Trabocchi Coast On The Road:
This time the great heat and the desire to change a little lead us into an unusual direction, the sea. The Adriatic riviera between Francavilla Al Mare and San Salvo is characterized by a low and sandy coastline surrounded by numerous rocky promontories that break the view from time to time. Today we have visited one of the most characteristic trails with countless villages perched on the hills and promontories, harbors and winding roads: the Trabocchi Coast.
The trabocchi coast is literally scattered with traditional fishing wooden structures called Trabocchi. These ancient fishing machines have always been used for fishing in these places and over time they named the entire coastline area: "Costa dei Trabocchi". The term "Trabocco" comes from a peculiar net fishing technique used also in fowling and is synonymous with 'trap', it is due to the type of large squared nets deposited on the seafloor and raised in unison to the passage of fishponds. Sustained by poles stuck between sand and rocks, these precarious and primitive engineering works, fight their daily struggles with the weather and the sea itself. After every storm requires some repairs but the trabocchi always keep their appearance very characteristic and in tune with the surrounding environment.
In any case their main characteristic nowadays is the mood they evoke in the traveler who is observing them. I assure you that the time spent awaiting the spectacle of the trabocchi's silhouettes at sunrise, almost like big spiders with hundreeds poles, ropes and nets that stand against the warm colors of the dawn is a really well spent time.
This land is also know to host some of the rarest natural treasures of the entire Adriatic coast. In fact, these beaches are the site of nesting of protected and very rare species such as the Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta Caretta) and the Fratino (Charadrius alexandrinus), a small bird protected by European regulations that find every years less space for its nesting dunes habitat. From Punta Aderci you have a view across the coast to the north and south and if you really lucky sometimes you can see the dolphins (there's a stable colony in this marine reserve) that at this point come closer to the shore to hunt, while other cetaceans, including Sperm Whales and Fin Whales, have also been spotted visit off the Vasto and Ortona shores (which are still part of the Trabocchi Coast). One of the best preserved areas is the Punta Aderci marine reserve just few kms from Vasto city.
The second stop of the visit is almost obligatory: the Trabocchi of Punta Cavalluccio are among the largest and elaborate existing and many host typical restaurants and small artisan craft related to the sea offering nice views during your gastronomic tours. Many can be visited by the piers starting from docks and breakwater along the coastline. Other times they are too damaged or abandoned to visit and hold as monuments in the sea recalling the entanglement of the territory with the sea.
The climate here is particularly favorable as the low coast and the warm currents from the south prolong the very good season. It is not unusual to find lush vegetation and blooms of all kinds until almost at the gates of winter. In the summer, the whole coast of tourists, holidaymakers and visitors on Sundays, but in winter, attendance drops a lot and you can explore even the most well-known places with more tranquility. You can practice the most varied sports, from running to cycling to rowing. Various activities such as birdwathing and observation of turtle hatching.
Proceeding north the third stop was visiting the medieval town of San Vito Chietino, perched on a rock blade near the sea. Unfortunately, the old town of San Vito has been almost completely torn to the ground during World War II, and what has been rebuilt is only a part of the ancient splendor. However there is still a lot to see between churches and medieval streets and in particular the awesome "Belvedere delle Lame" from which you can look at the incredible panorama of the whole Abruzzo coast.
Last but not least is the port town of Ortona that like San Vito stands on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea all around the Aragonese Castle. Here the historical roots of the medieval coastal fortifications are still well visible although the majestic castle was built on an unstable section of the cliff itself that caused part of it to collapse down to the seashore. After the restoration of recent years it has become an unbeatable green city park and a belvedere balcony above the port.
It's been a really challenging day and with the 80km of explorered coastline full of pleasant moments to keep, it was a pleasant alternative to the winter grasp already visiting the mountain valleys of the Abruzzo outback. This won't be a unique one however! for the future excursions to the land of the Trabocchi we are planning to visit also the northernmost coast that runs from Pescara to Teramo in search of other pearls overlooking the Adriatic Sea.