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Along the Adriatic coast there are some bizarre looking fishing piers called 'Trabocchi'. Some of these are apparently several hundred years old. San Vito Chietino, for example is mentioned in the Wikipedia as...

The town is home to the "La Costa dei Trabocchi". Trabocchi are giant wooden platforms built since 1400, in the middle of the sea. They can be seen from the town of Ortona to Fossacesia. For local fisherman this was one of the method to fish abundant catch for the residents.

Source: Wiki entry for San Vito Chietino

Check this photo...

Source: Google Maps: The overflow "classic location for fishing from the shore

I am informed that some of these 'traboccho' have been converted to combination fishing piers and restaurants, and eating a dish of "Luppa di Cozze" on one of these structures would be a fantastic culinary adventure.

Question: The problem is that which ones contain a restaurant appears to be word-of-mouth only. Is there a way you can tell from the road? Do you just walk out on the pier and ask to be seated? Or do they even seat foreigners? Is there a tipping convention? I am OK with language issues but am clueless as to local customs.

Also: I assume the restaurant is cash only. Any ballpark idea what a dish of fresh "Luppa di Cozze" might cost would be very helpful in avoiding a quick trip to the nearest cash point.

Any mussel producing location on the Adriatic coast between Vieste and Ancona will do.

Note: "Luppa di Cozze" = mussels overlaid with pepper slices and cooked in white wine in a large ceramic pot.

Note: From comments: there's more info here, along with great photos of the food I'm talking about.

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    This might be helpful: classetouriste.be/trabocchi-abruzzo ("You pay around 50 euros for an overdose of delicacies from the sea with free-flow local wine." | "Reservations are required because full is full" | some links to specific trabocchis that have been converted to restaurants) – Lukas Graf Jun 12 '16 at 18:11
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    I thought about making it an answer, but it only partially answers your question: How can you tell, what about tipping, how to get seated? Given that I have no first hand knowledge, I don't feel too comfortable writing an answer that's entirely sourced from a single article from 2012. – Lukas Graf Jun 12 '16 at 18:23
  • I would tip as I'd normally tip in an Italian restaurant. Those kind of places aren't normally luxury ones, so I'd settle for a maximum 10% of the price you paid. It is common courtesy, but also not always expected (source: I am Italian). I usually don't tip at all when the service is not good or/and when I see I paid the service ("coperto" or "servizio") already. – Noldor130884 Jun 27 '16 at 9:24
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+100

Trabocchi ... Trabocchi Everywhere

The Costa dei Trabocchi is a piece of coastline in Abruzzo, spanning Ortona to Fossacesia:

costa dei trabocchi
Map shamelessly screenshot from GAC Costa dei Trabocchi since the map link isn't available

To date, you'll find several trabocchi along the coast, around 31. Most of these used to be abandoned. However, in 1994 the Region passed a law aimed at protecting and give more value to the trabocchi from a cultural and environmental standpoint. Since then the abandoned trabocchi have been restored and are now fully functioning fishing machines. 27 of them are usable and are currently hosting restaurants, cultural centres, centres for environmental education and reception centres.

Below is the list of all 31 trabocchi, not all of which are restaurants:

Ortona, 9 trabocchi

  1. Torre Mucchia, 1924
  2. Punta Lunga, 1925
  3. Punta Picci, 1927
  4. San Ciavocco, 1919
  5. Scoglio delle Spigole, 1921
  6. Saraceni, 1933/1934
  7. Punta Acquabella, 1867
  8. Punta Acquabella, 1885
  9. Punta della Mucchila, 1880, esistente

San Vito, 8 trabocchi

  1. Molo di San Vito, primo, 1954, esistente
  2. Molo di San Vito, secondo, 1946, esistente
  3. Fornace, 1890
  4. "Urziline", 1931
  5. Turchino, 1871, esistente
  6. Colle del Guardiano, 1850, esistente
  7. Valle Canale, 1880, esistente
  8. Sasso di "Rubbanhille", fine 700?, "trabocco laboratorio"

Rocca San Giovanni, 7 trabocchi

  1. Punta Tufano, fine 700?, "trabocco laboratorio"
  2. Sasso del Gabbiano, 1900
  3. Punta Isolata, 1891
  4. Punta Torre, 1873, esistente
  5. Spezza Catene, 1885, esistente
  6. Cavalluccio, 1887, esistente
  7. Punta San Biagio, 1915, esistente

