In recent years photographers have taken stunning photos of Valle San Giovanni from the sky: Microsoft Aerial Photo and Google Aerial Photo. The village sits at an elevation of 587 meters (equivalent to 1929 feet).
Valle San Giovanni can be found within the province of Teramo, in the Abruzzo region of central Italy. It is a frazione of the communal capital of Teramo sitting. The village has a population of about 350 people and lies about six miles from Teramo. The Adriatic Sea and the Gran Sasso are about 25 km away. It sits in the Tordino Valley, near the spot where two small streams, the Lete and the Fiumicello, flow into the Tordino river.
Located off the main piazza, Largo della Chiesa, is Via del Casale. The residents of Valle San Giovanni call themselves "Vallaroli". Adjacent to Valle San Giovanni are the nearby towns of Frondarola, Travazzano and Valle Soprana.
According to some sources the town takes its name from a powerful Teramo family with the last name "Di Valle". Others claim that the name derives from its proximity to an ancient monastery, San Giovanni in Pergullis (Saint John amongst the Pergolae), a location surrounded by many vineyards.
Over the years, the history of Valle San Giovanni has been closely linked with two neighboring communities, Frunti a feudal holding of the "De Frunto" family, and Teramo with whom there existed an enduring reciprocal alliance. At one point Teramo briefly annexed Frunti leading to renewed efforts by it inhabitants to break these feudal ties and traditions. In 1338 the townspeople declared their independence from Teramo, thereby reaffirming their autonomous civil liberties. This arrangement lasted until 1457 when Frunti became part of the county Montorio al Vomano. In 1668 Frunti passed into the hands of the Count Crescenzio De Crescentiis. In the beginning of the 18th century Frunti became aligned with neighboring Valle San Giovanni, which at that time was becoming increasingly developed due to having annexed the surrounding church and vineyards of San Giovanni in Pergulis and to serving as a sheep herding way station. This great migration of sheep from Abruzzo to Puglia and Lazio was known as the transumanza. Valle San Giovanni sits on one such trail known as the San Quirico.
In the first half of the 19th century, coal deposits were discovered and mined very near the town. From the early 20th century onward, many of the citizens of Valle San Giovanni emigrated to New Jersey, Montreal, and elsewhere. This served to further impoverish the small village and greatly reduced its population.
The soil in and around Valle San Giovanni contains extensive reserves of Lignite (which burns easily but leaves a great deal of cinders). Lesser quantities of Marcasite are also present.
In 1868 the town (comune) of Cortino was administratively established and Valle San Giovanni came under the jurisdiction of Montorio al Vomano. In 1929 Valle San Giovanni separated from Montorio al Vomano and became a suburb (frazione) of Teramo.
According to local sources and histories, during the Second World War the grottoes located immediately above Valle San Giovanni served as places of refuge for the Italian partisans then battling the German forces.