Giulianova: A Beachside Gem in Abruzzo

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Beaches in Abruzzo don’t get much press. They are far from most tourist sites. But that’s exactly what makes them enjoyable.

We had an opportunity – thanks to, of all things, a winning raffle ticket – to visit the Abruzzo seaside town of Giulianova. And we were pleasantly surprised.

Giulianova is notable for a number of monumental churches, chief among them Madonna dello Splendore. This 16th century church is known for its miraculous fountain, said to have been blessed by the apparition of the Virgin Mary.

Pilgrims come to wade in the mosaic-laden font to absolve their sins and cure their ailments.

The cold water of the miracle fountain is also quite refreshing on a hot summer day.

Madonna dello Splendore is located in the historical upper town of Giulianova, where an artistic revitalization has taken place. Unlike many towns in Abruzzo – a region largely characterized by its stern, mountain-ringed villages – Giulianova has the feel of a colorful beach town without all the usual tchotchkes.


After making a pilgrimage to the residential heart of Giulianova, its main draw – the beach – beckons. Giulianova’s beach isn’t particularly stunning – no dramatic cliffs for jumping; no sparkling white sand – but it is lively and serviceable, with stabilimenti (chair/sunbed rentals), beach bars, and nearby hotels.

Magic hour on the beach in Giulianova, Abruzzo

Magic hour on the beach in Giulianova, Abruzzo

If you go, you should know that I had one of the best seafood lunches in my life in Giulianova. Osteria dal Moro is a Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant on the lungomare of Giulianova. Here, you sit down (after having made a reservation!) and the plates start coming. Assaggi (tastes), antipasti, primi – all creatively plated and seasoned – make for a very elegant lunch or dinner. But they’ll also accommodate picky younger eaters with plates of pasta rossa.

Melanie Renzulli
Melanie Renzulli

Melanie Renzulli has been writing about Italy for more than 25 years.