|Abruzzo is a region in Italy, its western border lies less than 50 miles due east of Rome.
Abruzzo borders the region of Marche to the north, Lazio to the west and south-west, Molise to the south-east, and the Adriatic Sea to the east.
Although geographically a central region, ISTAT (the Italian statistical authority) considers it part of Southern Italy, a vestige of Abruzzo's historic association with the Mezzogiorno, having been part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
Until 1963 it was part of the Abruzzi region with Molise. The term Abruzzi derives from the time when the region was part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and the territory was administered as Abruzzo Citeriore (Nearer Abruzzo) and Abruzzo Ulteriore I and II (Farther Abruzzo I and II ), that being nearer and farther from Naples, the capital of the kingdom. Abruzzo Citeriore is present day Chieti province. Abruzzo Ulteriore I comprises the Teramo and Pescara provinces; Abruzzo Ulteriore II now comprises the Province of L'Aquila.
Abruzzo is divided into 4 provinces:
In the past decade, tourism has increased, mostly among Italians and other Europeans. Abruzzo's wealth of castles and medieval towns, especially near the town of L'Aquila, has earned it in some quarters the nickname of "Abruzzoshire", by analogy with the "Chiantishire" nickname sometimes used to refer to the Chianti area of Tuscany, but Abruzzo is still off the beaten path for most visitors to Italy.
The region has 21 ski areas with 368 km. of runs, all within a few hours of Rome. The most developed resort being Roccaraso, followed by Campo Felice, and Campo Imperatore. Located in the highest region of the Apennines, these ski areas are at heights nearly comparable to many Alpine resorts. Because of their proximity to the Adriatic and winter precipitation patterns, they often have more snow than the Alps. Abruzzo also is popular for cross country skiing, especially on the high plain of Campo Imperatore in the Gran Sasso as well as the Piana Grande in the Majella.
The Gran Sasso massif sports the Italian peninsula’s highest peak, Corno Grande, and Europe’s southernmost glacier, Il Calderone. The Corno Grande and its neighboring Corno Piccolo provide a range of climbing opportunities from mountain hikes suitable for novices to sheer rock wall ascents suitable only for expert alpinists. Abruzzo’s lesser known peaks, especially the gentler slopes of the Majella, offer climbers the opportunity to hike and climb in solitude.
Abruzzo’s 129 km. long sandy coastline is home to a many popular beach resorts, among them Vasto on Abruzzo’s southern coast; mid-coast are Silvi Marina, whose sands are considered among the best in Italy, Francavilla al Mare and Pineto, and on Abruzzo’s northern coast are Alba Adriatica and Martinsicuro.
One third of the region is designated as national or regional parkland. The following parks lie, wholly or partially, within Abruzzo:
Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise (Abruzzo National Park)
Lago di Barrea (Barrea Lake Wetlands)
Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga (Gran Sasso National Park )
Parco Nazionale della Majella (Majella National Park)
Parco Naturale Regionale Sirente-Velino (Sirente Velino Regional Park)
The protected areas are environmentally important and are home to rare flora and fauna, such as the brown bear, the wolf and the chamois.
L'Aquila is Abruzzo's regional capital as well as the capital of the province of l’Aquila. Abruzzo’s other provincial capitals are Pescara, which is Abruzzo's largest city with a population of 150,000 as of 2000, Teramo (population 52,000) and Chieti (population 56,000). Other large municipalities in Abruzzo include Avezzano (population 40,000), an industrial and high technology center, and Lanciano (population 36,000) another important industrial and tourism center.
The regional accents of Abruzzo include Teramano, Abruzzese Orientale Adriatico and Abruzzese Occidentale. The first two form part of the Italiano meridionale-interno dialect of southern Italy also known simply as "Neapolitan" due to the region having been part of the Kingdom of Naples and the Two Sicilies, while the Italian of L'Aquila Province is related to the Osco-Umbro dialect of central Italy, including the one of Rome. It should be noted that Abruzzo's Italian dialects are not particularly marked. In fact, Harvard University bases an intensive summer language program in Vasto, a resort town on Abruzzo's southern coast. There is, however, a small Albanian linguistic area at Penne, in the Province of Pescara.
Among Abruzzo many historic towns are: Sulmona at the foot of the Maiella massif and known for Italy’s most famous ancient poet , Ovid, Scanno, a lakeside hill town, Atri a picturesque artistic center, and the hillside towns of Penne and Loreto Aprutino.
Abruzzo holds some of Italy's best-preserved medieval and Renaissance hill towns. The abrupt decline of Abruzzo’s agricultural economy in the early to mid-20th century saved some of the region’s most beautiful hill towns from the onslaught of modern development. Many lie entirely within regional and national parks so their preservation is all but guaranteed. Among the most well preserved are Castel del Monte (AQ) and Santo Stefano di Sessanio, which lie in the Gran Sasso National Park on the edge of the high plain of Campo Imperatore and nestled beneath the Apennines’ highest peaks; both hill towns, which were ruled by the Medicis for over a century-and-a-half, have relatively little tourism. Between the two towns sits Rocca di Calascio, the ruin of an ancient fortress popular with film makers. Also within the Gran Sasso National Park is Castelli, an ancient pottery center whose artisans produced ceramics for most of the royal houses of Europe. Although still home to many artisans, Castelli has a modest tourist trade.
Other medieval hill towns located fully within Abruzzo's park system are Pacentro in the Parco Nazionale della Majella and Pescasseroli in the Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo. Pacentro, which features a 14th century castle with two intact towers, has been little touched by modernization. The parents of actor and singer Dean Martin were from here.
|GRAN SASSO MOUNTAINS|
|GRAN SASSO MOUNTAINS|
|MEN OF ABRUZZO|
|ABRUZZO HILL TOWN|
|TOWNS PHOTOGRAPHED IN ABRUZZO|
|HILLS OF ABRUZZO: ALONG THE ADRIATIC SEA|