In the province of Chieti there is a magical place to visit if you are in Abruzzo with children, right by the sea. It’s called Costa dei Trabocchi and it’s over sixty kilometers long. It starts in San Vito Chietino and ends in Vasto. Disseminated along the coast there are several characteristic “trabocchi”.
Gabriele d’Annunzio celebrates the “trabocchi”
What does the word “trabocchi” refer to? They are rudimentary fishing machines; basically a platform built on wooden stilts a few meters from the coast, which can be accessed through a suspension bridge, also made of wood.
Poles (or antennae) stretch out from the platform, and then there’s a complicated mechanism of pulleys and ropes to which fishing nets were attached. The entire “machine” was operated by hand.
The famous Abruzzese poet Gabriele d’Annunzio called them “the colossal spiders”, while my son compared them (a little less poetically) to “boats that never sail”.
If you are in Abruzzo with children remember it is possibile to dine on some of threse trabocchi – a very unique experience, especially in the evening, at sunset.
Panoramic viewpoints overloking the costa dei trabocchi
There are at least two amazing vantage points from where to admire the Costa dei Trabocchi. The first is in San Vito Chietino, please do not confused it with San Vito Chietino Marina – or you will never find it. Go to the Belvedere Guglielmo Marconi for an “comprehensive view” over a beautiful stretch of seaside and its trabocchi.
A second charming panoramic terrace is the one right in front of the San Giovanni in Venere Abbey of in Fossacesia; overlooking the beaches of Fossacesia Marina.
Places to swim near the trabocchi if you are in Abruzzo with children
There are several “beach” areas where you could go while on holiday in Abruzzo with children. Remember that there are no facilities on most of these beaches, so bring everything you might need to the day. Another point: do not overestimate the swimming skills of all family members, because in some places the sea is deep and swimming could be unsafe if kids can’t swim very well.
Trabocchi in San Vito Chietino
In San Vito Chietino there are many trabocchi, though it is not always easy to reach them – because the access roads that are either not well-maintained or the road signs are just missing. The most suggestive, where the sea is simply perfect, is Trabocco Turchino in Portelle Promontorio Capo Turchino.
The Cala Turchina beach is a pebble beach and the sea is deep,, therefore it is only suitable to those who are in Abruzzo with children who can swim very well. With small children I would rather recommend the beach by the pier in San Vito Chietino Marina: there are two establishments and the sea-bed here is shallow. Two beautiful trabocchi “sit” by the pier: I think they are called Trabocco Vento di Scirocco and Trabocco San Giacomo.
Trabocchi in Rocca San Giovanni
In Rocca San Giovanni the coast is often jagged, with many charming and hidden coves, but the sea is generally not suitable for families with young children. An exception (but there may be others) is the Lido Cavalluccio, and halfway between Vallevò and Fossacesia Marina.
The beach at Lido Cavalluccio is about thirty meters long, mostly covered with sand and with shallow waters; it is also close to the Trabocco Punta Cavalluccio.The nearby cliff (Lo Scoglione – the big cliff). This beach is suitable for families travelling to Abruzzo with small children.
We have heard that the restaurant in Trabocco Punta Cavalluccio is delicious – but you need to make reservations well in advance.
Trabocchi in Fossacesia
In Fossacesia Marina the beaches are long, wide and covered with white pebbles, the sea is crystal clear but deep – therefore not suitable with small kids. Before entering the village from the north, however, there are free beaches with small pebbles mixed with sand, where the sea is low and you can swim surrounded by small white fish and occasionally even eels.
The closest trabocco can be found near the car park – Trabocco di Punta Rocciosa, – while the other, in the Fuggitelle area (Contrada La Penna), is called Trabocco Pesce Palombo. Both are used as restaurants; I have eaten several times at Trabocco Punta Rocciosa, and the food is truly amazing.
Trabocco in Torino di Sangro
In the locality of Torino di Sangro there is only one trabocco … it is called Trabocco Punta Le Morge and it is a bit tricky to find – as it is not located along the wide sandy beach of Le Morge. This beach, by the way, is very suitable for those who are traveling to Abruzzo with children.
Back to the trabocco: the stretch of sea where it is located, on the other hand, it is not suitable to swim with kids. Do go there if you are in Abruzzo with children, though – because it is the only educational trabocco in the area. This is the telephone number of the cultural association Lu Travocche
Trabocco in Vasto
Near Vasto Marina, on state road 16, there the most beautiful trabocco of the coast, the Trabocco Cungarelle, with its incredibly long footbridge. It is possibly the most scenic of all – and the good news is that the sea there is definitely suitable for families. The beach has a sandy bottom, the water shallow and transparent. Rumours have that the Trabocco Cungarelle restaurant is simply fabulous.
Beaches without trabocchi
The seaside in Abruzzo has beaches to suit all tastes: in the Costa dei Trabocchi area, I would like to point out two of our favourite beaches – without trabocchi. Both are family friendly and sea-bed is gently sloping.
The beach of Punta Penna, within the nature reserve of Punta Aderci, is certainly one of our favorites and recommended for a beach day with children. The beaches are very long, surrounded by coastal dunes, and the sand is super-soft. Friends have occasionally spotted sea turtles, but we have never been so lucky.
We visited the sandy beach of San Salvo only once, and we loved it. The northern shore is particularly suggestive and covered in spontaneous vegetation and dunes. Definitely a place to visit if you are in Abruzzo with children.