anyway, I certainly do not mean to offend anyone.  We are more looking to replicate the friendships we developed while living near Pisa and be accepted by the Italian community.

Offline Cesare Rinato

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Re: Best areas of Abruzzo to retire to for quality of life and weather?
« Reply #36 on: September 21, 2014, 12:01:08 AM »

The Casoli villages like Pianebbie, Colle Torre and Minco di Lici are lovely, semi rural but with easy access to shop etc.Castel Frentano is a great town, very friendly a vibrant local community, great views and all the usual amenities.

Pescara and most of Francavilla's villages are brash noisy places as youd expect being on the coast, however the coastal towns of Fossacessia and Rocca san Giovanni are very nice with many properties on the perimeter growing produce, grapes and olives.
Casoli is a good base for the region as its god good road links to the coast towards Ortona and Francavilla, to Lanciano and Guardiagrele.
 
The hospitals and pharmacies here are very good, in fact Italy comes second in the top European health care providers"

Other towns that we have seen mentioned on various forums are:

Sant Eusanio Del Sangro in Chieti
Altino

Any feedback on any of the towns mentioned in this post?  It all becomes very confusing as the one thing we definitely want to avoid is a large expat community.

This is not a recommendation you understand. Personally, I think 2 Brits, 2 South Africans, one Pole and an East German, not forgetting the 2 people from the Dominican Republic and the Sikh road sweeper, ( who has recently abandoned his turban) are quite enough in a village of about 4,000 people. I live in Castel Frentano and I love it. If you are looking for a beautiful Italian village like Scanno this isn't it. In fact these days it is really a suburb of Lanciano but the Castellini see themselves as quite different. In fact most of them speak a different language. We have a piazza, but you have to search for it. There is a church on one side and a tiny theatre on the other, which puts on plays in dialetto and musical events. There are also concerts in the piazza in the summer. We have a wide variety of feste ranging from the big feste in Agosto which finishes with a concert by a famous name from the '60s and a firework display which sets of every car alarm for miles, to competing small feste at either end of the village and the little feste on the 8th December which is really just for our street, but we rarely publicise them so only those 100's in the know, come.

You ask about climate. Well our village is on a ridge. The south side of the ridge consists of olive groves whilst the north side is vineyards. We have our own little cantina and I am told we have 2 fratoio but even I have never found those. We have about 5 or 6 bars. The lack of clarity is not because of the quantity of spritz I have consumed in each but because they keep closing and opening new ones. There are 3 general stores although one is trying to close, 2 butchers, 3 pizzerie and we did have a pescheria but the guy had a stroke and seems to have vanished. But the fish van comes around twice a week. We have a market once a week where you can buy thermal underwear all year round. We have 2 porchetterie and of course we are the only true home of Bocconotte and we have a forno and a farmacia. It rarely snows here and when it does they clear the roads as soon as I clear my drive, thus creating a new wall of snow across it. Except the year before last, when someone ( we know who you are ) broke the big snow plough and they had to use the Bobcat. Of course, because we are on a ridge Castel Frentano is famous for its wind. ( even before I arrived) but the advantage of this is fantastic views. Sunrises over the Adriatic and sunsets over La Majella and il Gran Sasso

In other words, Castel Frentano is much like loads of other villages in the area. What makes it magical is it's location. Fancy a swim? The beaches are 20 minutes away (10 if you are mad enough to accept a lift from any of my neighbours) Want to walk in the wilderness? 30 or 40 minutes to trek on Majella. Like animals? There are little wildlife parks all around us and of course an hour's drive will put you in bear and wolf country. Like skiing or snow shoeing? 40 minute and you are at Passo Lanciano or Mamarossa. Like history? roman ruins, medieval village, medieval castles, 10th monasteries built on top of roman temples, cathedrals built on top of Byzantine bridges. You don't have to visit it, you're in it. Like music? There are concerts on nearly every weekend in Lanciano and Ortona. 5 for the concert and all the sandwiches you can grab before le nonne arrives with elbows extended, and of course music festivals in Lanciano, Ortona and Pescara. Like pageantry? Try the MasterGiurato in Lanciano or the Easter processions in Chieti or Lanciano. Want to give the kids a laugh? Try rafting with them or have a go on the adventure park at Piane Delle Mele. ( our grandchildren found our efforts hysterical) caves, hermitages. We have it all. Like wine? There are cantina everywhere and they give the stuff away every year during cantina aperta. This is no longer cheap country plonk. These are award winning wines. And the food, don't even ask about food. Like seafood? Drive down the Traboccho coast and stop anywhere. I defie you to find a bad restaurant. Kantina, la Balena, Cavalluccio and many others. I think the best restaurant around for miles is Bottega Culinaria Biologica but there are loads of others where the people are lovely ( by which I mean they don't laugh at my Italian) and the food wonderful

Finally, you ask about Agriturismo in the area. I have never stayed there and I don't know if they even put people up but the best agriturismo in the area is the Collina Vecchia on the road between Casoli and Castel Frentano. This is just good local produce well prepared. But don't order the antipasti and expect to eat any other dishes afterwards or possibly for the next few days.

