The whole time I was in Abruzzo I found myself marvelling. Marvelling at the sheer wild beauty, marvelling at what a friendly bunch the locals are. But the thing I marvelled at the most was just how come I’d never heard you could ski in this place before.
In fact, the Abruzzo is off the tourist radar even in summertime. It’s one of Italy’s poorer regions, a fact that’s helped to preserve its medieval hill towns and traditional way of life. This is Italy as it used to be, a rugged outpost where sheepdogs still wear huge spiked collars in case they run into wolves, and the food is robust peasant fare, renowned throughout Italy, but especially in Rome, where a whopping number of restaurateurs come from the region.
The expression “best-kept secret” is often used to promote lesser-known destinations, although might equally suggest “unsuccessful marketing” – rather like “could do better” on a school report. Every now and then, though, the “best-kept secret” turns out to be exactly that, and the ski areas of Abruzzo fit that category.