Abbrùzzu / Abbrùzze (Neapolitan)
Forte e Gentile
|Anthem: "Vola vola vola"[better source needed]|
|o President||Marco Marsilio (FdI)|
|o Total||10,763 km2 (4,156 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||2,914 m (9,560 ft)|
|o Density||120/km2 (310/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|ISO 3166 code||IT-65|
|GDP (nominal)||EUR33.9 billion (2018)|
|GDP per capita||EUR25,800 (2018)|
very high · 12th of 21
Abruzzo (Italian: [a'bruttso]; Abruzzese Neapolitan: Abbrùzze [ab'brutts?], Abbrìzze [ab'britts?] or Abbrèzze [ab'br?tts?]; Aquilano: Abbrùzzu; , ,) or Abruzzi is a region of Southern Italy with an area of 10,763 square km (4,156 sq mi) and a population of 1.3 million. It is divided into four provinces: L'Aquila, Teramo, Pescara, and Chieti. Its western border lies 80 km (50 mi) east of Rome. Abruzzo borders the region of Marche to the north, Lazio to the west and north-west, Molise to the south and the Adriatic Sea to the east. Geographically, Abruzzo is divided into a mountainous area in the west, which includes the Gran Sasso d'Italia, and a coastal area in the east with beaches on the Adriatic Sea.
Abruzzo is considered a region of Southern Italy in terms of its culture, language, history, and economy, though in terms of physical geography it may also be considered part of Central Italy. The Italian Statistical Authority (ISTAT) also deems it to be part of Southern Italy, partly because of Abruzzo's historic association with the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
Almost half of the region's territory is protected through national parks and nature reserves, more than any administrative region on the continent, leading it to be dubbed "the greenest region in Europe." There are three national parks, one regional park, and 38 protected nature reserves. These ensure the survival of rare species, such as the golden eagle, the Abruzzo (or Abruzzese) chamois, the Apennine wolf and the Marsican brown bear. Abruzzo's parks and reserves host 75% of Europe's animal species. The region is also home to Calderone, one of Europe's southernmost glaciers.
Nineteenth-century Italian diplomat and journalist Primo Levi (1853-1917) chose the adjectives forte e gentile ("strong and kind") to capture what he saw as the character of the region and its people. "Forte e gentile" has since become the motto of the region.
Abruzzo is divided into four administrative provinces:
|Province||Area (km2)||Population||Density (inh./km2)||Provincial Capital||Number of Communes|
Human settlements in Abruzzo have existed since at least the Neolithic times. A skeleton from Lama dei Peligni in the province of Chieti dates back to 6,540 BC under radiometric dating. The name Abruzzo appears to be derivative of the Latin word "Aprutium". In Roman times, the region was known as Picenum, Sabina et Samnium, Flaminia et Picenum, and Campania et Samnium. The region was known as Aprutium in the Middle Ages, arising from four possible sources: it is a combination of Praetutium, or rather of the name of the people Praetutii, applied to their chief city, Interamnia, the old Teramo.
Many cities in Abruzzo date back to ancient times. Corfinio was known as Corfinium when it was the chief city of the Paeligni, and later was renamed Pentima by the Romans. Chieti is built on the site of the ancient city of Teate, Atri was known as Adria. Teramo, known variously in ancient times as Interamnia and Teramne, has Roman ruins which attract tourists.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, a string of invasions and rulers dominated the region, including the Lombards, Byzantines, and Hungarians. Between the 9th and 12th centuries, the region was dominated by the popes. Subsequently, the Normans took over, and Abruzzo became part of the Kingdom of Sicily, later the Kingdom of Naples. The French Bourbon dynasty took over in 1815, establishing the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and ruled until Italian unification (also known as the Risorgimento) in 1860.
