A beautiful weekend between Abruzzo and Marche: sea, culture and cycling
On the first weekend of September, we were invited to stay for few days in Abruzzo, for helping you to discover a region that, we think, is still underestimated in terms of tourism.
Actually we have been in love with Abruzzo for years, but this time we discovered a part of Riviera – the one between Abruzzo and Marche – we didn’t know well, an area that deserves more time than just a weekend! This area is located between San Benedetto del Tronto and Alba Adriatica and it has so much to offer to any kind of holidaymakers: free beaches for a completely free relax, beach facilities for who wants to be spoilt and pampered; the area is near to big cities like Ascoli Piceno or beautiful villages like Civitella del Tronto. The tourist can choose between different kinds of accommodation for his holiday stay, from family-run camping to five star hotels, and this can’t be taken for granted.
But the real surprise for us was the discover of the cycle path (we already read about it in this beautiful article on Il Campeggio dei Bambini): its name is Abruzzo Bike to Coast, it’s a project under construction but 55 km of the estimated 131 already exist, and it is quite a lot!
But let’s move one step at a time and see together all places and camping we visited, then we’ll talk again about the cycle path and the way we lived it during the weekend.
Between Abruzzo and Marches: culture, sea and fun!
Despite we stayed only for three days, the ease of movements and the proximity of popular sites allow us to never be bored end to visit so many places, both in Abruzzo and Marche!
We started our tour with Civitella del Tronto, located at a travelling time of half an hour from our camping. Civitella del Tronto is a beautiful medieval town and its distinctive character is the imposing Fortress overlooking it. Civitella’s Fortress is a monumental fortified building and is one of the most visited places of Abruzzo; maybe it’s due to the excellent state of preservation, maybe to the elevated location which boasts breath-taking views: in any case, it’s a must-see of the region. You can also find a really interesting weapons collection and visit the delightful medieval town at the foot of the Fortress.
20 minutes away from Martinsicuro we also visited Ascoli Piceno, the principal city of Marche. Ascoli has the biggest old town centre among the cities of the region: it’s entirely clad in travertine and there is one of the most beautiful squares in Italy, Piazza del Popolo. This is a beautiful, liveable city, fervent and lively also on weekday evenings, rich in history, culture and great food (who don’t know ascolane olives or cremini?). Talking about fortresses, do you remember the almost abandoned Fortezza Pia we talked you about this summer? In short, we strongly recommend Ascoli Piceno, and also a great dinner with typical fried dishes: maybe it will not be a light dinner, but you surely will feel really happy after eating it!
We did not miss the chance of visiting San Benedetto del Tronto, a very popular tourist destination in Marche, one of the most famous sea cities in Italy e in Riviera delle Palme. The city hosts a lot of military, religious and historical monuments, but we were struck by the steady air of celebration, with an almost vintage taste made of carousels, stands, tennis courts, walks along the beautiful and very cared promenade, in the shade of palm trees. Also this city has a beautiful cycle path linking to the north with Cupra Marittima and to the south with Porto d’Ascoli. And if that is not enough, San Benedetto is also a cultural centre, with a great number of art exhibitions (mostly duting the summer) and works of art all over the city.
Travelling by car for only 5 minutes (or 3 by train) you can reach Grottammare, another must-see, in our opinion. The highest part of Grottammare is a gorgeous medieval village of very ancient origin (we’re talking about Neolithic!) and we already wrote about it few months ago in a dedicated article.
Campsites in the area
For this weekend we chose to stay in Villa Elena Camping (Abruzzo Camping), located in Martinsicuro. Abruzzo Camping is a web portal containing all the best campsites of the region; we already used it in a special occasion: our first trip with the caravan Martha, the star of all our adventures! At the time, we chose Eurcamping, in Roseto degli Abruzzi, only a few kilometers south of Martinsicuro. In short, we already knew Abruzzo Camping, that contains also a lot of information about this area, its events and places to visit. We find great the possibility to display campsites based on the type of holiday you want: Family, Active, Evergreen, Glamour and Community.
Let’s talk about the campsites we visited, starting from Villa Elena Camping, where we stayed for two nights. Villa Elena Camping is located in Villa Rosa, a district of Martinsicuro, and is a little family-run camping on the promenade: this means that the beach is only 10 meters away from the camping gate. It was not so bad to start the holiday waking up in the morning and having breakfast at the Chalet del Lido, on the other side of the street, on the rocking chairs and with an amazing sea view! The camping is flat and for the first time after months we succeeded in staking the tent on the first try. We really liked the brick built bungalows: we did not go inside them but they seemed really big and well cared to us. The camping is in a relaxed atmosphere, it’s not really big, so children can go around on their own putting parents’ minds at ease. Tourist animation is not intrusive (luckily!) and, even if the season was quite over, on evening it continued to entertain holidaymakers on the stage near to the bar, with moderate volumes, letting you decide if you want to join them or not (we are fully aware that we cannot be always so lucky…) Villa Elena Camping has bars, markets, playground and pool, but also a bicycle rental service (city or mountain bike) we widely used to move on the promenade or visiting the other two campings and the nearest towns. If you are too lazy to cook (or if you want to eat some great fresh fish in a veranda on the seaside) you can’t miss the opportunity to eat at the Chalet del Lido, across from Villa Elena Camping: we had launch there for two days in a row!
Just 2 km south from Villa Elena Camping, we visited the Villaggio delle Rose Camping, another little, gorgeous family-run camping where Marco, the owner, welcomed us telling us about the party recently held for the 50th anniversary of the construction of the camping by his grandfather! Also Delle Rose Camping is located on the promenade, in the district of Villa Rosa, but in a 700 meters walk you can arrive in Alba Adriatica. This camping is perfect for families, due to its intimate and familiar setting. Flat and well shaded, it hosts 30 brick built one and two-roomed bungalows and 100 pitches of which the half part is covered by seasonal visitors, people who are in love with the place and the camping and always come back here, every year and for the entire summer.
Continuing towards south we arrived to Alba Adriatica, where we visited our last camping, Village Eucaliptus: it takes its name from the great quantity of eucalyptus trees shading all the place and making its avenues charming. Eucaliptus is bigger than the other two campsites we visited and hosts new mobile homes and different sizes of brick built bungalows. It provides also a bicycle rental service (two bikes are included in the bungalow price) and a great, beautiful pool, a square with a stage for animation and a little very easy going restaurant, managed by mister Aurelio, where I enjoyed maybe the best fried calamari of my life!
BIKE TO COAST: Abruzzo invests on cycling
And it does it in the best way: a cycle path, sometimes cycle/pedestrian, that should cover the entire coast of Abruzzo, once finished. But we don’t want to talk about hypothetical or future projects: let’s talk about what already exists and we saw and tried. The cycle path Abruzzo Bike to Coast is very well made, it has been designed to obstruct the passage of cars or pedestrians; especially the section that crosses Alba Adriatica is basically a two-lane highway, the pedestrian traffic is separated from the cycling one with hedges. I’m a Roman woman who cycles to go to work and I suffer for the terrible state of Roman cycle paths and for the negative attitudes of both pedestrians and car drivers against cyclists: that’s way I was delighted in front of the atmosphere of tolerance and respect among all the road users. From Martinsicuro we arrived at Alba Adriatica and came back on the evening, and I enjoyed all the fully lit 10 kilometres, in continuous use of tourists and local people. Basically every hotel and camping provides bikes to their clients and every 100 meters you can find a rack belonging to the cycle path or to pubs, bars, restaurants and shops. It is priceless, I think, going shopping, going out on evening, walking on the promenade without worrying about parking or traffic, when you’re on holidays.