If it is true that, as the Romans used to say, in the name is written our destiny (in nomen omen), Altino owes its "fortune" to its location: it is about 345 metres high on a rocky spur that dominates the Aventine valley projecting as far as the Adriatic coast.
A magnificent panorama, which you must enjoy in all its shades of blue and green, experiencing that sense of freedom and immensity, offered by the scenic nature of the village.
The legend tells that Altino was founded by refugees who escaped in 452 A.D. from the burning of the military port of Altinum set on fire by Attila's Huns, and landed at the mouth of the Saro River, now the Sangro. Here they would have spotted as the island of salvation the rock nestled in the green woods on which the village now stands, an ideal place to build their village.
In the Norman period the village was a fief of Bohemond I of Antioch, Count of Manoppello and Justiciar of Chieti, and later of the lordship of Raimondo Anichino, who with his lineage held the castle until 1534. Thereafter, numerous "masters" of Altino took turns, which also had to suffer looting and raids at the hands of brigands at the end of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
Walking through the tiny historic center you immediately perceive its remarkable environmental value, with the extensive landscapes ranging from the Maiella to the Sangro - Aventino valley floor, to the wooded hills of Mount Pallano to the Rio Secco below.
Elegant mansions, both private and public, open up to your gaze, such as the restored Palazzo Rossetti, which hosts various cultural activities, and the respectable ecclesiastical heritage. Go visit the Church of Madonna delle Grazie, which houses a beautiful panel painting from 1355 depicting the Madonna; the parish church of Santa Maria del Popolo built in the 14th century; and the small Church of San Rocco, located outside the city walls. Probably built between the 15th and 16th centuries, it has recently been restored.
On the food front, be sure to taste the "Sweet Pepper of Antino", a must of the area, which makes dishes such as pasta del contadino or sagne al cotturo unique. Its color is deep red and locals call it "paesanello" or, in dialect, "peperone a cocce capamonte." A few years ago a small museum based in Palazzo Rossetti was dedicated to it and an association was formed for its protection, promoting a festival, held in August, in the name of Altino's ambassador bell pepper.
Don't miss it if you are in these parts.
What else to see:
Villa Di Lallo, also known as la Silvestrina
The sulphurous spring in the Briccioli district