So to sum up, by all means visit Castel Frentano, but in the words or that great humanitarian, Uncle Junior Soprano "keep walking fella"
A hairy man who is scant of hair

Offline Lisa C.

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Re: Best areas of Abruzzo to retire to for quality of life and weather?
« Reply #37 on: September 21, 2014, 12:13:19 AM »
On the point about wanting to avoid a large ex-pat community, I'd suggest that anywhere in Abruzzo would fit that bill if it's English-speakers you want to avoid. It seems that, in 2011, there were fewer than 400 Brits and fewer than 300 Americans living in Abruzzo. Given that the population of Abruzzo is something like 1.3 million, this is obviously a minuscule minority. (http://www.tuttitalia.it/abruzzo/statistiche/cittadini-stranieri-2011/)

In any case, my experience is that if you don't want to talk to ex-pats, all you need do is not make the effort to contact them. It's not like every English-speaking ex-pat living in Abruzzo stalks every English-speaking incomer and forces them to socialise. Still, those unfortunate types who desperately want to believe that they've found some sort of incredible "hidden Italy" and are the first non-Italians to ever settle in some desolate hill-town are likely to be disappointed: the odds are that they will occasionally spot pale strangers in the local shops and they might even speak English.

As for the "best" area, I don't think there is one. I also believe that, in this as in so many things in life, it is very easy for excess choice to become overwhelming and lead to paralysis due to fear of making a less than absolutely perfect decision.

I've heard of people visiting literally hundreds of houses looking for some perfect ideal that they have defined in only the vaguest terms. Visiting loads of towns is, in a way, laudable, but - as it seems you have discovered - it's all too easy for them to start to merge into a hazy, useless blur. I've heard more than once that those who look at huge numbers of houses in a particular area often find themselves visiting a property for the second time and not realising it until they've wandered around for some time. I'm sure the same must happen if people do whirlwind tours of a huge number of towns.

With respect, it seems to me that saying you're looking for a town with "...some charm, a nice piazza, a good restaurant, bar or two, weather where the ground does not freeze ..." is not much help because that description applies to a vast number of communities in all the provinces of Abruzzo. But I'm also certain that many towns that tick all those boxes will nonetheless be useless to you because there are no properties for sale there that you actually like and can afford (in every possible sense).

I firmly believe that anyone thinking of moving to an unfamiliar area should put serious effort in to understanding what the place is about in the broadest strokes, but there comes a time when you have to sit down and make up a list about things like whether you want coast or mountains, in a town, village, city or rural setting, how far you want to be from major cities, how far from airports and motorways, how far from hospitals and so on, and then start looking at real, specific houses in real, specific locations.

Finally, you say you want to live in a place where it doesn't get below zero degrees in winter and ideally is above that. If that point is crucial for you, I'd suggest you might consider looking well south of Abruzzo. It's not common, but snow on the beaches of Pescara and points south is known. I'd also suggest that if you want somewhere with that sort of climate, you should be looking for areas with citrus groves, not the olives you mentioned earlier. Olives can tolerate serious cold for brief periods; citrus cannot.

Al

Thanks for your very thoughtful message Allan.  I did not realize that Abruzzo has so few ex-pats.  It seems like southern Marche has more than its fair share.  You are also right that we do have the choice of whom we would like to socialize with.  We certainly are open to meeting a mix of people as I do think it could make life more interesting. Over the years we have befriended several couples that I have met from the "Old Forum" and we enjoy getting together when we are over.   I think we do need to draw up a list of our requirements as they have certainly changed a bit over the years. 

In our search for areas we would be happy living in, we have spent a lot of time in southern Marche and some in the Basilicata as well, where much of my husband's family came from.  We do like the people and the landscape of the Basilicata, but the towns are fairly wide spread apart and there are not as much cultural opportunities as further north.  Even the weather there is pretty cold, at least the village where his family comes from.  We have not ruled out the Basilicata, but I think that either Le Marche or Abruzzo seem to have more going on, possibly better healthcare and better access to the rest of Europe and airport transportation.  I don't think Puglia sounds that appealing and would not want to live in Calabria or Sicily.  Long ago, we thought we would live in the mountains outside of Pisa but the Pisa area has gotten so overbuilt and crowded that it is not for us.


