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Walking on Water: The Most Unique Dining Experience in Abruzzo

One of the greenest regions in Europe is found in the heart of Italy. The centrally located and culturally southern Italian region of Abruzzo is often a distant thought in the mind of foreign travelers - one of the reasons the area has remained wild and untouched. There is no shortage of unique sites to see and traditions to experience. You can wander through ancient medieval villages dotting the Apeninne mountains and soak up the sun and beautiful blue waters along the Adriatic Coast. This is a region that has something for everyone and contains some particularly unique features that can only be found on this part of the Italian peninsula. 

(Photo Credit: Arianna DiCicco)

One of the most special and distinct parts of the region is the spectacular Costa dei Trabocchi (Trabocchi Coast). Stretching over 40 kilometers from Ortona to Vasto, you will find characteristic fishing platforms speckled on the crystal blue Adriatic Sea. These fishing machines are a distinguishing feature of the coastal landscape along the southern Adriatic. The platforms are anchored to large rocks with long arms (antennae) suspended above the water with a meshed net, jetting out into the sea. The ingenious technique was created many centuries ago by fishermen to combat the weather and sea conditions. 

Although these fishing machines can also be found along the coast of Molise and northern Puglia, it is known to have been invented in Abruzzo. What was once a means to feed and support multiple families, trabocchi have evolved to be a cultural symbol as well as a tourist destination of the region. Nature lovers can find total freedom and beauty at the Punta Aderci Reserve, near Vasto. The panoramic views, speckled with trabocchi, are breathtaking and it’s hard to believe there's such a pristine and untouched coastline that still exists.

(Photo Credit: Arianna DiCicco)

Many trabocchi have been transformed into restaurants serving course after course of regional seafood dishes and local delicacies. Even Alessandro Borghesi from the acclaimed series “4 Ristoranti” dedicated an episode to Abruzzo and dined at two different trabocchi restaurants.  For those who can truly dive into a meal enjoying all of the fruits of the sea, this dining experience, above the crashing waves with a side of sea breeze, is one of a kind. 

In fact, it will offer you something beyond comprehension that you will only find in this part of Italy. The most enchanting way to understand a trabocco is to experience it!

Arianna DiCicco

Arianna DiCicco is an educator and writer from California, born into an Italian American restaurant family with strong ties to her grandparents’ home in Abruzzo, Italy. She has lived in San Francisco, Rome and New York City where she’s made deep connections within the Italian communities and gained new perspectives about her own culture. With a Masters in International Education, Arianna has a love and passion for learning and educating others about Italian history & culture.