Pescara (Abruzzo)

The Essential Guide to Pescara

Founded in the early 20th century, seaside Pescara is the most populous city in the region of Abruzzo. Heavily bombed during WWII, it’s a great example of a modern Italian town that was able to pick up the pieces, post-war, and reinvent itself. 

Located along the Adriatic Sea at the mouth of the Aterno river, Pescara is popular in summertime thanks to its ribbons of sandy beaches lined with stabilimenti (private beach clubs), eateries and pop-up bars. There is a sprinkling of public beaches up and down the almost 20km stretch of coastline where you can spread out a blanket and plant an umbrella for free. 

Besides the beach, Pescara has one of the largest and busiest ports and marinas in Abruzzo, as well as historical and art museums, a centuries-old cathedral, lots of dining, shopping and a buzzy nightlife.

When you go

Pescara
Pescara. / Photo by Tommaso Camplone via Unsplash


Pescara’s climate is relatively mild, with temperatures averaging from 7°C (45°F) in the coldest month (January) to 24.5°C (76°F) in the warmest month (July). Being sandwiched between the sea and the Maiella mountains, Pescara can experience winds of up to 100 km/h (62mph), sometimes resulting in lower humidity and warmer temperatures during the winter months.

How to get there

Conveniently situated halfway between the regions of Le Marche and Molise, Pescara makes an excellent base from which to tour other towns along the Adriatic coast.

By train

Pescara’s main train station, Pescara Centrale, is well-connected to other Italian cities such as Ancona, Rome and Bari. For schedules, fares and booking information go to ItaliaRail.

By car

If you’re arriving by car from the north, take the A14 Autostrada at Ancona and exit at Pescara Nord. From Rome, travel east on the A25 Rome-Pescara highway and get off at the Pescara/Chieti exit. If you’re starting out from the south (Bari), follow the A14 and exit at Pescara Ovest/Chieti.

By air

Pescara’s Abruzzo Airport (PSR) is serviced by budget airlines connecting with many European cities. TUA buses run every 20 minutes to Pescara’s central train station, or you can pick up a taxi at the ranks outside the departure area. 

Getting around Pescara

It’s an easy 15-minute stroll from the main railway station to the beach (or to the city’s grand cathedral). For destinations beyond the center, grab a municipal bus at the bus terminal, which is only a two-minute walk from the train station exit.

Best things to do and see in Pescara

beach in Pescara
Pescara's beaches are well-equipped with amenities.

Have fun in the sun and surf

Wide swathes of golden sand beaches with gentle lapping shallow waters make Pescara a great place for families vacationing with children. All along the shore are amenities and services, plus plenty of outdoor food and drink establishments.

After soaking up the sun all day, take an evening stroll along the city’s beautiful waterfront promenade. It begins at Francavilla al Mare (to the south), with Montesilvano at its northern end. After dark, the area around the marina transforms into a thumping open-air nightclub.

Visit the Cathedral of San Cetteo

Constructed in 1949 from the bombarded remains of an 18th-century church, the Cathedral of San Cetteo (Piazza San Cetteo 1), with its austere white stone façade and three rose windows surmounting three doors, is in line with the city’s Fascist-era style. Within the rectangular three-nave interior are wonderfully preserved works of art, such as the 17th-century painting of Saint Francis of Assisi, attributed to Guercino and gifted to the church by Gabriele D'Annunzio. 

People-watch on Piazza della Rinascita 

Especially at sunset, the Piazza della Rinascita — also known as Piazza Salotto — is a central gathering place for locals and visitors. At the southern end of the Square is a sculpture of an elephant by Vicentino Michetti. 

To pick out souvenirs, taste the local cuisine or sip a pre-dinner aperitivo, head over to the Corso Umberto I. The car-free thoroughfare runs from Piazza della Repubblica to the sea at Piazza Primo Maggio.

Traverse Ponte del Mare

Inaugurated in 2009, Ponte del Mare (Lungomare Cristoforo Colombo) is a pedestrian- and bicycle-only bridge with spectacular views of the city, sea and mountains. Designed by South Tyrolean architect Walter Pichler, the 466-meter span is part of the Adriatic Green Corridor that connects Ravenna to Santa Maria di Leuca. To date, the bridge is the largest cable-stayed, travel-on-foot bridge in Italy. 