Offline Lisa C.

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Re: Best areas of Abruzzo to retire to for quality of life and weather?
« Reply #38 on: September 21, 2014, 12:19:28 AM »
A Northern hornets nest! Very hard to argue against Cassius and Al, but Lisa is not from the UK and perhaps has different requirements/ideas. Of course I don't think she has a clue, but I'm also from Teramo region  ;) - the best  ;) - well not sure, but we love it!

Went to post this and TP from the South waded in .. far too many in Abruzzo.. But still more than enough space for more all... :)

So sorry, I certainly didn't mean to stir people up!   :(

Offline levissima

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Re: Best areas of Abruzzo to retire to for quality of life and weather?
« Reply #39 on: September 21, 2014, 12:37:49 AM »
When we moved here, nearly ten years ago, there was us and about two other couples and a sprinkling of holiday homes. Now I can think of eight English speakers within walking distance. Some socialise, others don't. There is little point trying to isolate yourself because you can not know who will move in next door in time.

Also you are asking the wrong people for recommendations because the majority of the members here are just who you are trying to avoid.  I assume that, having lived here for some time a while ago, you are fluent italian speakers so there is no need for you to socialise with other English speakers and you won't have to look far in any of the regions to find a lot of non English speaking Italians. Around me, there are even quite a few non italian speaking Italians! ;D

Offline Lisa C.

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Re: Best areas of Abruzzo to retire to for quality of life and weather?
« Reply #40 on: September 21, 2014, 12:42:30 AM »

The Casoli villages like Pianebbie, Colle Torre and Minco di Lici are lovely, semi rural but with easy access to shop etc.Castel Frentano is a great town, very friendly a vibrant local community, great views and all the usual amenities.

Pescara and most of Francavilla's villages are brash noisy places as youd expect being on the coast, however the coastal towns of Fossacessia and Rocca san Giovanni are very nice with many properties on the perimeter growing produce, grapes and olives.
Casoli is a good base for the region as its god good road links to the coast towards Ortona and Francavilla, to Lanciano and Guardiagrele.
 
The hospitals and pharmacies here are very good, in fact Italy comes second in the top European health care providers"

Other towns that we have seen mentioned on various forums are:

Sant Eusanio Del Sangro in Chieti
Altino

Any feedback on any of the towns mentioned in this post?  It all becomes very confusing as the one thing we definitely want to avoid is a large expat community.

This is not a recommendation you understand. Personally, I think 2 Brits, 2 South Africans, one Pole and an East German, not forgetting the 2 people from the Dominican Republic and the Sikh road sweeper, ( who has recently abandoned his turban) are quite enough in a village of about 4,000 people. I live in Castel Frentano and I love it. If you are looking for a beautiful Italian village like Scanno this isn't it. In fact these days it is really a suburb of Lanciano but the Castellini see themselves as quite different. In fact most of them speak a different language. We have a piazza, but you have to search for it. There is a church on one side and a tiny theatre on the other, which puts on plays in dialetto and musical events. There are also concerts in the piazza in the summer. We have a wide variety of feste ranging from the big feste in Agosto which finishes with a concert by a famous name from the '60s and a firework display which sets of every car alarm for miles, to competing small feste at either end of the village and the little feste on the 8th December which is really just for our street, but we rarely publicise them so only those 100's in the know, come.

You ask about climate. Well our village is on a ridge. The south side of the ridge consists of olive groves whilst the north side is vineyards. We have our own little cantina and I am told we have 2 fratoio but even I have never found those. We have about 5 or 6 bars. The lack of clarity is not because of the quantity of spritz I have consumed in each but because they keep closing and opening new ones. There are 3 general stores although one is trying to close, 2 butchers, 3 pizzerie and we did have a pescheria but the guy had a stroke and seems to have vanished. But the fish van comes around twice a week. We have a market once a week where you can buy thermal underwear all year round. We have 2 porchetterie and of course we are the only true home of Bocconotte and we have a forno and a farmacia. It rarely snows here and when it does they clear the roads as soon as I clear my drive, thus creating a new wall of snow across it. Except the year before last, when someone ( we know who you are ) broke the big snow plough and they had to use the Bobcat. Of course, because we are on a ridge Castel Frentano is famous for its wind. ( even before I arrived) but the advantage of this is fantastic views. Sunrises over the Adriatic and sunsets over La Majella and il Gran Sasso

