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Reader Responses 

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Hermen and Heleen Gombert-Ter Beek, 25 August via email

Dear Mrs. Paardekooper,

A few days before my wife and I were to leave for Italy for a holiday in the Marches and Abruzzo, I saw your book Abruzzo, the green heart of Italy in a bookshop in Leiden. I bought it, and we really enjoyed it! We had planned to hike in the Maiella National Park for years, and now we were going to go there. Indeed, we have hiked in the national park, but with the help of your book we have done so much more!
I will mention a few places that we discovered thanks to your book: San Clemente a Casauria, Bominaco, the San Tommaso at Caramanico Terme, Roccamorice with the Eremo di San Bartolomeo in Leggio, Villa Badessa (indeed we were shown around by the pastor, nice conversation - my wife and I can make ourselves understood in Italian -) Moscufo and the Santa Maria del Lago, Pacentro and Sulmona.
We did see that the earthquakes of 2016 had caused quite a bit of damage. In Atri, for example, the cathedral was closed. But that was much worse in the Marche. Nevertheless, we had a fantastic stay in Abruzzo, not least thanks to your book!
Our compliments for that, and many thanks!

Heleen and Herman Gombert-ter Beek

Sebastiaan, August 29 in a review on

Wat lezers van het boek 'Abruzzo, het groene hart van Italië' zeggen

Lucia Jansema, September 15, 2017 on Facebook:

You spoke to us at the fair at Haarzuilens. We would first go to Portugal ..... but after reading your book we left for Abruzzo ..... and what a beautiful region ..... we were able to drive 5 routes and were full of admiration what  we have all seen.....beautiful......At the campsite we recommended your book for the Dutch who want to discover Abruzzo.....we will definitely come again. Your book has made a major contribution to that. Thank you for this.....

Hille Smit, review on

A book about the green and culture-rich region of Abruzzo in central Italy. After a foreword and an introduction about the background and characteristics of this relatively unknown area (partly under reconstruction after earthquakes in 2009 and 2016) and a historical overview, five chapters follow with routes in and around the cities of L'Aquila, Teramo, Pescara and Chieti, with schematic maps and clear descriptions of varied landscapes, the high mountains of the Gran Sasso, the Adriatic coast with white beaches, special nature in national parks (with bears and wolves) and many places of interest such as excavations, museums, castles, abbeys and medieval churches with unique paintings . Distribute tips and information in colored blocks (regional products, traditions, art, staying with the Dutch). Richly illustrated with good, large color photos. With literature, useful websites, glossary and index. The author is a Dutch teacher of classical languages and an expert on Italy. Beautiful, informative publication, the first Dutch guide to this region, for preparation and travel, for a wide audience.

Hillie Smith

Readers of the book sent me this photo from Vasto in September 2017:

Lezers laten zien waar het boek 'Abruzzo, het groene hart van Italië' hen heeft gebracht

June 2018 Annelies and André Homan, Almere-Haven

Looking for additional travel guides about the Abruzzo, we initially only saw foreign guides until we saw and bought the book Abruzzo – The green heart of Italy in Groningen in the travel shop “De Zwerver”. There is nothing more fun than discovering a country through routes and place descriptions. We have therefore decided to try to drive all the routes in the book Abruzzo from places that appear in the routes and to stay there. The places we stayed have become Santo Stefano di Sassiano, Manopello, Giullianova and Sulmona. In the total of 16 days we stayed in the Abruzzo, we were able to do most of all routes.

Experiences Abruzzo June 2018 and the book Abruzzo – The green heart of Italy

We have visited the place L'Aguila, but actually it is so badly damaged and people are working so hard in all kinds of places that it is better to skip the place at the moment.

A beautiful and quiet route is the route within the Gran Sassos, really beautiful. Coincidentally, the Giro d'Italia also came through in 2018 just before our holiday. We drove the routes outside the high season and then it is often a problem to be able to visit a church.

The churches (which are open) are often open on weekends, so on Saturdays and Sundays. Like the Santa Maria di Ronzano, which we would have liked to see. Unfortunately, that sometimes doesn't work out with the days we were in the area.

The 2 churches in Bomanico are really worth seeing. We were lucky that there was a wedding in the church Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta and the person who opens the church Oratorio di San Pelegrino on request was also present (we paid € 2 for the key). A wedding was also prepared for the church in Serramonacesca de San Liberatore a Majella and the church was open.

The Prata D'Ansidonium could be found but the signage (as is often the case in Italy) was bad and on the spot itself we could find the city walls but unfortunately not the Roman theater and the temple described. The beautiful towns of Ocre and Fossa are really under construction and are also difficult or impossible to visit.

We wanted to visit the 2 churches in Roccamorice. The beautiful rock church Eremo di Santo Spirito di Majella was no problem and worth seeing. However, we could not find the church Eremo di San Bartolomeo in Leggia because there were no signs for the correct road/route.

We found the very narrow gorge Fara San Martino really worth it,

June 2018 Annelies & André Homan, Almere-Haven

July 2018 family S., Pijnacker

Hi Ingrid,

We put our money where our mouth is and went to Abruzzo this summer. We use your book to the fullest. Here [f oto added original post] we are in Castelli, with that beautiful San Donato, the Sistine Chapel of majolica. Did the abbey route today.

Abruzzo is a true discovery for us. What a beautiful part of Italy! And somehow very relaxed and with very friendly people. We really enjoy it here..., and your pen fruit is highly recommended. We think of you every day.

September 2018, Els and Dick Wijstma

Dear Ingrid,

Thank you for the wonderful book about Abruzzo.
Based on your book, we had a wonderful holiday, where we did not encounter any tourists.
From Rome it is indeed a 2 hour drive on beautiful autostrada's.
4 days San Stefano and then 10 days near Atri.

We had to get that off our chest.


Els and Dick Wijstma

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