Until 1963, Abruzzo was part of the combined Abruzzi e Molise region. The term Abruzzi (plural of Abruzzo) derives from the time when the region was part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The territory was administered as Abruzzo Citeriore (nearer Abruzzo) and Abruzzo Ulteriore I and II (farther Abruzzo I and II), in relation to the distance from Naples, the capital of the kingdom. Abruzzo Citeriore is now the province of Chieti. The province of Teramo and province of Pescara now comprise what was Abruzzo Ulteriore I. Abruzzo Ulteriore II is now the province of L'Aquila.
During the Second World War, Abruzzo was on the Gustav Line, part of the German's Winter Line. One of the most brutal battles was the Battle of Ortona. Abruzzo was the location of two prisoner of war camps, Campo 21 in Chieti, and Campo 78 in Sulmona. The Sulmona camp also served as a POW camp in World War I; much of the facility is still intact and attracts tourists interested in military history.
Geographically, Abruzzo is part of central Italy, stretching from the heart of the Apennines to the Adriatic Sea, and includes mainly mountainous and wild land. The mountainous land is occupied by a vast plateau, including Gran Sasso, at 2,912 metres (9,554 ft) the highest peak of the Apennines, and Mount Majella at 2,793 metres (9,163 ft). The Adriatic coastline is characterized by long sandy beaches to the North and pebbly beaches to the South. Abruzzo is well known for its landscapes and natural environment, parks and nature reserves, characteristic hillside areas rich in vineyards and olive groves. Many beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag beach status.
Abruzzo has two types of climate areas, strongly affected by the Apennine divide. The coastal strip and sub-Apennine hills are a climate area that is clearly distinct from the interior's high mountain areas. Coastal areas have a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and mild winters. Hills areas have a sublittoral climate with temperatures decreasing progressively with increasing altitude. Precipitation is also strongly affected by the presence of the Apennines mountain ridges of the region. Rainfall is abundant on slopes oriented to the west, and decreases towards the east and east-facing slopes. Often the Adriatic coast are shielded from rainfall because of the barrier effect created by the Apennines.[better source needed] The minimum annual rainfall is found in some inland valleys, sheltered by mountain ridges, such as Peligna or Tirino (Ofena, Capestrano), where as little as 500 millimetres (19.7 inches) were recorded. Rainfall along the coast almost always never falls below 600 millimetres (23.6 inches). Teramo has relatively less rainfall (about 800 millimetres (31.5 inches)) than Chieti, while Ortona, Vasto, and Costa dei Trabocchi have comparatively less rainfall. The highest rainfall occurs in upland areas on the border with Lazio; they are especially vulnerable to Atlantic disturbances. Around 1,500 to 2,000 millimetres (59 to 79 inches) of precipitation is typical.[better source needed]
As with many Mediterranean regions, Abruzzo's vegetation is characterized by different Mediterranean ecosystems. The coast and the surrounding areas are characterized by the presence of typical plants of Mediterranean shrubland, such as myrtle, heather and mastic, while in the hilly areas other species grow, including olive, pine, willow, oak, poplar, alder, arbutus, broom, acacia, capers, rosemary, hawthorn, licorice and almond trees, interspersed with oak trees. At elevations between 600 and 1,000 metres (2,000 and 3,300 ft) there is sub-montane vegetation, mainly characterized by mixed forests of oak and turkey oak, maple and hornbeam; shrubs include dog rose and red juniper. Elevations between 1,000 and 1,900 metres (3,300 and 6,200 ft) are dominated by beech trees. In the Apennine Mountains at elevations above 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) species include alpine orchid, mountain juniper, silver fir, black cranberry and the Abruzzo edelweiss.
The fauna of Abruzzo is highly varied, including the region's symbol, the Abruzzo chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica ornata), which has recovered from near-extinction. Animals typical of the region include Marsican brown bear, Italian wolf, deer, lynx, roe deer, snow vole, fox, porcupine, wild cat, wild boar, badger, otter, and viper.
