Best 5 Places to Live in Abruzzo for English-Speakers

In the eastern part of central Italy, Abruzzo sits sheltered by the Apennine Mountains, separating it from much of Italian society. The region is truly unique, with untouched landscape of nature, beautiful, spontaneous cities built on hillsides. 

For anyone looking for a taste of one of the greenest landscapes in Europe, Abruzzo is perfect for you. Let’s take a look at what you can look forward to in the region and the five best places to live in Abruzzo.

What you can look forward to in Abruzzo

Abruzzo is a region of vast untapped potential (though “tapping” this potential may take away the things that make it so wonderful). The region is separated from Lazio by the Appennine Mountains, so historically and even in modern times, making the trek to this area wasn’t the easiest.

This means the people who live here have a deep respect for the natural beauty that surrounds them. Unlike bigger cities like Rome and Napoli, you won’t find as many graffiti-tagged buildings and piles of garbage. Instead, you’ll find seemingly endless opportunities for outdoor adventure, from skiing to hiking, horseback riding to fishing.

On top of this, the cost of living is very low. Compared to the other 20 regions, Abruzzo is the 6th cheapest region in Italy. The Abruzzo region’s average home price is under $250,000, or $121 per square foot, and you can easily find apartments for under $100,000. In Lazio, Abruzzo’s neighboring region, which is home to Rome, home prices are nearly double on average.

But Abruzzo is definitely not for everyone. Though these pros may appeal to many nature enthusiasts, the quiet way of life and downtime doesn’t work for some. Plus, with the low cost of living comes complications like low wages and few employment opportunities.

On top of this, things like healthcare, taxes, and other bureaucratic issues may be much more complicated in smaller towns throughout Abruzzo. Generally, you’ll have to be a patient soul if you want to get anything done in this region.

Reports of federal government funding slow to make its way to the region mean less-than-ideal infrastructure. Poor roads, overworked government officials, and more may add extra frustrations to living in the region.

Abruzzo is a perfect region for someone with the right mindset. Though you’ll have to invest in many things, like learning the language and a patient attitude, it’s a nature-lover’s dream region.

5. Roseto degli Abruzzi

A town resting between the sandy shores of the Adriatic Sea and the western hills, Roseteo is an idyllic setting that represents the best of Abruzzo and Italy in general. Named after the wild roses that grow along the coast, Roseteo is full of natural beauty, from the palm trees along the coastal roads, the hillside dotted with olive trees, and golden sand of the beaches.

Perhaps ironically, one of the better parts of Roseto is that it hasn’t met the eye of developers, as it’s mostly visited by locals. Many Italians from bigger cities like Rome or Napoli spend their vacation here during the summer, cooling off in the Adriatic waters.

The coast isn’t the only attractive outdoors setting you’ll find in this city. Roseto Degli Abruzzi is also home to the Borasacchio Nature Reserve, where you can find the Pinete Mazzarosa. There, you’ll find plenty of locals taking a stroll through the pinewoods to take a break from the heat. 

With only 25,429 inhabitants, Roseto can feel quite small, though. And with that, it may be difficult to find a job, especially if you aren’t fluent in Italian. On top of that, the high-speed internet connection may be 

Additionally, the cost of living is quite high compared to many towns in the region, especially due to its seaside location. But this is only if you compare it to Abruzzo cities; if you compare this city to other similar sized towns in other regions, you’ll find it affordable. 

A large house in Roseto degli Abruzzi costs on average $296,000, roughly about $40,000 above the region average. 

4. Loreto Aprutino

With a population of just over 7,000, Loreto Aprutino, like many smaller towns throughout Italy, has struggled with depopulation. However, this gives plenty of opportunities for retirees or digital nomads, as there are many inexpensive quaint homes throughout the town. On top of this, the cost of living is quite low, with studio apartments running for around $330 a month. 

Location wise, Loreto Aprutino is situated on a hill about 45 minutes from the mountainous Gran Sasso National Park and 30 minutes from the coast. The town has excellent recreational opportunities, perfect for people who love hiking, mountain climbing, skiing, and other outdoor activities. 

Of course, the low population may make things more complicated than in bigger cities. For example, if you do end up purchasing an affordable home, you’ll probably have to do extensive work on it. But with such a small population, you may struggle with the renovation process. 

You’ll have to wait for permits from local city hall, work with the busy schedules of the few professional laborers in the town, and deal with an infrastructure that isn’t the best.