In other words, Castel Frentano is much like loads of other villages in the area. What makes it magical is it's location. Fancy a swim? The beaches are 20 minutes away (10 if you are mad enough to accept a lift from any of my neighbours) Want to walk in the wilderness? 30 or 40 minutes to trek on Majella. Like animals? There are little wildlife parks all around us and of course an hour's drive will put you in bear and wolf country. Like skiing or snow shoeing? 40 minute and you are at Passo Lanciano or Mamarossa. Like history? roman ruins, medieval village, medieval castles, 10th monasteries built on top of roman temples, cathedrals built on top of Byzantine bridges. You don't have to visit it, you're in it. Like music? There are concerts on nearly every weekend in Lanciano and Ortona. 5 for the concert and all the sandwiches you can grab before le nonne arrives with elbows extended, and of course music festivals in Lanciano, Ortona and Pescara. Like pageantry? Try the MasterGiurato in Lanciano or the Easter processions in Chieti or Lanciano. Want to give the kids a laugh? Try rafting with them or have a go on the adventure park at Piane Delle Mele. ( our grandchildren found our efforts hysterical) caves, hermitages. We have it all. Like wine? There are cantina everywhere and they give the stuff away every year during cantina aperta. This is no longer cheap country plonk. These are award winning wines. And the food, don't even ask about food. Like seafood? Drive down the Traboccho coast and stop anywhere. I defie you to find a bad restaurant. Kantina, la Balena, Cavalluccio and many others. I think the best restaurant around for miles is Bottega Culinaria Biologica but there are loads of others where the people are lovely ( by which I mean they don't laugh at my Italian) and the food wonderful

Finally, you ask about Agriturismo in the area. I have never stayed there and I don't know if they even put people up but the best agriturismo in the area is the Collina Vecchia on the road between Casoli and Castel Frentano. This is just good local produce well prepared. But don't order the antipasti and expect to eat any other dishes afterwards or possibly for the next few days.

So to sum up, by all means visit Castel Frentano, but in the words or that great humanitarian, Uncle Junior Soprano "keep walking fella"

Thank you so much for your post.  We will definitely visit!   :)

Offline Lisa C.

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Re: Best areas of Abruzzo to retire to for quality of life and weather?
« Reply #41 on: September 21, 2014, 12:45:37 AM »

The Casoli villages like Pianebbie, Colle Torre and Minco di Lici are lovely, semi rural but with easy access to shop etc.Castel Frentano is a great town, very friendly a vibrant local community, great views and all the usual amenities.

Pescara and most of Francavilla's villages are brash noisy places as youd expect being on the coast, however the coastal towns of Fossacessia and Rocca san Giovanni are very nice with many properties on the perimeter growing produce, grapes and olives.
Casoli is a good base for the region as its god good road links to the coast towards Ortona and Francavilla, to Lanciano and Guardiagrele.
 
The hospitals and pharmacies here are very good, in fact Italy comes second in the top European health care providers"

Other towns that we have seen mentioned on various forums are:

Sant Eusanio Del Sangro in Chieti
Altino

Any feedback on any of the towns mentioned in this post?  It all becomes very confusing as the one thing we definitely want to avoid is a large expat community.

This is not a recommendation you understand. Personally, I think 2 Brits, 2 South Africans, one Pole and an East German, not forgetting the 2 people from the Dominican Republic and the Sikh road sweeper, ( who has recently abandoned his turban) are quite enough in a village of about 4,000 people. I live in Castel Frentano and I love it. If you are looking for a beautiful Italian village like Scanno this isn't it. In fact these days it is really a suburb of Lanciano but the Castellini see themselves as quite different. In fact most of them speak a different language. We have a piazza, but you have to search for it. There is a church on one side and a tiny theatre on the other, which puts on plays in dialetto and musical events. There are also concerts in the piazza in the summer. We have a wide variety of feste ranging from the big feste in Agosto which finishes with a concert by a famous name from the '60s and a firework display which sets of every car alarm for miles, to competing small feste at either end of the village and the little feste on the 8th December which is really just for our street, but we rarely publicise them so only those 100's in the know, come.

