Chieti's coastal cycle path
This part of the Abruzzo coast, set in the province of Chieti and facing the Adriatic Sea, is truly something of a jewel, set firmly between the sea on the one side and the hills, vineyards and orange groves on the other.
Unblemished nature, unmatched waters and a beach that has proudly won many blue ribbon awards. And, since autumn 2005, the disused railway line.
Now local authorities are planning to put the old track to good use. Tommaso Coletti, the president of the province of Chieti, along with other local political leaders, plan to develop this stretch of the Abruzzo coast to improve even further the already burgeoning tourism trade.
The ambitious project, commissioned by the province of Chieti, is being worked on by a group of experts headed by Prof Luigi Mazza, lecturer at Milan Polytechnic. Central to the plan will be the establishment of a cycling path on the former rail track.
It will run along some 35 miles of coast and will cross the National Park of the Teatina coast, with its natural reserves rich in flora and fauna and its rare and protected species so delicately and perilously at risk of extinction.
The eco-friendly path will be a green corridor linking, to the north, Chieti province to Pescara and to the south, extending all the way to Campobasso.
It will allow nature lovers to see at close quarters, against the background of the gentle sea, rare species of vegetation.
This, of course, is an area where fishermen down the ages have earned their living from the sea. Now, although parts of that noble tradition belong to the past, it is a past no-one would want to see disappear, characteristic as it is of this part of Chieti and indeed, the Abruzzo coast.
Work on the first part of the path, linking Francavilla to Vasto, will begin in 2009. It will open up the area to foreigner and local alike. For it is not just the tourists who fill the coaches that come to this part of Abruzzo, but also local residents, from the mountains to the coast, to discover a scenery rich in natural beauty, monuments, architecture and art.
Then there are also the medieval hamlets, nestled in the foothills and slopes of Abruzzo’s Majella National Park; the historic centres of the larger cities; the religious pilgrims drawn by the Eucharist Miracle of Lanciano; the area's rich archaeological treasures.
This, then, is the province of Chieti, between the crystal blue waters of the sea and the majestic Majella.
Not forgetting, of course, the products typical of this part of Abruzzo, still made to ancient specifications with a unique skill handed down from generation to generation through the ages. A superlative wine. So much hospitality.
And all this with a rich wrapping of the natural, spontaneous warmth of her people. Chieti, a true delight.
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