The natural parks of the region include the Abruzzo National Park, the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park, the Maiella National Park and the Sirente-Velino Regional Park, as well as many other natural reserves and protected areas.
Until a few decades ago, Abruzzo was an underdeveloped region of Southern Italy. Since the 1950s, Abruzzo has showed steady economic growth. In 1951, Abruzzo per capita income or GDP was 53% of that of Northern Italy, the nation's richest area. By 1971, Abruzzo was at 65% and, by 1994, per capita income was at 76% of Northern Italy's per capita income, . As of 2003, Abruzzo's per capita GDP was EUR19,506 or 84% of the national average of EUR23,181, compared to the South average per capita figure of EUR15,808. In 2006, the region's average GDP per capita was approximately 20,100 EUR. The construction of motorways from Rome to Teramo (A24) and Rome to Pescara (A25), which provided better access to the region, is credited as a trigger for public and private investments.
The 2009 L'Aquila earthquake led to a sharp economic slowdown. However, according to statistics at the end of 2010, some signals of recovery were noted. Regional economic growth was recorded as 1.47%, which actually placed Abruzzo fourth among Italy's regions after Lazio, Lombardy and Calabria. In 2011 Abruzzo's economic growth was +2.3%, the highest percentage among the regions of Southern Italy.
Abruzzo's industrial sector expanded rapidly[when?], especially in mechanical engineering, transportation equipment and telecommunications. The structure of production in the region reflects the transformation of the economy from agriculture to industry and services. Weak points in Abruzzo's industrial sector are identified in the paucity of large-sized enterprises and the predominance of small and medium-sized businesses. Both pure and applied research are carried out in the region, where there are major institutes and factories involved in research in the fields of pharmaceutics, biomedicine, electronics, aerospace and nuclear physics. The industrial infrastructure is spread throughout the region in industrial zones. The most important of these are: Val Pescara, Val Sangro, Val Trigno, Val Vibrata and Conca del Fucino. A further activity worthy of note is seaside and mountain tourism, which is of considerable importance to the economy of the region. Agriculture, involving small holdings, has succeeded in modernising and offering high-quality products. The mostly small, agricultural holdings produce: wine, cereals, sugar beet, potatoes, olives, vegetables, fruit and dairy products. Traditional products are saffron and liquorice. By the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, the region's most famous wine, had become one of the most widely exported DOC-classed wines in Italy.
In the past decade, tourism has increased, mainly centered around its national parks and natural reserves, ski resorts, and beach resorts, in particular along the Trabocchi Coast. Abruzzo's castles and medieval towns, especially in the area of L'Aquila, have led to the creation of the nickname of "Abruzzoshire", along Tuscany's "Chiantishire." In spite of this, Abruzzo is still "off the beaten path" for most visitors to Italy.
The unemployment rate stood at 9.3% in 2020.
Although the population density of Abruzzo has increased over recent decades, it is still well below the Italian national average: in 2008, 123.4 inhabitants per km2, compared to 198.8. In the provinces, the density varies: as of 2008Pescara is the most densely populated with 260.1 inhabitants per km2, whereas L'Aquila is the least densely populated with 61.3 inhabitants per km2, although it has the largest area. After decades of emigration from the region, the main feature of the 1980s is immigration from third world countries. The population increase is due to the positive net migration. Since 1991 more deaths than births were registered in Abruzzo (except for 1999, when their numbers were equal). In 2008, the Italian national institute of statistics ISTAT estimated that 59,749 foreign-born immigrants live in Abruzzo, equal to 4.5% of the total regional population.
