Discover the Costa dei Trabocchi, Abruzzo

Mara Noveni | Live the World

November 23, 2022

The “Costa dei Trabocchi” is the stretch of the Adriatic coast in the province of Chieti (Ab[ruzzo](, which extends along the Via Adriatica highway 16, from Ortona to Vasto. It is characterized by the widespread presence of the "trabocchi," a characteristic fishing machine built on a palafitte.

© iStock/Sgar80

They are also called "down-to-earth boats." The trabocco is a fishing machine consisting of a platform connected to the earth by a bridge and suspended on beams. Erected and fixed with great mastery behind rocky peaks and rocks, where the sea has depths and currents favorable to fishing. From the platform, wooden arms (antennas) that support the large net (scale). The scale is lowered and hoisted with the help of a large winch fixed to the center of the same platform, extend towards the sea; a wooden cabin acts as a shelter for fishers.

Despite its archaic appearance, it is, therefore, a machine of complex engineering, refined in a secular practice that seems to be traced back to some Sephardic families who settled on this stretch of coast around the seventeenth century.

The oldest trabocchi are over a hundred years old, as shown by that of Punta della Mucchiola, dated 1880; and the famous Trabocco del Turchino, to which are referred the verses written by Gabriele D’Annunzio and built-in 1871.

The trabocco, although a fragile structure, can withstand the impact with the sea, and survives the destructive force of nature in a love-hate relationship with it, thanks to the necessary maintenance and often reconstruction work. However, sometimes the damage after a storm is so severe that it is necessary to rebuild an entirely new trabocco.

Today the trabocco no longer performs its secular function of integrating the agricultural economy, since the sea no longer offers fish in the same quantities and quality as in the past. Some have been turned into documentation and information points, many others in restaurants. Meanwhile, this product of spontaneous architecture, an example of a marriage between man, land, and sea, today retains the function of identifying this magnificent stretch of the coast.

Along the Costa dei Trabocchi, flavors of a cuisine of land and sea meet, combining tradition and innovation. Peeking through restaurants and trattorias, the panorama offers splendidly restored trabocchi suspended on the shores of the sea and framed by broom bushes. These fishing machines, reinforced against the wrath of the sea, are offered to the visitor suggesting an experience of absolute protagonism among the rocks, breathing the smell of algae, thanks to one of the most original and poetic destinations of Abruzzo. The food and wine proposals acquire a typical character and meaning and suggest the best local wines.

To eat in the trabocchi, you have to book at least a day before because the service is done only by appointment and the places at the table are few. Fresh fish is guaranteed on the table.

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