The Abruzzo region is situated in central Italy to the east of Lazio (the region of which Rome is the capital), although culturally and economically it is traditionally seen as part of the South. While it has similarities to the ever-popular Tuscany and Umbria, to be frank, it is nowhere near either of them esthetically and artistically. It is however significantly cheaper, and offers little hill towns, the sea, a great national park, and even skiing in the Apennines (in the photo, Roccaraso, two hours from Naples).
I have fond memories of visiting the village of Sant'Omero as a child, where an uncle by marriage came from. While in the hills, during the day we could go down to Giulianova, a seaside resort. I also had (for Easter) perhaps the richest dish I've ever tasted, the timballo, which I've never forgotten. It's a multi-layered marvel which is very labor-intensive to make (not that I've tried, or will try- it would probably be easier just to hop on a plane from Boston). If you are intrigued, and you should be, here is the recipe.
Check it out.