Our weekly round-up of news from Abruzzo in English.

Fuel prices continue to grow

In Abruzzo, and in Italy, in just one year petrol prices increased by 20.5% and by 22.3% for diesel fuel. According to the Consumers’ National Union, only in the last week we have paid €1,22 more for a full 50-litre-tank of petrol than the week before.

The increase in fuel costs drives up prices in supermarkets affecting consumers who are already paying high household bills. National consumer rights associations have called for a government intervention to contain soaring fuel prices.

Today’s fuel prices in Italy. Via Ansa.it

De Cecco pasta fraud

The Chieti City Court refused to dismiss the case against Filippo Antonio De Cecco, which means the man behind the famous pasta brand De Cecco remains accused of fraud in commerce. A judicial investigation last year revealed that the Abruzzese pasta producer imported 4,575 tonnes of French wheat, passing it off as a product from the Puglia region. De Cecco, originally from the Abruzzo region, is the third largest pasta producer in the world with a factory in Fara San Martino. In 2020, the EU Antitrust committee requested that De Cecco stated clearly the country of origin of the flour used and removes from the packaging ‘Made in Italy’ and the Italian flag.

The Abruzzo producer has also been caught using inferior quality, even contaminated, raw materials. Only a small percentage of flour used by De Cecco is from Italy, the rest comes from Arizona, California, France and other countries.

DeCecco packaging prior to 2020 displaying the Italian flag colours and “Made in Italy”. Via DeCecco/Facebook

New flights from Pescara

The regional airport is slowly returning to normality. From February 1, four Ryanair connections will be resumed. Flights to Bergamo will return to the normal schedule with 12 departures per week. Other destinations include Turin (three times a week), London Stansted (twice a week) and Brussels Charleroi (four times a week).

Pescara airport. Photo by E. dipaolo

Castello Camponeschi to be restored

€3,000,000 have been allocated for the restoration of the magnificent, albeit little-known, 13th century Camponeschi Castle and its hamlet located in the village of Prata D’Ansidonia (L’Aquila). Castello Camponeschi hamlet was inhabited until 1963, when the last family moved to the village below. Significant works were done in 2003-2008 but they were interrupted by the earthquake of 2009 and never resumed.  

The Castello Camponeschi Castle is similar to the Castle of Monteriggioni in Tuscany with the houses are detached from the fortified walls. The hamlet is composed of simple rural houses with one room only, two noble palaces and a church.

The hamlet has remained accessible all these years and can be reached by car from Prata D’Ansidonia or on foot, along an ancient trail, from Bominaco.

Castello Camponeschi in Prata D’Ansidonia

The “rarest event ever recorded”

Scientists in the Gran Sasso National Laboratory, the world’s largest underground laboratory dedicated to neutrino and astroparticle physics, have published a detailed report of, what they call, “the rarest event ever recorded” in Nature. They recorded radioactive decay of an incredibly stable xenon-124 atom, a process that takes a very long time. You can read a summary of the event in this more accessible article.

The cutting-edge dark matter detector is housed deep under Abruzzo’s Apennine Mountains where more than 160 scientists from Europe, the US, and the Middle East search for the most elusive of particles, dark matter.

Gran Sasso National Laboratory. Via https://www.lngs.infn.it/

Exports of Abruzzo’s wines grow

In the last decade, the export of wines from Abruzzo to the international markets have grown by 90%. Only in 2021, exports to the USA registered an increase of 12% according to the Consortium Tutela Vini d’Abruzzo. These numbers mean that it is not just easier for international connoisseurs to find Abruzzese wines abroad but also taste better quality from smaller wineries. If you want to support Abruzzese wine makers, when buying Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, always check the back label to make sure the wine was bottled in the region. Many big producers in the north of Italy buy Abruzzese wines in bulk to bottle them for export.

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