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Civitella del Tronto

The village and its fortress, an unmissable outpost of history


09 maggio 2023

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3 min

  • Borghi più belli d’Italia
  • Comuni d’Abruzzo


Descrizione lunga

You can't leave Abruzzo if you haven't first visited Civitella del Tronto, one of the most scenic "balconies" in the Teramo province and in the entire region, about 600 meters above sea level, near the Marche border.
If you come from Teramo along State Road 81 Piceno Aprutina, you will see it, after a bend, clinging to a travertine cliff from which the Tronto valley, the Gran Sasso d'Italia massif and the Adriatic Sea open up. A natural strategic function for its fortress located higher up. There are records of this village since 1225: the last Bourbon bulwark before the Unification of Italy.

You should know that the border between the Kingdom of Naples and the Papal States ran here, and Civitella del Tronto was the entrance not only to enter Abruzzo, but to conquer all of Italy.
So, you find yourself walking through a history book, enrolled in the club of the most beautiful villages in Italy signed" first by the Angevins and then the Aragonese, who had made it an elegant Renaissance citadel, with a rectangular fortress and long walls that embraced the village below. 

The dense network of alleys and narrow streets, including the "Ruetta, d'Italia la via più stretta" and the stone houses adorned with masterfully carved portals attached to each other with shared walls, give you the feeling of penetrating a tightly woven fabric that follows the course of the hill. They look like a series of defensive lines, which the inhabitants could abandon in case of attack to reach positions higher up.

The Bourbon fortress, sentinel of the Kingdom after the fall of Gaeta, represented the last bastion of resistance (along with Messina) by putting up a valiant defense against the Piedmontese army between November 1860 and March 20, 1861. Consider that the die-hards of the garrison on whom the Bourbons had entrusted their hopes of restoration, continued to fight even after the city had ratified annexation. 
Explore the 25,000-square-meter masterpiece of military engineering, making it the second largest fortress in Europe. Visit the Historical Museum and its rich collection of ancient weapons, maps and documents, with its three parade grounds, mighty ramparts and patrol walkways, cisterns, the remains of the Governor's Palace. Go to the Church of St. James and the soldiers' barracks, all perfectly preserved after a lengthy restoration process overseen by the L'Aquila Superintendency. You will feel as if you are reliving the days of the siege, those four months of iron and fire, which died out with the end of an era, giving rise to a new course of events.

If you are in the area in the wintertime, you can head to the Monte Piselli ski lifts, a short distance away, and then return to one of the town's restaurants for a feast of local dishes, such as "ceppe" a kind of handmade macaroni prepared with water and flour (over time eggs were added). The name refers to the wooden stick (the "ceppa," in fact), now replaced by an iron usually made of stocking, around which small portions of dough are wrapped and then pulled out in the form of macaroni. The classic sauce is with a three-meat ragout, but the one with porcini mushrooms and truffles is also notable. 
Among the main courses, the evocative "filetto alla Borbonica," which involves a slice of bread and a thick slice of meat, with mozzarella and anchovies, all flavored with a dash of marsala, and the Franceschiello-style lamb (or chicken) stew, with tomato sauce, pickles and white wine, could not be missed.

What else to see:

  • The church of San Lorenzo
  • The church of San Francesco
  • The sanctuary of Santa Maria dei Lumi
  • The Nina Museum
  • The Montesanto Abbey
  • The Salinello Gorges


  • Villages
  • borghi più belli d’Italia
  • Comuni
  • Cultur
  • Fortezza

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Last updated

30/10/2023, 08:44

Published by AbruzzoTurismo