Meanwhile, my niece Victoria visited for a few days from Dublin, where she’s spending the year. It was lovely to bond with her outside the NY-NJ milieu and doubly nice to have a family member to show around the nabe.
Fossacesia is part of the coast of the trabocchi, picturesque fishing structures peculiar to this stretch of the Adriatic.
At least one trabocco near me, Punta Cavalluccio, is also a working restaurant. (The cavalluccio, or seahorse, is the emblem of the town.) It gives new meaning to dining al fresco.
I’ve seen Fossacesia referred to as a “coastal resort,” which might be a little high-fallutin’. “Resort,” to me, connotes something glamorous along the lines of Amalfi. My town strikes me more as a getaway destination for middle-class Italian families, akin to the Jersey shore.
In April, the lido was just starting to come to life.
Beyond the beaches, Fossacesia’s principal tourist attraction is the 13th-century Abbazia di San Giovanni in Venere, which is flanked by olive groves and the Adriatic.
The Abbazia made a picturesque setting for this small, possibly “destination” wedding. It was whispered the couple was American, but we didn’t wait around to verify that and I still find it a little hard to believe.
At night, the view from the Abbazia out over the Adriatic is, appropriately, a kind of meditation.
Other curiosities and claims to fame worthy of remark:
The parish church of San Donato in the center of town has very aggressive church bells. Just look at the horsepower. At least once a day, you get a few rounds of Salve, Regina. I think Vic managed to sleep through the earlier performances.
Fossacesia olive oil is exquisite. We stopped to buy a few bottles at a price that would probably make you cry. I've heard that tourist busses stop in town just to buy it, but I’ve never witnessed that myself. Fossacesia oil is pretty hard to find in the U.S., though I’ve seen at least one label — Ursini — in Eataly in New York. I hope to do an interview at some point sooner than later with a local producer.
The town’s drinking water also is exceptional; it comes down from the mountains and is cold and crisp.
Entire families spend their entire Sundays at table at the delightful Ristorante Fonte S. Lucia with its splendid views. Victoria and I had a scandalously quick lunch of about 2 1/2 hours.
When I tell people I meet in Abruzzo that my house is in Fossacesia, they invariably respond, “Ah, bella, Fossacesia.” It's mystified me a little because, apart from the snapshots above, the town is fairly nondescript as Italian towns go. I always guessed people were referring to the coastline and summer life down at the lido. But with Victoria riding shotgun, I discovered scenic roads virtually two minutes out of the town center that made me realize Fossacesia is even better situated than I’d thought. Maybe it really is Bella Fossacesia, after all. Having a guest sometimes helps you along your own road to discovery.
More on those out-of-town jaunts in subsequent posts.