Places of interest

Loreto Apruntino

Pre Roman in its origins the settlement was built around the castle and named Laurentum after its many Bay Laurels. With the decline of the Romans, the area came under the control of Norman counts and was then passed to Lombard nobility.

In 1863, after the unification of Italy, the adjective ‘Aprutino’ was added to the name of the town to distinguish it from several other towns in Italy. The production of olive oil and wine is a mainstay of the local economy with a museum in the centre dedicated to Olive Oil.

Loreto Apruntino


An integral part of the Gran Sasso national park, Voltigno is a high plane surrounded by jagged rocky outcrops. It is a vast area of unspoilt green and is captivating in every season. With its abundant wild life and plants it is becoming a popular area for walking, bird spotting and mountain biking.

In the winter the area is transformed into a snow shoe and cross country ski centre with a series of prepared pistes. From Voltigno the immense Campo lmperatore high plane is also easily accessible by mountain bike or on foot.

Gran Sasso national park Voltigno

Monte Bertona & the ruins of Bertona

Monte Bertona (1220 m) is located on the edge of the Gran Sasso national park and looks out over the rolling hills towards the Adriatic. On its characteristic flat top there are the ruins of a medieval look out tower and the abandoned village of Bertona said to have been founded by Frederico Barbarossa.

Spreading from the top like spokes on a bicycle wheel are a series of walls which were used to marshal attackers so the defenders could launch vast rocks at them. The mountain is rich with myths and tales of buried treasure, brigands and witches. A stone which was used by a local witch to foretell the future of sick children can still be found there.

Monte Bertona & the ruins of Bertona


Tracing it’s origins back to around 300 BC this beautiful town has a rich history. Since Roman times it has acted as a regional centre and market place. Through out the middle ages its ownership was passed between Dukes, Kings and Emperors with its golden age starting when Charles V gave it to his daughter Margaret as a wedding present. Under Margaret, Penna became important as a center of power in the Abruzzo region, and many fine palaces and civic structures were erected during this time. Penna has exceptional architecture.

Its churches include the 12th· century church of Santa Maria in Colleromano, and the Duomo, which now houses the Diocese Museum including a crypt dating from the 8th century. The old town streets and houses are built of brick, which has lead to it being known as the small Siena.

The Abbey of Santa Marla dl Casanova

The Abbey of Santa Marla di Casanova

The first of the Cistercian abbeys in Abruzzo, Santa Maria di Casanova was founded in 1197. With the spread of the Cistercian order over Italy its importance grew quickly until it administered a large network of other abbeys in Abruzzo and surrounding regions. Its growth was also helped by the decline of the Benedictine monasteries.

At its height at least 500 monks lived in the abbey and produced extraordinary scholastic works (many of which are housed in the Ambrosiana library in Milan), works of art and furniture Its gradual decline was brought about by changes in economic circumstances, religious attitudes and the actions of surrounding land owners.

Eventually in 1807 with the suppression of religious orders by Joseph Bonapart it was dissolved. Since then it has laid in ruins. Anyone interested in finding out more about the Abbey should contact us or read the excellent history L’abbazia di Santa Maria di Casanova, Giampiero Provico (Cooperativa Cospes)

The Abbey of Santa Marla dl Casanova

Vestina markets

Through out the region there are a series of village markets which act both as places to buy the the day to day necessities associated with rural life and as an opportunity to meet, be seen and sort the world’s problems out over a grappa. The key markets are:

  • Civitella – Sunday morning
  • Villa Celiera – Tuesday morning
  • Penne – Saturday morning

Vestina Markets

Come and see all Villa Celiera has to offer

Get in touch