3. Ovindoli

Ovindoli is a charming village located in the westmost section of the region. It offers a picturesque setting with narrow, winding cobblestone streets and a small-town atmosphere. Like most of Abruzzo, it’s a perfect setting for people and families who love outdoor adventures.

During the winter months, Ovindoli becomes a popular destination for skiers who want to tackle the slopes of nearby Monte Magnola. In the summer, the village attracts vacationing families looking for a refreshing escape from the heat. 

As a drive or train ride of under two hours from the heart of Rome, you’ll find plenty of city dwellers in the busier seasons. You may find work in the busier seasons, though if you’re looking for a quieter lifestyle, you might want to try elsewhere.

Ovindoli is a largely walkable village. Within a fifteen-minute walk from the main piazza, you can find a mountain bike rental shop, horseback riding excursions, and a forested park with picnic tables and stunning mountain views. The village also hosts concerts and other events during August evenings, too.

The town of Ovindoli itself has a very small population of around 1,200 people, with a tight-knit community of friendly locals. Though this creates a warm and welcoming environment for newcomers, dining and shopping options aren’t the best, and infrastructure is inconsistent at best. You would probably also want your own car to get around the town and surrounding villages, too.

If you’re looking to buy a home in Ovindoli, plan to spend on average $314,000 for a 2,000-sqft home. 

2. L’Aquila

Nestled in the northern part of the province, L’Aquila is a small and pleasant city surrounded by high mountains, providing breathtaking views and a tranquil atmosphere. The city is the capital of the province and region and one of the largest cities on our list.

L’Aquila offers an affordable cost of living compared to other Italian provinces. The average monthly income is around $1,650, making it an attractive destination for English-speakers looking to relocate. Renting a small apartment in the main city area costs approximately $700 per month, providing budget-friendly options for residents. A 2,000-sqft home in L’Aquila costs on average $280,000. 

L’Aquila has a population of around 70,000 people, making it one of the most populated cities on the list. Because of this, the city offers a vibrant nightlife scene with a variety of bars, pubs, and clubs catering to different tastes. The city comes alive after dark, offering live music performances and a bustling atmosphere. 

One of the major advantages of living in L’Aquila is the quality of life it offers. The healthcare system is solid, with a good number of pharmacies, general practitioners, and specialized doctors in the town. In terms of transportation, L’Aquila has a comparatively good public transport system, although the city is small enough to be easily navigated on foot. 

While L’Aquila has many advantages, the city is still recovering from a devastating earthquake in 2009, which destroyed a large part of the historic center. However, significant efforts have been made to restore the city’s beauty and heritage. 

If you are looking to purchase a fixer-upper home, you may have to deal with new regulations in order to comply with earthquake-proofing the home. Though this isn’t necessarily a negative in terms of safety, you’ll have to jump through a lot of bureaucratic hoops in order to get permits.

1. Pescara

Pescara is a modern city located on the Adriatic Sea, making it a popular seaside resort and a major tourist port. It is the largest city in Abruzzo and is known for its vibrant artistic and cultural scene. The city offers excellent public transportation options, including an airport, railway station, and interregional bus services, ensuring easy connections with the rest of Italy and beyond.

Pescara has a population of over 120,000 people, making it a medium-sized city, though in the context of Abruzzo, it’s a huge town. A large percentage of this population is made up of university students from the University of Cieti and Pescara Instituto Gabriele D’Annuzio, where around 25,000 students are enrolled.

This is one of the main reasons why the city’s lifestyle is so rich with amazing cultural experiences. There’s an incredible amount to do in the town, like visiting the Vittoria Colonna Museum of Modern Art or the Sea Museum, sunbathing on the sandy beaches, or enjoying local theatrical performances and festivals.

Pescara tends to be a bit more expensive than most of the other towns in the region, with an average home price around $356,000. Other than real estate, every day expenses in Pescara are very affordable. 

Of course, with a name like Pescara, you’ll find amazing seafood in this seaside town. A typical dish is squid boiled in vinegar and served with garlic sauce, lemon juice, hot pepper, salt, and oil. The town is also thought to be the birthplace of arrosticini, grilled skewers of lamb meat.

While Pescara offers many advantages, there are a few potential downsides to consider. English speakers may find it challenging to communicate with officials and locals, as there are relatively few English speakers compared to major cities like Milan or Rome. Employment options for non-Italian speakers are limited, primarily focused on teaching English in schools or as private tutors.

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