The most serious demographic imbalance is between the mountainous areas of the interior and the coastal strip. The largest province, L'Aquila, is situated entirely in the interior and has the lowest population density. The movement of the population of Abruzzo from the mountains to the sea has led to the almost complete urbanization of the entire coastal strip especially in the province of Teramo and Chieti. The effects on the interior have been impoverishment and demographic aging, reflected by an activity rate in the province of L'Aquila which is the lowest among the provinces in Abruzzo - accompanied by geological degradation as a result of the absence of conservation measures. In the coastal strip, however, there is such a jumble of accommodations and activities that the environment has been negatively affected. The policy of providing incentives for development has resulted in the setting-up of industrial zones, some of which (Vasto, Avezzano, Carsoli, Gissi, Val Vibrata, Val di Sangro) have made genuine progress, while others (Val Pescara, L'Aquila) have run into trouble after their initial success. The zones of Sulmona and Guardiagrele have turned out to be more or less failures. Outside these zones, the main activities are agriculture and tourism.
L'Aquila is both the capital city of the Abruzzo region and of the Province of L'Aquila and second largest city (pop. 73,000). L'Aquila was hit by an earthquake on 6 April 2009, which destroyed much of the city centre. The other provincial capitals are Pescara, which is Abruzzo's largest city and major port (pop. 123,000); Teramo (pop. 55,000) and Chieti (pop. 55,000). Other large municipalities in Abruzzo include the industrial and high tech center Avezzano (pop. 41,000), as well as three important industrial and touristic centers such as Vasto (pop. 40,636), Lanciano (pop. 36,000), and Sulmona (pop. 25,000).
Over the years the Port of Pescara became one of the most important tourist ports of Italy and the Adriatic Sea. Heavily damaged in World War II, it underwent some sixty years of major restoration and was reborn as a modern marina with advanced moorings and shipbuilding facilities. It has been awarded the European Union's blue flag for its services. The port of Pescara has lost passenger traffic because of its shallowness and silting, but its fishery and aquaculture activities are thriving.
Existing railway lines:
There are three highways that serve the region:
The museum Museo Archeologico Nazionale d'Abruzzo in Chieti houses the famed warrior statue Warrior of Capestrano which was found in a necropolis from 6th century B.C. Of cultural importance are: Teramo Cathedral, its archeological museum and Roman theater, the Castello della Monica, the Collurania-Teramo Observatory, the famous L'Aquila Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio (which holds the remains of Pope Celestine V), the Museo Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Santa Maria del Suffragio, the Forte Spagnolo, the Fountain of 99 Spouts, Gabriele D'Annunzio's house in Pescara, Campli's Scala Sancta and its church, the church of Santissima Annunziata in Sulmona, the cathedrals of Chieti, Lanciano, Guardiagrele, Atri and Pescara along with the castles of Ortona, Celano and Ortucchio.
Every 28-29 August, L'Aquila's Santa Maria di Collemaggio commemorates the Perdonanza Celestiniana, the indulgence issued by Pope Celestine V to any who, "truly repentant and confessed" would visit that Church from the Vespers of the vigil to the vespers of 29 August. Sulmona's Holy Week is commemorated with traditional celebrations and rituals, such as "La Madonna che scappa in piazza", where a large statue of the Mary, carried by a group of local fraternities, is taken through the square in procession. Cocullo, in the province of L'Aquila, holds the annual "Festa dei serpari" (festival of snake handlers) in which a statue of St. Dominic, covered with live snakes, is carried in a procession through the town; it attracts thousands of Italian and foreign visitors. In many Abruzzo villages, Anthony the Great's feast is celebrated in January with massive and scenic bonfires. In the past, the region of Abruzzo was well known for the transumanza, the migratory movement of sheep principally south to the region of Puglia during the cold winter months. The Feast of St. Biagio, protector of wool dealers, is the most widespread in Abruzzo. On the third of February in Taranta Peligna every year since the sixteenth century an evocative ritual is carried out, entailing the distribution of panicelle, which are small loaves made of flour and water, in the shape of a blessing hand, which are distributed to the faithful.
