If you are on holiday in Abruzzo, either by the sea or in the mountains near Pescara or Maiella National Park, you should stop at Alanno, a 20-minute drive from either area.
There is a riot of vineyards and olive groves surrounding you, which characterize this corner of the landscape, intertwined with the economic heart of the town, Alanno Scalo, with the railroad, the A25 highway tollgate and the industrial area.
The old town is spread out over the hill, but before you immerse yourself in the beautiful medieval reality made up of three mighty towers, two square and one round, and a spider web of small streets, "le rue," stops three kilometres beforehand to enjoy an unexpected jewel of art and faith, the Madonna delle Grazie Church.
Don't be fooled by the simple, spartan appearance of the exterior, which features a single-arched portico and a portal carved in soft Maiella stone. It is the interior, one of the most distinctive examples of Abruzzi Baroque. The work begun in the late 1400s and finished in the early 1600s, with frescoes dated 1522, maybe from the school of Andrea De Litio, and with a precious triptych set in the altar dating from the 14th century, of the Umbro-Marches school, attributed to Antonio De Nino.
Stunned and amazed by the richness of this sacred monument covered with decorations, ornaments, painted and relief figures, head downtown to admire the complex of the 16th-century Church of St. Francis, in the former convent, transformed into a prestigious Agricultural Institute in 1872 by Enrico Ruggieri.
And as you walk through the ancient streets, you can feel all the history of the village, which is lost in the mists of time, as they say. This is evidenced by the pre-Romanesque settlements found at Oratorio and Collegrande, although the earliest settlement dates to the Longobard era, as the name of the village leaks out: a Longobard toponym, meaning "land by the river."
In fact, Alanno is located between the Pescara River and the Swan Creek.
Don't miss the excursion to the Alanno Lake Oasis in the municipalities of Alanno, Bolognano, Scafa and Torre de' Passeri and entrusted to the management of the WWF. It is 38 hectares of great environmental interest around an artificial lake created by a dam on the Pescara River, which provides shelter for various species of waterfowl and the formation of rare plant species such as the Yellow Iris, the symbol of the place.
You just have to taste local specialties representing the flavors of Abruzzo itself, such as anellini alla pecorara, "sagne e ceci", arrosticini, sausages, porchetta, fried pizzas, and fried cheese.