Fossacesia, 3 trabocchi

  1. Punta la Penna, 1881, esistente
  2. Punta Rocciosa, 1910, esistente
  3. Barriera flangiflutti, 1971/1972

Torino di Sangro, 1 trabocco

  1. La Morgia, 1919

Vasto, 18 trabocchi

  1. Punta Derce, 1919
  2. Punta Derce, 1922
  3. Torre Saracena, "crapa bbianche", 1927
  4. Torre Saracena, 1924
  5. Santa Maria della Penna, 1927
  6. Scoglio della madonna, 1923
  7. Scoglio della Forgia, 1923
  8. Cava, 1929
  9. Grotta del Saraceno, 1904, esistente
  10. Vignola, 1901, esistente
  11. San Nicola della Meta, schiena d'asino, 1990, esistente
  12. San Nicola della Meta, scoglio del siluro, 1923, esistente
  13. Punta San Nicola della Meta, 1923
  14. Colle dell'impiccato, 1937
  15. Casarsa, galleria lato nord, 1898
  16. Casarsa, galleria lato sud, 1922
  17. Trave, "Cungarelle", 1938
  18. Punta Trave, 1900

Porto di Vasto

esterno 7 trabocchi (1947-1954-1958-1960-1961-1986-1980)
interno 4 trabocchi (1955-1961-1963-1965)

Trabocchi as Restaurants

Menus and Pricing

Several trabocchi currently host restaurants. These tend to serve set fish- and seafood-based menus which vary depending on the catch of the day. Therefore, you might find Lupa di Cozze, but you won't be guaranteed to do so. At the time of writing, the set menu comprises: antipasti, primo, secondo, frutta, amaro and caffé. The cost ranges between 35EUR and 50EUR for lunch, and 50EUR and 60EUR for dinner.

The restaurants open in late May/beginning of June and close at the end of September. During this period they are usually open every day for lunch and dinner, although this may vary depending on the trabocco. Some will open outside of this period if reserved in advance, for marriages, events, etc.

All in all my advice is to find a phone number to call and ask for information and to book a table. Since the space is limited I'd avoid attempting to walk-in without a reservation. They most definitely sit foreigners. Trabocchi became touristic attractions over time and are often targeted by tourists.

In terms of payment, I'd take cash and I would forget credit cards. Some trabocchi don't have a landline and will therefore have no POS machine. Again, calling the place and asking the cost of the menu and the payment is the way to go. How do you call a place without a landline? Simple: the trabocchi often list a contact mobile number.

Tipping is discretionary in Italy. If you like the service give them a few Euros, or whatever you feel like giving. 10% works too.

Enough Italian Blabla, Where Can I Eat on a Trabocco?

The trabocchi restaurants I could find traces of online are (ordered alphabetically):

  1. Trabocco Eredi di Trimalcione - Località Punta Penna – Vasto - +39 333 41 09 289
  2. Trabocco Cungarelle - Strada statale 16 – Vasto - +39 340 86 29 815
  3. Trabocco Pesce Palombo - Contrada La Penna, località Fuggitelle – Fossacesia - +39 333 30 55 300
  4. Trabocco Punta Rocciosa - Strada Statale 16 Adriatica, 66022 Fossacesia CH, Italy - +39 339 21 74 435
  5. Trabocco Punta Cavalluccio - Località Cavalluccio – Rocca San Giovanni - Tommaso Verì +39 338 5980985 / Giuseppina Paolucci + 39 333 3010800
  6. Trabocco Sasso della Cajana - Contrada Vallevo’ snc – 66020 Rocca San Giovanni - +39 347 91 35 043
  7. Trabocco Punta Isolata - Contrada Vallevò – Rocca San Giovanni - +39 339 58 11 338
  8. Trabocco Punta Tufano - Rocca San Giovanni - +39 333 44 36 831
  9. Trabocco Valle Grotte - Località Fosso Canale, 1 – San Vito Chietino - +39 348 54 79 587 / +39 338 18 66 074

A valid strategy for finding a trabocco on which you can eat is to ask the locals. They will definitely point you towards the one they think is best.

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