Soak up knowledge at the city’s museums

An engaging ethnographic museum, Museo delle Genti d'Abruzzo (Piazza Garibaldi 41/2) traces the history and customs of the Abruzzo inhabitants from a Paleolithic hunter to Italic tribes to the days of Roman rule. There are combined entry tickets for this and the Museo Civico “B. Cascella” (Viale Marconi 45), set in a former chromium-lithographic plant. Today, the civic museum houses work by its namesake, Basilio Cascella, as well as by his sons and grandsons. Also on display are original period furniture, sketches, ceramics, lithographic stones and postcards.

Pieces by Miró, Picasso and Guttuso are some of the important works on view at the Vittoria Colonna Museum of Modern Art (Via Antonio Gramsci). 

Controversial poet and ultra-nationalist, Gabriele D'Annunzio (1863-1938), was born in Pescara and the Museo Casa Natale Gabriele D’Annunzio (Corso Gabriele Manthone 116) pays homage to the home of its most famous son. The small, nine-room museum exhibits furniture, documents, manuscripts, photographs and even his death mask (displayed in a polished glass case to protect it). A short film (in Italian) introduces visitors to this larger-than-life historical figure.

Admire the Nave di Cascella Fountain (Cascella Ship)

Built in 1987 by the sculptor Pietro Cascella, the Nave di Cascella (Lungomare Giacomo Matteotti) is an expressive white travertine fountain with a dual meaning: It represents the city's close ties with the sea and evokes galleys of Spanish ships that once forced imprisoned Pescara citizens to work as oarsmen.

Tasting Pescara

arrosticini
Arrosticini are a specialty throughout Abruzzo.

What to eat

Brodetto di pesce alla pescarese is a typical mixed seafood stew, slow-cooked in a pot with tomatoes, herbs and peperoncino (red pepper flakes).

Maccheroni alla molinara are long and loopy egg noodles rolled and shaped by hand, then cooked and served with an Abruzzese ragù (meat sauce). 

Arrosticini are local delicacies that consist of castrated sheep meat skewered on a wooden stick and roasted over a fire.

What to drink

Aurum is an aged brandy-based, orange-flavored liquor. Created in 1925, the name comes from the Latin word meaning “gold”. You’ll find it served on the rocks or poured over creamy gelato.

Top events and festivals in Pescara

We Love Fest – Mid-to-late August

The renowned international music festival draws thousands of music lovers from all over Italy and abroad. The calendar of events is designed in two parts: big names in the international music scene and a section dedicated to local, up-and-coming artists. 

Held in Piazza della Rinascita. More information can be found on the Municipality of Pescara’s website.

FLA-Festival di Libri e Altrecose – November

For bookworms everywhere, the FLA-Festival di Libri e Altrecose (Festival of Books and Other Things) is a cultural event that began in 2002. Its goal is to promote reading and writing by bringing together authors, literary critics and the general public.

Held in various locations around Pescara. For more information, see the festival website.

Open-air market day

Every Monday near the stadium area.  

 

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Recipes From Abruzzo

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This show-stopper of a cake from Abruzzo has three layers of flavored sponge cake and two layers of rich custard for a decadent dessert.

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These ring-shaped cookies, common in central and southern Italy, are made with olive oil and wine...perfect for setting out on the table with coffee or tea when guests drop by! 

 

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In Abruzzo, the soffione is a traditional Easter dessert, though its growing popularity means you can now find it year-round in many bakeries throughout the region.

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Legumes form the base for this Abruzzese country-style soup, a humble but delicious dish that uses not only the chickpeas, but also their cooking liquid, leaving nothing to waste.

What others are saying about Abruzzo

@k_ciolli asks:

We are purchasing a home in the Chieti region of Abruzzo. It comes with about 20+ acres of scrub farmland. Nothing is growing on it now but weeds and scrub brush. What would it take to obtain a declaration of an Agritourismo on this land?

@SRodgers asks:

Are there any English speakers in the greater Pescara area? My husband and I are near Citta Sant’Angelo, not permanent residents but we visit four times a year for about eight weeks in total. We are learning Italian but are at a very basic level.

@mozart asks:

We are at last taking possession of our flat in Villa Sant'Angelo, L'Aquila and will be there from 16-23 May this year.