On the Costa dei Trabocchi
Castles, palazzi and Romanesque churches: an artistic heritage of immense value which to many, surprisingly, is still largely unknown.
Although as yet to be included on most conventional tourist maps, Termoli is the principal bathing locality on the coast of Molise. Consistently awarded the European Blue Flag for its splendid clear waters and excellent tourist facilities, Termoli is both a much-loved seaside holiday destination and an efficient modern city.
The old town, situated on a coastal promontory not far from the rest of the city, conserves the traces of the old sea town's glorious past. Dominating the main piazza, Termoli's imposing Romanesque cathedral, dedicated to the Saints Basso and Timoteo, is considered one of the most beautiful in the region.
The hill by the sea
The town of Vasto is of truly ancient origin, apparently founded by the Greek hero, Diomedes. Divided in Marina del Vasto and Vasto Alta, Vasto is both a popular seaside resort and attractive hill town, this latter boasting spectacular views of the sea below.
Vasto Alta still conserves traces of its time as important Roman municipal town, including the ruins of a theatre, thermal baths and various public buildings.
For bird watchers, but also for surfers and divers, the Punta Aderci Natural Reserve, situated on the rocky coast between Vasto and Casalbordino, is an absolute must
Museums and miracles
Situated further inland, Lanciano, like Vasto, has an extremely well-conserved historic center, this despite its recent growth and development in to fully fledged modern town. Sadly, of the ancient perimeter walls only Porta San Biagio and the Torri Montanare have survived the passage of time.
From the top of the towers a stunning view extending from the Italian Apennines to the Adriatic sea can be seen. The town's 17th century Palazzo del Seminario houses the Diocesan Museum and a magnificent collection of centuries-old gold items.
Lanciano's Church of San Francesco, in which the relics of the medieval Eucharistic Miracle are conserved, continues to be the destination of pilgrimage.
Just a few kilometers separate Termoli from the Abruzzo region, the province of Chieti, and Vasto, where the Costa dei Trabocchi begins.
This stretch of coast, which continues all the way to Francavilla al Mare, is named after the area's characteristic fishing platforms which can be seen creeping, crab-like, in to the waters and, since the 15th century, have provided fishermen with a safe way of fishing, even in the most adverse of sea conditions.
A town with a view
Further North, just 8kms inland from Pescara, rests Spoltore. Built on a high plain above the Pescara valley and with magnificent views of the Maiella and Gran Sasso mountains, the town is home to a number of ancient edifices, many of which featuring fortress like crenulations and decorative facades, such as those of the Portico di Rapini and the Salita degli Schiavoni.
With its atmosphere of times past, Spoltore is often chosen as location for televised cultural events and historic re-enactments
The Church of S.Panfilo, an imposing 16th century convent located just beyond the walls of the town, more than deserves a visit.