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Stage

8

Sunday 14
July 2024

109 km
Altitude gain 2500 mt

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D ::

Pescara -

L'Aquila

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Challenging final climbing stage where things begin with a bang: the first part is all uphill through the villages of Cepagatti, Civitaquana and Brittoli up to Forca di Penne. The peloton will then face the day’s toughest climb at Castel del Monte, at the foot of the Gran Sasso, before descending slightly to Calascio and Santo Stefano di Sessanio. The last major descent of almost 20 kilometres leads to the outskirts of L’Aquila, where the short climb of Acquasanta is a prelude to the final sprint on the straight stretch of the Villa Comunale, which has hosted Giro d’Italia arrivals several times before.

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Pescara

Overview

The first thing we invite you to do when you arrive in the city is to climb the Ponte del Mare, a light jewel placed where the Pescara river embraces the sea. This is how “the surprise of green, rich Pescara, which at times has the color of malachite … and you feel the sea light of all things” opens to the eye. It is often defined as brand new but its oldest part has its roots in the foundations of the sixteenth-century fortress that presided over the river. Its most recent part, born in 1806 around the chapel containing a miraculous image of the Virgin of which today remains the high Baroque bell tower, stretches north of Pescara in the narrow and fertile strip of land between the hills and the protected sea, on the background, from “those mountains that cannot be ignored, monumental and free” which are the Gran Sasso and the Majella. A land of great character, “where you seem to arrive suddenly, crossing the steep gorges and the wide plateaus of the Apennines”, a land of furious aspirations and disarming sensuality which fed the poetry of Gabriele d’Annunzio and acute and cutting reflection of Ennio Flaiano, today Pescara continues to grow, innovative and enterprising as a gateway to the Adriatic.

Food

A rich variety of typical produits and characteristic receipts build the gastronomic tradition of Pescara.

Cardone‘s broth is a must in all Christmas’ menus.

Besides the traditional maccheroni alla chitarra, a remarkable unique receipt is pasta alla mugnaia, formerly known as molinara due to the water mills scattered on the Fino river’s bank since the Middle Ages, producing the flour that, mixed with water, was the only one ingredient of this receipt.

Within the sea planet, the delicious fish broth is the top tier. In the kingdom of meat dishes, sheep meat arrosticini, commonly known as rustell, conquer the highest rank.

Speaking of cheese, a special mention goes to Farindola’s pecorino. Already famous in Roman times (Pliny the Elder considered it to be one of the most delicious cheeses ever served at the Emperor’s table). It risked to disappear around the end of the last century, due to the mass migrations after the Great War. The preparation is an exclusive prerogative of women, who pass the tradition on, safeguarding the memory of a cheese which is prepared with pork’s rennet, which makes it tasty, rich and unique in Italy (and, perhaps all over the world).

The bean Tondino del Tavo, with its rounded shape, takes the name of the valley where it is cultivated, and it is considered to be the wealth of the whole community.

Pipindun e ove is a very special side dish, as well as the cipollata. Olive groves covering the hills around Pescara ensure the production of a prestigious oil, an important added value of any single receipt. It is ideal to taste it on a slice of bread!

As for the desserts, a primacy of honor is to be recognized to Parrozzo. Originally a poor dish whose name was pan rozzo, it was prepared with corn flour to imitate the presence of eggs, cooked in a wood fired oven. Only in 1920 the baker Luigi D’Amico enriched it by adding eggs, almond flour and citrus flavor, covered it all with chocolate to evoke the image of a slightly burnt bread from a wood fired oven, and gave it its characteristic hemispherical shape. That is how Parrozzo was born, a simple yet fine sweet, “chiù doce de qualunqua cosa ddòce” as Gabriele d’Annunzio wrote and as still nowadays reads on its package box.

Wines and Beverage

The excellence of the grapevine and wines from the land of Pescara, whose standing stretches across centuries since the Middle Ages, is due to its hilly terrain whose natural, climatic, physical and chemical characteristics. These determine a terroir that allows the production of a unique and specific wine, expression of the identity of the area.