Historical figures include: the Roman orator Asinius Pollio; Latin poets Sallust and Ovid, who were born in L'Aquila and Sulmona respectively, Gaius Cassius Longinus, Roman senator and leading instigator of the plot to kill Julius Caesar. Pontius Pilate is said to have been native to the region. Abruzzo's religious personalities include Saint Berardo; John of Capistrano; Thomas of Celano, author of three hagiographies about Saint Francis of Assisi; and Alessandro Valignano, who introduced Catholicism to the Far East and Japan. The Polish Pope John Paul II loved the mountains of Abruzzo, where he would retire often and pray in the church of San Pietro della Ienca. Local personalities in the field of humanities include: poet Ignazio Silone, director Ennio Flaiano who co-wrote La dolce vita, philosopher Benedetto Croce, poet Gabriele D'Annunzio, composer Paolo Tosti, sculptor Venanzo Crocetti.
American artists and celebrities such as: Madonna, Dean Martin, Bradley Cooper, Perry Como, Henry Mancini, Nancy Pelosi, Rocky Marciano, Rocky Mattioli, Bruno Sammartino, Mario Batali, John and Dan Fante, Tommy Lasorda, Dan Marino, Mario Lanza, Garry Marshall, Penny Marshall, Al Martino, Ariana Grande and Canadian Michael Bublé trace part of their family roots to Abruzzo.
Some international movies shot in Abruzzo include The American, Jean-Jacques Annaud's The Name of the Rose, Fellini's La Strada and I Vitelloni, Schwarzenegger's Red Sonja, Ladyhawke, King David, Francesco, Keoma, The Barbarians, The Fox and the Child and Krull.
For most of its history, a large number of the Abruzzese people have been hill people, often working as shepherds in mountainous areas, or establishing hill towns, especially in the parts of Abruzzo further from the Adriatic coast. Before the 2009 earthquake, Abruzzo was the region with the highest number of castles and hill towns in Italy, but it still holds many of Italy's best-preserved medieval and Renaissance hill towns, twenty-three of which are among The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy. These awards are not only for aesthetic beauty but also for art and culture, historical importance and livability.
The abrupt decline of Abruzzo's agricultural economy in the early to mid-20th-century saved some of the region's historic hill towns from modern development. Many lie entirely within regional and national parks. Among the most well preserved are Castel del Monte 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 Calascio, the ruin of an ancient fortress popular with filmmakers. Both Monteferrante and Roccascalegna are two of the most representative Abruzzo villages in the province of Chieti. Within the Gran Sasso National Park is also found Castelli, an ancient pottery center whose artisans produced ceramics for most of the royal houses of Europe.
Civitella del Tronto played a crucial role in the history of the unification of Italy. The fortress of Civitella is the most visited monument in the Abruzzo region today. Other medieval hill towns located fully within Abruzzo's park system are Pacentro in the Maiella National Park and Pescasseroli in the Abruzzo National Park. Pacentro, which features a 14th-century castle with two intact towers, has been little touched by modernisation. The Shrine of Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, in the province of Teramo, which attracts some two million visitors per year, is one of the 15 most-visited sanctuaries in the world. Capestrano, a small town in the province of L'Aquila, is the hometown of Saint John of Capistrano, Franciscan friar and Catholic priest, as well as the namesake of the Franciscan missions San Juan Capistrano in Southern California, the mission Mission San Juan Capistrano in Texas and the city of San Juan Capistrano in Orange County, California. Giulianova is a notable example of a Renaissance "ideal city."
The proximity to Rome, the protected natural reserves and landscapes which make the region one of the greenest in Europe, the presence of quaint villages, its rich and heterogeneous gastronomy are important tourist assets. In 2010, visitors included 6,381,067 Italians and 925,884 foreign tourists.
In 2015, the American organization Live and Invest Overseas included Abruzzo on its list of World's Top 21 Overseas Retirement Havens. The study was based on such factors as climate, infrastructure, health care, safety, taxes, cost of living and more. In 2017 the Chamber of Commerce of Pescara presented Abruzzo region to the Annual conference of Live and Invest Overseas in the U.S. city of Orlando, Florida. One year later, in October 2018, Live and Invest Overseas held its first conference in Abruzzo.
