A Return to Roots in the Heart of Abruzzo
Nestled near the lively town of Sulmona in the region of Abruzzo, Italy, lies the unassuming but beautiful village of Prezza. For me, Prezza is more than a dot on the map; it’s a part of my history, a place where my roots dig deep, my birthplace. Despite my migration to the USA age 16, every summer, the village draws me back, not just for nostalgia and friendly ghosts but joyful, unhurried experience it offers, a world away from my life Rhode Island.
With roots tracing back to Roman times, Prezza served as a fortress for the defence of the territory of Corfinio when “Corfinium” held the status of the capitol of the Italic populations (90-89 B.C.). In the XV century, Prezza earned the name “Praesidium that has been adopted by one of the finest organic wine makers in Abruzzo, whose wines you can’t miss out trying if you come. It’s a place where every cobblestone seems to tell a story, and each archway hides a piece of the past.
Prezza, with its serenity and strong commumity entices everyone back for the summer, migrant families from the US, Canda, Venezula and Australia all return and each night congregate in the piazza to drink and watch the sun set over Monte Prezza, Monte San Cosimo and the Morrone mountains. It feels like a warm haven to avoid routine and troubles of the world, some people have comfort food I have a comfort village to indulge in.
A Village with a Heart: Small, Yet Alive
Like most small towns in Abruzzo, Prezza’s population is decreasing but at a slow rate that eludes many of its neighbours, the current estimate is 950 residents. Its small independent shops and bars and restaurants remain open, one mini-mart, 2 butchers, 1 trattoria, 1 pizzeria and 2 bars. Each day I walk down the hill to the bar for breakfast, an espresso and a cornetti from the bar overlooking the piazza and fountain, my slow walk back up, justifying my sweet pastry daily indulgence of the summer!
Prezza’s easy accessibility to the autostrada down the hill in Pratola Peligna has been a boon not just in modern times but also historically, facilitating trade and cultural exchange that have left their mark on the town. Although Prezza has its own bakery, it is not one you can walk into, it supplies local shops and supermarkets, but you can buy its bread from the Mini-market, do try Prezza potato bread, delicious! Across the seasons you will find farmers in their Ape selling their seasonal produce in the main piazza.The local cuisine is a celebration of fresh, seasonal ingredients prepared with love and tradition which you can enjoy from at the local trattoria or pizzeria.
Easy Access to Autostrada: Gateway to Adventure
Sulmona, capital of confetti is just a short 20-minute drive away and the autotrada just a 10-minute drive away, here in Pratola Peligna is our nearest supermarket too, everyone can easily embark on day trips to neighboring towns, national parks, the coast and historic sites. conveniently from Prezza.
The Artichoke Festival is held at the end of May; vibrant spring colors collide with a lively atmosphere, a nod to the town’s agrarian roots and the sweet, small artichokes that grow on just one side of the town, Another agricultural sagra worth attending is the Sulmona Red Garlic Festival, pungent plaits, trellis and dishes made with this superb garlic.
The murals that now adorn the town’s facades add a contemporary touch to Prezza’s timeless appeal, but they also serve as a visual journey through the town’s history. Their scenes of daily life in centuries past to depictions of pivotal moments in Prezza’s story enrich the townand connect the present with its storied past.
For this American born in Prezza, each summer return is not just a personal pilgrimage but a continuation of a narrative that spans centuries. It’s a celebration of a town that has stood resilient through the ages despite some incredibly tough times, particularly after the 2nd World War for example when so many of us had to leave to find work.
Prezza Rental Experience: Living Like a Local
If you are looking for a base to explore the Peligna Valley do consider a stay in Prezza, there is still life here and if you want to buy a little place, the ‘balcony of Abruzzo’ is one place to consider where the 7% tax rate for retirees is eligible.
My family house, nestled in the heart of Prezza, has become a haven for those seeking an unhurried vacation in Abruzzo to enjoy simple pleasures and become a part of the community even if only for a brief time. For those visitors that come along on my summer tours to Abruzzo, we come to Prezza to taste wine, learn to make sausages and eat porchetta in the piazza.
Prezza – A Homecoming for the Soul
Returning to Prezza each summer is not just a journey to my roots; it’s a celebration of the virtues that make this village a hidden gem in the heart of Abruzzo. From the easy access to the autostrada for exciting day trips to the calming vibes and culinary delights that define the local experience, Prezza offers a unique blend of tradition and modern convenience. Whether you’re a traveller yearning for a genuine cultural experience or someone like me, rediscovering the beauty of home, Prezza welcomes you with open arms and promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of Abruzzo.