Costa dei Trabocchi: A stretch of paradise on the Abruzzo coast

April 26, 2022 | By

The Costa dei Trabocchi is a glorious stretch of coast in the Adriatic Sea, in the province of Chieti, between Ortona and Vasto. This breath-taking coastline inspired Gabriele D’Annunzio, and the writer bought a fisherman’s house which he transformed into his love nest. The trabocchi, described by him as ‘colossal spiders’, were the background to part of the story told in his masterpiece ‘The Triumph of Death’.

Discover the Abruzzo coast

The name Costa dei Trabocchi derives from the presence along the coast of ancient fishing machines on stilts typical of the seaside towns of this area. There are 23 trabocchi along the 40km of coastline. Anyone who has ever been to Abruzzo and has seen its beautiful coastline will not be able to forget the splendid panorama of the trabocchi, unusual giants emerging from the waters.

Their origins are not yet clear, but it is certain that their presence makes it a captivating landscape. These bizarre constructions are fishing machines on stilts, which according to some testimonies should be credited to the Phoenicians. Whatever their origins, it is certain that we are talking about very special structures which stand out against the blue of the Adriatic Sea, and arouse great emotion.

Many trabocchi have been restored to their original beauty, and some of them host restaurants where you can taste some tasty local dishes, in full respect of Abruzzo traditions. It is impossible to describe them all: each of them has a millennia-long story to tell, and only by admiring their majesty is it possible to fully understand what wonder they can arouse in visitors. But the Costa dei Trabocchi still has many other beauties to offer tourists.

The Costa dei Trabocchi boasts a verdant landscape, in particular the Lecceta di Torino di Sangro, a protected reserve close to the mouth of the Sangro river, which overlooks the Abruzzo coast. The Punta Aderci Nature Reserve too alternates vineyards with fields of wheat, giving magnificent colors and scents that will leave an indelible mark on any visitor’s memories. The area extends up to the promontory of Punta Aderci, a balcony overlooking the sea overlooking the beautiful beach of Punta Penna.

Other things to do in Costa dei Trabocchi

This fascinating stretch of the Adriatic coast is characterized also by a profound religious spirit, for the sanctuaries and abbeys that are erected from one country to another and which are destinations for devotional pilgrimages. In the cathedral of Ortona sports beautiful Romanesque architecture, and since the 13th century the relics of St. Thomas the Apostle have been housed here, the one who questioned the resurrection of Jesus.

Two places to be seen in this wonderful location are the Church of San Michele in Borgata Marina and the English military cemetery of Turin di Sangro. The small church was built in the 90s, in a modern style with a triangular facade, while the Sangro military cemetery, was built in 1946 in the Sentinella district, to house the bodies of British and non-English soldiers, enlisted in the Battle of the Sangro in 1944. It has a large garden with tombs marked with a symbol, all the same in stone form.

The Punta Penna lighthouse is located in the port of Vasto. Standing 70m high, it is the second tallest lighthouse in Italy. Originally built in 1906, it was destroyed in 1944 during the war. Later rebuilt with an appearance similar to the original on a project by Olindo Tarcione, it currently appears as a slender masonry construction in the form of a tower, used in the past as the headquarters of the harbor master.

Near the lighthouse, there is the neo-Gothic church of Santa Maria di Pennaluce. Continuing along the adjacent road we find, located on a headland overlooking the port below, the sixteenth-century Torre di Punta Penna, built at the behest of Charles V to counter the Turkish invasions.

The Marian Sanctuary of Abruzzo is located in Casalbordino where the “Madonna dei Miracoli” is adored in memory of an apparition which took place in June 1576. D’Annunzio described the pilgrimages of poor peasants in the “Triumph of Death”, while the painter Michetti created the images in the framework of the “Cripples” who implore a grace from the Virgin Mary.

Currently the “Via Verde della Costa dei Trabocchi” is being completed and aims at the continuous connection between Ortona and the old railway station of Vasto, in the larger context of the Adriatic Green Corridor, the cycle path that will connect Trieste to Salento.

If you are wanting a holiday which incorporates more of the hidden gems like Abruzzo, consider speaking to our expert travel consultants who can advise you. We are proud to show off our favorite spots in Italy and send you home with travel stories that will be the envy of many. Get in touch to start planning!

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