There are three universities in the Abruzzo region:
Between the province of Teramo and L'Aquila, under the Gran Sasso Tunnel, is the Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso (LNGS) of the INFN, one of the three underground astroparticle laboratories in Europe.
The Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell'Abruzzo e del Molise "Giuseppe Caporale", which conducts research in veterinary and environmental public health, is located in Teramo.
The Gran Sasso Science Institute, located in L'Aquila, is an advanced research institute which offers doctorates in astroparticle physics, computer science, and mathematics as well as urban studies and regional science, and which also conducts scientific research.
The regional dialects of Abruzzo include Teramano, Abruzzese Orientale Adriatico and Abruzzese Occidentale. The first two form part of the dialect of southern Italy also known simply as "Neapolitan" since the region has been part of the Kingdom of Naples and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, while Aquilano is related to the Central Italian dialects including Romanesco. The dialects spoken in the Abruzzo region can be divided into three main groups:
Abruzzo's cuisine is renowned for its variety and richness. Both the agricultural and coastal aspects of Abruzzo have contributed to its cuisine. Due to the mountains, much of Abruzzo was isolated from international influence until the 20th century. As a result, the region's cuisine remained unique.
One of the most popular regional dishes is spaghetti alla chitarra which is made by pressing or cutting pasta through a chitarra, an implement to form long thin noodles similar to spaghetti. The pasta is served with a tomato-based sauce, often flavored with peppers, pork, goose, or lamb. This dish is complemented by regional side dishes, such as the bean and noodle soup, sagne e fagioli. This soup is traditionally flavored with tomatoes, garlic, oil, and peperoncini. In terms of common ingredients, cuisine in Abruzzo often includes:
Other popular dishes include:
Across the region, roast lamb is enjoyed in several variations. Some of these variations include:
Seafood is also popular, especially in coastal areas. The variety of fish available to the area has resulted in several fish-based Brodetti (broths), coming from such places as Vasto, Giulianova, and Pescara. These broths are often made by cooking fish, flavored with tomatoes, herbs, and peperoncino, in an earthenware pot. Rustic pizzas are also very common. Some of these are:
Also from Teramo are the spreadable sausages flavored with nutmeg, and liver sausages tasting of garlic and spices. The ventricina from the Vasto area is made with large pieces of fat and lean pork, pressed and seasoned with powdered sweet peppers and fennel all encased in the dehydrated stomach of the pig itself. Atri and Rivisondoli are famous for cheeses. Mozzarella, either fresh or seasoned, is made from ewe's milk, although a great number of lesser known varieties of these cheeses can be found all over Abruzzo and Molise.
The Abruzzo's sweets are world-famous and include:
The region has several cultivars that includes Carboncella, Dritta (Dritta Francavillese and Dritta di Moscufo), Gentile del Chieti, Nostrana (Nostrana di Brisighella), and Sargano olive cultivars.
Renowned wines like Montepulciano DOCG and Trebbiano d'Abruzzo DOC are judged to be amongst the world's finest. In 2012, a bottle of Trebbiano d'Abruzzo ranked No. 1 in the top 50 Italian wine awards. In recent decades these wines have been joined, particularly, by wines from lesser known (heritage) white grapes, such as, Pecorino, Cococciola, Passerina, Montonico Bianco and Fiano.
Apollo Butterfly in Gran Sasso
Ponte sul mare in Pescara
Prati di Tivo ski slopes
Duomo of Teramo
L'Aquila 99 Spouts Fountain
San Bernardino Basilica in L'Aquila
Church of SS Annunziata in Sulmona
Shrine of Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows
Palazzo Savini in Teramo
In 2011, John Paul [II]'s former private secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, gave the local Abruzzo community some of the late pontiff's blood as a token of the love he had felt for the mountainous area.