You ask about climate. Well our village is on a ridge. The south side of the ridge consists of olive groves whilst the north side is vineyards. We have our own little cantina and I am told we have 2 fratoio but even I have never found those. We have about 5 or 6 bars. The lack of clarity is not because of the quantity of spritz I have consumed in each but because they keep closing and opening new ones. There are 3 general stores although one is trying to close, 2 butchers, 3 pizzerie and we did have a pescheria but the guy had a stroke and seems to have vanished. But the fish van comes around twice a week. We have a market once a week where you can buy thermal underwear all year round. We have 2 porchetterie and of course we are the only true home of Bocconotte and we have a forno and a farmacia. It rarely snows here and when it does they clear the roads as soon as I clear my drive, thus creating a new wall of snow across it. Except the year before last, when someone ( we know who you are ) broke the big snow plough and they had to use the Bobcat. Of course, because we are on a ridge Castel Frentano is famous for its wind. ( even before I arrived) but the advantage of this is fantastic views. Sunrises over the Adriatic and sunsets over La Majella and il Gran Sasso

In other words, Castel Frentano is much like loads of other villages in the area. What makes it magical is it's location. Fancy a swim? The beaches are 20 minutes away (10 if you are mad enough to accept a lift from any of my neighbours) Want to walk in the wilderness? 30 or 40 minutes to trek on Majella. Like animals? There are little wildlife parks all around us and of course an hour's drive will put you in bear and wolf country. Like skiing or snow shoeing? 40 minute and you are at Passo Lanciano or Mamarossa. Like history? roman ruins, medieval village, medieval castles, 10th monasteries built on top of roman temples, cathedrals built on top of Byzantine bridges. You don't have to visit it, you're in it. Like music? There are concerts on nearly every weekend in Lanciano and Ortona. 5 for the concert and all the sandwiches you can grab before le nonne arrives with elbows extended, and of course music festivals in Lanciano, Ortona and Pescara. Like pageantry? Try the MasterGiurato in Lanciano or the Easter processions in Chieti or Lanciano. Want to give the kids a laugh? Try rafting with them or have a go on the adventure park at Piane Delle Mele. ( our grandchildren found our efforts hysterical) caves, hermitages. We have it all. Like wine? There are cantina everywhere and they give the stuff away every year during cantina aperta. This is no longer cheap country plonk. These are award winning wines. And the food, don't even ask about food. Like seafood? Drive down the Traboccho coast and stop anywhere. I defie you to find a bad restaurant. Kantina, la Balena, Cavalluccio and many others. I think the best restaurant around for miles is Bottega Culinaria Biologica but there are loads of others where the people are lovely ( by which I mean they don't laugh at my Italian) and the food wonderful

Finally, you ask about Agriturismo in the area. I have never stayed there and I don't know if they even put people up but the best agriturismo in the area is the Collina Vecchia on the road between Casoli and Castel Frentano. This is just good local produce well prepared. But don't order the antipasti and expect to eat any other dishes afterwards or possibly for the next few days.

So to sum up, by all means visit Castel Frentano, but in the words or that great humanitarian, Uncle Junior Soprano "keep walking fella"
Thanks so much for all of the information about Castel Frentano and for the restaurant and agriturismo recommendations.  We will certainly have a look.   :)

Offline Lisa C.

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Re: Best areas of Abruzzo to retire to for quality of life and weather?
« Reply #42 on: September 21, 2014, 12:51:29 AM »
Cassius and TP,

My husband, in particular, is the one who has strong feelings about the ex-pat community.  This possibly stems from his having lived in Pisa for a long time and aside from some fellow students, there were few English speaking people around. 

We have been turned off by the large number of them in towns that we had previously loved when we lived near Pisa.  These areas seem inundated with Americans.  Towns like Lucca, San Gimignano, Volterra, which felt that they had been turned into a tourist trap and had lost much of their appeal for us along the way.  Perhaps it is an American thing as we have friends who live in the Basilicata who felt the way when visiting some of these towns in Le Marche.  I do know, though, English friends in Le Marche who complain about this as well.  Anyway, I certainly do not mean to offend anyone.  We are more looking to replicate the friendships we developed while living near Pisa and be accepted by the Italian community.

Offline linsead oil

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Re: Best areas of Abruzzo to retire to for quality of life and weather?
« Reply #43 on: September 21, 2014, 10:13:51 AM »
good atical in il centro  today   top of page  headline  abruzzo  paradiso for americano pensonata  A3

Offline Vignaverde

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Re: Best areas of Abruzzo to retire to for quality of life and weather?
« Reply #44 on: September 21, 2014, 10:24:56 AM »
I would recommend Agriturismo l'Uliveto in Palombaro, beautiful location, great food and only 5 minutes from Casoli, they have a website but my internet is not working very well at the moment, a quick search on Google will show the details  :)
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