Set amid verdant highland plains, Pescocostanzo is practically alpine. It's a surprisingly grand hilltop town, whose historical core has changed little in more than 500 years. Much of the cobbled centre dates from the 16th and 17th centuries when it was an important town on the 'Via degli Abruzzi', the main road linking Naples and Florence.
An underappreciated city of fantastic restaurants, narrow medieval streets and half-discovered mountain magic, Sulmona sits strategically on a plateau surrounded by three national parks, making it the ideal base for outdoor excursions in Abruzzo.
Pacentro is a gorgeous hill town, its three slim Renaissance towers evoking those of Tuscany's San Gimignano. It has never expanded far beyond its medieval boundaries and remains free of the unsightly modern sprawl that encircles some of its bigger neighbours.
These are the top experiences and sights in Pescocostanzo, Sulmona and Pacentro, according to Lonely Planet.