Though something of a time warp, the quiet highlands of Abruzzo are a prime example of la dolce vita. Only two hours outside of Rome, the region’s sprawling wilderness, rugged countryside and excess of rural villages have kept it off the tourist radar. Retreat in full by setting up camp in Abruzzo National Park, a vast wonderland of lush woodlands and teeming wildlife. Spectacular peaks, clear, frigid lakes and dazzling valleys all vie for attention, but don’t overlook the sly parade of wolves, deer and eagles on display. Abandoned castles and pre-Roman ruins are notorious for catching Discovery Channel views of increasingly rare Marsican brown bears. Wax poetic in the homeland of Ovid, dodge herds of wild horses on the plains, and hike dizzying cliffs to the cave refuge of a pious hermit who would eventually become Pope. Abruzzo is rich in folklore and Renaissance hill towns, with the township of Castel del Monte, nestled in the heart of the Gran Sasso mountain range, taking the cake in both categories.