The lively, pastel-hued city of Pescara on the Adriatic Coast makes an enjoyable excursion during a tour of Abruzzo. It really comes into its own during the summer, when its many lidi (beaches) fill with Italian vacationers who love spending the day at one of the stabilimenti, or private beach concessions that rent loungers, have restaurants and offer such amenities as Wi-Fi, showers and changing rooms. These lively places are the antithesis of North American beaches, where people stake out their own place with towels and chairs and spend a quiet day swimming and reading. The Italians, in contrast, love playing beach games of every variety and happily spend the day chatting animatedly with their friends and neighbors. For newcomers to Italian beach life, the best club at which to test the waters is Ammiraglia, owing to its excellent restaurant.
Beyond the beach, Pescara is also well-known for its restaurants, many of them serving fish and shellfish. The best in town is Taverna 58, which specializes in traditional Abruzzese cooking. Among the dishes to try are spelt with nettle shoots and wild greens, braised mutton and chickpeas, and salt-cod polenta with rosemary. Owner Giovanni Marrone is justly proud of his wine list, which includes a fine selection from local winemaker Emidio Pepe (Corso Manthone 46. Tel.  085-690-724). La Barcaccia is considered by many Pescarans to be their city’s best fish restaurant, and I recommend the marinated baby squid, fish soup, and pasta with scorpionfish ragu (Piazza 1 Maggio 33. Tel.  085-421-7426). Otherwise, Penelope a Mare is ideal for a casual seafood lunch on the beach (Viale Riviera Nord 132. Tel.  338-656-6607).
Aside from many charming late-19th-century buildings in the art nouveau style — which the Italians call Liberty after the famous department store in London — the main site in Pescara is the Museo Paparella Treccia Devlet. The museum occupies a villa in the heart of the city, which has an eclectic collection of oil paintings, watercolors and local majolica pottery.