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Penne is one of the most important towns in the province of Pescara, a reference point for the Vestina area. Thanks to its strategic geographical position, it is the ideal place for all types of stays: both in the summer and the winter since, with a drive of just 45 minutes, it is possible to reach the mountains where, in the summer, there are beautiful walks and, in the winter, equipped ski slopes on the peaks; in addition to this, there are also the sunny seaside resorts with their crystal clear waters for bathing. The historical centre of Penne is situated in a panoramic position on two hills, Colle Castello (m 475) and Colle Sacro (m 462), between the Fino and the Tavo valleys. From the natural terrace constituted by Penne, to the west, the mountains of the ridge of the Apennines are visible just a few kilometres away. Penne also represents a point of access to the Gran Sasso National Park through the Lake of Penne Natural Reserve, a WWF oasis where it is also possible to participate in guided visits. This oasis includes a Centre for environmental education, a nature trail with observation huts for those interested in the avifauna, an animal first-aid centre, an artisan workshop, a botanical garden, a naturalistic museum, two aquariums and a centre where otters are bred; with all these attractions, it is a popular destination for scholastic and naturalistic tourism. The town is defined as the town of bricks, due to its having been built almost entirely in cotto terracotta, which has also been used for paving the steep and narrow streets of the old residential area; here, long stretches of the town walls dating back to the fourteen hundreds are still visible. The main access to the town is particularly picturesque, through the S. Francesco gate with its decorated frontispiece, work of De Sio. Outside the built-up area, there is the ex-conventual structure of S. Maria del Carmine which boasts a valuable decoration from the late Bar que period by the Ticinese Pietro Canturio. Amongst its buildings of religious and municipal architecture, Penne offers a series of important churches (the Cathedral, the churches of St Domenic, St. John the Evangelist, St. John the Baptist, S.S. Annunziata, St. Augustine) and residences of the nobility (Castiglione, Leopardi, Gaudiosi, De Cesaris, Scorpione, Stefanucci, Aliprandi and Vestini). The stee, paved streets which are sometimes dark but also delicately colourful are, however, the most remarkable details to note when admiring this town which still preserves its curtain walls and embellishments which display the noble art of masonry taught here up until a few decades ago. Over the last few years, thanks to important archaeological findings and to the interest taken in the large cultural exhibitions, the town has maintained its own, precise identity, that of always, of a Town of Art. A number of artistic-artisan workshops are active in the town, with the production of Pennesi majolica earthenwares, serigraphic prints, embroideries, traditional weavings, jewellery, wrought iron and copper and fine cabinet-making.
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