Abruzzo snow-clad is quite magical. Olive trees, weighed down by snow take on a look as if the Ice Queen has just been past and her cold blast has left them quivering in a petrified stance. The cones of the mountain pines are the favourite place for icicles to emerge, their bright evergreen needles in vibrant contrast against the bright azure skies that soften into evening mists. Wafts of sweet wood smoke travel around the houses as you walk past, everyone inside in front of their open fires and stufa [stove] even when they have central heating.
Thankfully the local councils in Abruzzo are wonderfully efficient in dealing with clearing the roads of snow and making sure black ice is kept to a minimum. Driving from A to B is quite effortless, without worries of mishaps or being stuck for a night high up on the mountain roadside. Snow ploughs, gritters, tractors you name it you’ll see them all out in force ensuring that the roads apart from the highest mountain passes such as Castelli-Castel Monte are usable. Even on national holidays, for example, when it had been snowing from dusk on Christmas Day dusk through to the morning of St Stephen’s Day (Boxing Day) our sleepy little village’s road is perfectly clean by the time we emerge after breakfast.
5 Tips for Driving in Snowy Weather in Abruzzo
- If you are driving on an autostrada, the A24, A25 or A14 in Abruzzo it is compulsory that your car is fitted with winter tyres or that you carry snow chains between 15th November – 15th April. Fines start at € 84 and go up to € 335. Tyres can be fitted up to one month before and must be taken off by May 15th otherwise you can be fined! Do check your tyres speed limits, speeding on winter tyres can incur fines of between 430-1731 euros!
- If you are renting a car and are ski-ing, double-check there are chains in the boot, or ask for snow tyres from your car rental company. No matter how efficient the Abruzzesi snow ploughs are, there is always going to be one place that hasn’t yet been cleared and you don’t want to lose traction one night and have to push your car up a 10% gradient in a driving blizzard.
- Take an ice scraper with you in your luggage. Most car rental cars don’t automatically include one with your car.
- If you do skid – steer into it, don’t manically steer the other way or try to brake, it’s all about slow control.
- You do never know, so always keep a full tank of petrol, a choccy bar, some warm clothes, and the telephone number of your breakdown company on hand to be on the safe side.