The noble VALENTINI family, of Spanish ancestry, gives its name to an ancient cellar, the most prestigious in the whole Abruzzo region and famous in Italy and around the world for the high quality of its wines: Montepulciano, Cerasuolo and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. The latter was awarded the title of Best Wine of Italy in 2012.

The wine art of the BOSCO’s cellar began in 1897 on the Pescara hills, from which the “red from the hills” originates. The vineyards guarantee the production of excellent wines, mainly red ones. The BOSCO’s cellar has been exporting wines steadily for 50 years worldwide. Over 60 percent of its annual production is currently destined abroad.

“Total quality, from the bunch to the glass” is the motto of the ZACCAGNINI’s cellar, which produces up to 3 million bottles per year destined for internal and international markets. The art of wine is intended as a true work of art: even the wine bottle label was designed by Pietro Cascella.

The vineyards of the VALLE REALE’s cellar, located on the heights nearby, covered by woods, rich in biodiversity and embraced by natural parks, give life to two different viticultures, due to the variety of climes, all characterized by the considerable thermal excursions that allow the grapes to maintain their essences and their freshness unaltered.

Also of note are the DE FERMO’s cellar, from biodynamic vineyards, and the Cantina del PODERE CASTORANI, taken over in 1998 by former Formula 1 driver Jarno Trulli.

The lands of Pescara give birth to two liqueurs of great stature: AURUM, obtained from the essence of a variety of Abruzzo oranges mixed with aged Italian brandy, owes its name to two Latin words that emphasize its color and taste: Aurum (gold ) and Aurantium (orange), and CENTERBA TORO, obtained from the maceration of herbs from the Abruzzo mountains and precious oriental spices, today highly appreciated after meals and once also used as a medicine due to its high alcohol content (70 °).

Points of Interest

The journey through the city through its most significant places starts from the monumental Government Palace decorated with precious marbles and collections of works of art including The Daughter of Iorio by Francesco Paolo Michetti, large tempera on sackcloths sewn together and from which Gabriele d’Annunzio will be inspired by his famous tragedy of the same name: the city considers it a common heritage and in it recognizes the strength of its roots and its anthropological measure. Immediately after, you are ready to cross the Risorgimento Bridge on the river which is now approaching the sea. We are about to immerse ourselves in the oldest Pescara and meet the birthplace of the Cascella, Ennio Flaiano and Gabriele d’Annunzio in via Manthonè and in via delle Caserme where the Museum of the People of Abruzzo is one of the national realities specialized in the study of aspects ethno-anthropological of the history of Abruzzo and of the peoples of Central Italy. Only a few steps to arrive in that Piazza Garibaldi where, in the Circolo Aternino, the best intelligences of Pescara in the early 1900s were already nourishing the vision of the contemporary metropolitan city of Pescara. Further south await the delightful liberty districts immersed in the d’Annunzio pine forest where the Aurum, an architectural complex of great value, from an innovative holiday center for the nascent bourgeoisie of Pescara in the first decade of 1900, first evolved into that visionary factory of liqueurs that for the first time in Italy made a synthesis of product innovation and culture and now aspires to become a cultural industry, at the service of young startups looking to Europe. On the way you will come across the brand new Museum of the Nineteenth Century which houses a precious collection of Italian and French nineteenth-century works located in the historic building of the former Bank of Italy. And then proceed, regaining the splendid promenade on the Riviera where the Sea Museum, with the new immersive displays, will soon be a point of reference for the history and scientific and historical-anthropological future of the Adriatic Sea. Following the skyline of the Ponte del Mare you will find L’Approdo alla nave, the white ship of Pietro Cascella, open to the sea, directly on the beach, with the bow turned towards the voyage like the people of Pescara, but always ready to return.

Through the intimate Corso Umberto you can stop and admire the delicate beauty of Villa Urania, a nineteenth-century villa in an eclectic style, which houses the Paparella Treccia Devlet Collection, consisting of 151 selected masterpieces of Castelli’s artistic majolica. But later, after having been pleasantly disoriented in front of the Gothic lines of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, one is ready to look to the future reinterpreted through the signs of contemporary art in the IMAGO Museum, in the splendid monumental building of the EX Banco di Napoli which dialogues, in a game of eras that attract and overcome each other, with the Liberty lines of the refined Palazzetto Imperato.

