The first time I saw Pescara I took the not very long bus trip from Francavilla al Mare and wandered around the city on foot.
It was a Sunday, the sun was shining, the sky was blue and the beach looked beautiful.
Pescara seemed quiet, almost empty, lacking in activity and the buzz that goes with a busy city. It was Sunday lunchtime, and I hadn’t become used to how quiet things can get in Italy around lunchtime on a Sunday.
Pescara has a modern feel, and at the time of first seeing it I admit that I thought it lacked character. I was more drawn to the towns and villages of the mountains with their spectacular views of the Gran Sasso and the Majella.
But the truth of it is that I never really gave Pescara a chance. I’d use it as a hub to get to other places, I’d pop in to do a bit of shopping, I’d meet people off the bus from Rome – but I never really relaxed there.
But you find your way.
First it was music. Calling into Pescara to check out the local jazz offerings. Dropping in to buy a few CDs.
Then it was food. I kept an eye on the Carbonara’s Weblog which regularly posted tips on bars, cafes and restaurants to try. As a result of this blog I’ve had the most exquisite pizzetta I’ve ever tasted in Trieste on Corso Manthonè. Light, crisp and bursting with flavour – I could easily eat more of them than would be good for me.
Food and music are great ways to thaw a cold heart and slowly, but surely, I’ve learned to look forward my little trips into the metropolis.
Armed with new found enthusiasm I suggested to P that we should go there for the day and be tourists. Have nothing to do other that explore the city, walk along the beach, visit a couple of museums, have a nice lunch and maybe, just maybe do a little shopping. (I had my eye on a pair of walking boots in Globo.)
We had a great day.
Even though it was close to 20 degrees the beach was very quiet. I think it has to be above 25 or perhaps close to 30 degrees for the locals to feel comfortable taking the rays.
Getting off the bus at Piazza della Repubblica we walked towards the old town. We gave Trieste a skip on this occasion and headed for Museo Civica Basilio Cascella on Viale G. Marconi, 45. For the princely sum of €3.08 we were practically the only visitors to a museum displaying over 500 works from five generations of the family Cascella. Different styles, different mediums and different attitudes covered the walls of most fascinating building on the edge of the old town area.
I can’t do it justice in words. I asked if I could take photos and I was told that I could take pictures if I took them of the rooms and their contents, but not specifically of the works themselves. The photos will give you a feel for the museum.
I loved the large canvas works by Tommaso Cascella (1890 – 1968). He’s vibrant images of the Abruzzo countryside stood out for me.
Moving on we visited the Casa Natale di Gabriele D’Annunzio (the birthplace of Gabriele D’Annunzio). I wasn’t allowed take any photographs here. The house is in great condition and I think I may have come the closest I’ll ever come to a Brioni jacket as several of D’Annunzio’s suits were on display.
There’s a free little book I picked up that is really useful for museums of Abruzzo. It’s called keepers of timeless marvels or custodi di meraviglie senza tempo. It’s in English and Italian and is a guide to the museums of the Province of Pescara. It lists seven museums, all within walking distance, in the city of Pescara alone. I was given a copy in the Casa Natale di Gabriele D’Annunzio.
- Casa Natale di Gabriele D’Annunzio
- Museo Civico Basilio Cascella
- Museo d’Arte Moderna
- Museo del Mare
- Museo delle Genti d’Abruzzo
- Villa Urania
I really wanted to see the Museo delle Genti d’Abruzzo (Museum of the Peoples (Tribes ?) of Abruzzo). But it was lunchtime and P rightly pointed out that saving it for another trip would make it more enjoyable.
We asked the lady in the Casa Natale di Gabriele D’Annunzio for suggestions and she directed us to Caffè Letterario on Via Delle Caserme, just behind Gabriele D’Annunzio’s birthplace.
It was wonderful.
In a large bright airy dining room we were encouraged to try the buffet option. With plenty of veg on offer, which looked beautifully cooked, along with a very reasonable price tag of €7 for a large plate of whatever you fancied, Caffè Letterario seemed like the perfect choice. Yes I went for the buffet, and unlike buffets I’ve tried in the past nothing was tired and everything I selected, including the pork. Tasted great.
They were playing soft gentle jazz in the background and I got the impression that there was live jazz on the weekend.
Moving on we popped into a couple of shops, had a coffee in La Belle Epoque, (about 5 minutes walk from the train/bus station at Corso Vittorio Emanuele Ii, 398 – leave the station and walk left in the direction of Montesilvano) and then I got my wish and found the perfect hiking boots in Globo.
After all this we decided to head back to Loreto Aprutino. Not a problem we thought as there was a bus leaving the station in 30 minutes. We walked on a little in the direction of Montesilvano, had a prosecco (as you do) and then waited the arrival of the bus in very, very good spirits.
It didn’t stop for us!
Checking with the locals they said it doesn’t stop at every bus stop and the stop we want is about ten minutes away towards Montesilvano.
We found it in plenty of time for the next bus. We checked again with a local bar and hair dressers and they confirmed that the bus stopped here.
It didn’t stop!!! I stood in its path and waved like a lunatic but it didn’t stop.
Spirits a little dampened, we took a 38 to Cappelle sul Tavo, where we were certain the bus from Pescara to Loreto stopped, and decided to wait for the next one there. We checked with the driver of the 38 (a bus that goes from Cappelle sul Tavo to Pescara Airport and vice-versa) and he explained that the Pescara – Penne suburban buses, including our bus that goes to Penne via Loreto Aprutino, only stop at bus stops that are marked with “Auto Linea”. Oh, and the bus stop outside Globo was one of these.
You gotta laugh!
We made it back a few hours later than we hoped after having a nice cultural day in Pescara, a damn fine lunch, holding a pair of walking boots and we learned something new about the transport system.
A pretty good day really.
If you fancy being a tourist in Pescara look out for the tourist map Quattro passi tra Ieri e Oggi (Four steps between yesterday and today). It suggests several walks around the city, highlights places of interest in each area and I think would ensure any time spent in Pescara would be very enjoyable.
If you want a copy of the tourist map Quattro passi tra Ieri e Oggi and the previously mentioned custodi di meraviglie senza tempo you should be able to pick them up for free in the tourist office and some of the museums.
I’m not yet done with Pescara. I’m convinced there’s plenty more to see and do so watch this space.