Summer days in Ovindoli, Abruzzo

I’ve already written about one of my favorite winter weekend get-aways from Rome in Skiing in Ovindoli.

But for those who love outdoor sports, the town in the Apennine Mountains is also an ideal summer destination.

Ovindoli is about a one and a half hour drive east from Rome. It’s located in the region of Abruzzo, within the borders of the Sirente-Velino Regional Park.

Abruzzo is the green heart of Italy, home to three national parks: Gran Sasso National Park, the Abruzzo National Park, and the Majella National Park. All are within easy reach and are well worth a visit.

A mass on the town square, decorated with flower petals

Ovindoli is what is called a borgo, a town that built up within the walls of a castle. Sadly, little is left of the castle now, but there is a panoramic viewpoint from the castle’s belvedere at the highest point in town.

The town serves as a good base for lots of hiking in the area. There’s a 5 kilometer loop in the Val d’Arano for hiking, jogging, mountain bike riding or horseback riding.

From that loop you can branch off to the more challenging hikes of the Gole di Celano(Celano Canyon) or Monte Sirente. All are well marked.

With my favorite hikers

Bike rentals and guided or unguided horseback excursions can be easily arranged.

Italy’s summers are qute hot and humid, particularly in Rome. This is why Abruzzo is such a popular weekend destination. At 1400 meters, the days are warm but not humid and summer evenings are cool. It’s ideal weather for hiking or biking – two activites I’d never attempt during Roman summers, but can’t wait to do out in the cooler mountain air.

Chitarra pasta – typically from Abruzzo

This is Italy, where you can’t discuss a region to visit without touching on the food and wine. Food in Abruzzo is simple, but excellent. Regional specialties include the chitarra pasta, fresh egg pasta – thicker than linguine, but narrower, and cut with a stringed instrument that resembles a guitar, hence the name – served with the local saffron cream sauce, delicious gnocchi (especially good in this potato-producing region) with ragù (tomato sauce with meat), sausages, scamorza (melted cheese) or arrosticini (lamb skewers).

Great restaurants in town include my favorites: La Baracca, over by the ski slopes (this is a winter favorite, too); Il Pozzo, in Ovindoli’s old town; and La Pinetina, where there is outdoor dining in the summer months.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is the region’s most famous wine. The Montepulciano grape is indigenous to this region and produces a strong red wine, with low acidity, ideal for the region’s meat-based specialties. The Trebbiano d’Abruzzo is the region’s most well-known white wine, but I’m a fan of Abruzzo’s white Pecorino wine. The wine, which has a quite high alcohol level for a white wine (13%), comes by its name because it so perfectly accompanies the region’s pecorino (sheep cheese).

So, what are you waiting for? Pack up your hiking boots and a sweater for the cool evenings, and enjoy the nature of Italy’s Abruzzo region in Ovindoli.

P.S. – Just a note of thanks to talented writer and blogger Julia Hones, who also happens to be a wonderful critique partner. Julia was kind enough to blog this week about the book I’m preparing to pitch. The reason I mention it here is that my fictional town of Marsicano is, in fact, based on the very real  town of  Ovindoli. The landscapes and descriptions are mostly accurate. I fictionalized it to make the town more isolated in the winter months. Therefore, I ‘eliminated’  its bustling ski resort so that my character’s isolation, once the town shuns her, would be more believable.


  1. ledrakenoir on July 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Like you post, and like visiting Abruzzo – mostly Teramo, because of good friends there… 😉

    • kimberlysullivan on July 24, 2012 at 4:46 pm

      Thanks, Ledrakenoir. Glad to know you visit Abruzzo, too. It’s one of those interesting regions a little off the well-worn foreign tourist path.

  2. Julia on July 25, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Majestic views and a beautiful family. Thanks for sharing, Kimberly.

    • kimberlysullivan on July 26, 2012 at 8:50 am

      Thanks, Julia! And I think you’d be interested to know it’s just one hour away from Chieti. So when you come to explore Abruzzo, you’ll have to come here, too. : )

  3. Christina Ciaccia Buchanan on August 2, 2012 at 2:49 am

    Great advice about Ovindoli. My family and I visit every summer as my parents were from Ovindoli and immigrated to Detroit in the early 1960s. The restaurant suggestions were perfect as were the descriptions of the food. I am also a fan of their biking trails. Good luck with your book and I would love to read it.

    Christina Ciaccia Buchanan
    Grosse Pointe Park, MI
    PS. We leave next week for our annual visit.

    • kimberlysullivan on August 5, 2012 at 8:15 pm

      Too funny, Christina… this shows it really is a small world! We’re not there this August – but hopefully we’ll bump into you next time! You’ll enjoy the (brand new this spring) biking trail that goes all the ay to neighboring Rovere and Rocca di Mezzo (alongside the road). Buon viaggio! Ci vediamo a Ovindoli. : )

  4. Suffering from snow withdrawal | kimberlysullivan on February 26, 2013 at 7:13 am

    […] in a little town called Ovindoli. I’ve already written about skiing in Ovindoli  and spending summers  out […]

  5. Julia on June 26, 2013 at 1:35 am

    One hour away from Chieti. Wow! What am I doing here? I need to visit these places…

  6. […] I always look forward to a week-long skiing break (heck, if I could, I’d make it a month-long skiing break), and my kids are avid skiers. I’ve written before on skiing in Ovindoli  – a mountain town close to Rome, and summer visits to Ovindoli. […]

  7. Montepulciano wine Italy on April 22, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Congrats for this amazing family vacation! You chose the right place.

  8. […] my story. If you want some tips for travelling in Abruzzo, take a look at my posts on visiting Ovindoli in the summer and […]

  9. […] of what to see in Abruzzo, see my earlier posts on visiting medieval Pescostanzo, summertime in mountaintop Ovindoli or winter in Ovindoli . And if you’d like to read one of my published short stories, set in […]

  10. […] of what to see in Abruzzo, see my earlier posts on visiting medieval Pescostanzo, summertime in mountaintop Ovindoli or winter in Ovindoli […]

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