The new Central Station is a stone’s throw away, but Pescara offers other precious treasures of nineteenth-century, liberty and post-modern beauty and is certain that you will come back very soon.

L'Aquila

Overview

L’Aquila, the capital of Abruzzo, is an ancient city whose origins date back to 1254. Distinguished for its history and monuments, it experienced a period of extraordinary economic flourishing throughout the Middle Ages and up to the 16th century, becoming the second largest city in the Kingdom of Naples.

The monumental evidences are framed by a naturalistic context of rare charm, since the city rises at the foot of the Gran Sasso d’Italia massif, surrounded by a mountain habitat rich in woodland and fauna peculiarities and by villages and castles of considerable historical and monumental importance , in an area that is included in two national parks.

Food

The city of L’Aquila and its territory have numerous food and wine excellences. In particular, the saffron, the lentils of Santo Stefano stand out above all, as well as various types of native legumes, and the nougat, a typical dessert of the Christmas tradition. Other typical products of the area are also very well known, such as dairy products, cheeses and cured meats, which have particular processes, as well as liqueurs, among which the gentian one is particularly appreciated.

Points of Interest

The first urban itinerary begins at the basilica of Collemaggio, an exquisite example of Abruzzo architecture in a mixture of architectural styles, from Gothic to Baroque, founded in 1288 by Pietro del Morrone.

Just 200m south we find Parco del Sole, with its lovely natural setting that is home to a playground, a nature trail and a performing arts site housing Beverly Pepper’s Amphisculpture.

The second itinerary starts from the church of Santa Maria del Soccorso (15th century), located to the north-east, outside the urban walls. A striking fusion of Medieval and Renaissance elements, once again using the white–pink intarsia with horizontal listing, it has two distinctive towers. Moving northeast on Viale Panella and then on Via Pescara, we arrive at the Porta Castello gate, erected at the same time as the Spanish fort (16th century). Entering the park, we appreciate the magnificence of the castle. Nearby we find the Auditorium del Parco, a modern wooden performing arts venue, designed by Renzo Piano after the 2009 earthquake. Leaving Piazza Battaglione Alpini, we find the Fontana Luminosa fountain, one of L’Aquila’s iconic monuments, designed by Nicola D’Antino. Just 100m along Via Tre Spighe, we find the Medieval Convent of Sant’Amico with the 15th-century fresco and portal lunette.

Returning to the Fontana Luminosa and heading down Corso Vittorio Emanuele, on the left we find the Nettuno fountain (1881), commemorating Queen Margaret of Austria. Another 200m and we come to the junction with Via Verdi, which leads to the Teatro Comunale (19th century) with its horseshoe interior and stalls, seating 600.

Nearby there is the magnificent basilica of San Bernardino (15th century), in a panoramic position at the top of the staircase in Via Fortebraccio.

The third itinerary starts in piazza Duomo (13th century), with the coeval cathedral of San Massimo (currently closed for restoration), with its Classical revival façade. On the left, the church of Santa Maria del Suffragio (18th century), with an exquisite dome designed by Giuseppe Valadier. The square has two fountains, by Nicola D’Antino and made in local stone, with twin bronze statues. In a few minutes you can reach Piazza Palazzo from here, with Palazzo Margherita (XVI century), recently returned to the city as a Municipal Residence.

The last itinerary starts from the last gate, Porta di Poggio Santa Maria, added after the construction of the railway station (19th century). The fortified walls were about 4km in length and there were 12 gates with 86 towers. The main gates included Porta Rivera, located 400m further east. On the right, we find the scenic Fontana delle 99 Cannelle, a 13th-century fountain and the oldest public monument in the city. It consists of 93 stone masks and 6 single spouts, from which the water flows. Opposite, we find the church of San Vito alla Rivera, of the same period as the walls, its continuous façade clad in white stone.

We are near to the entrance to the MuNDA, national museum of Abruzzo, established in the early 1950s in the historic premises of the Spanish fort, where there are now seven rooms displaying a series of works highly representative of Abruzzo art, from the ancient Abruzzi civilizations to the Baroque period, with archaeological finds, sculptures and paintings.

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