Things to do - general

Where is Abruzzo?

Abruzzo is situated at the centre of the Italian peninsula to the east of Lazio. It is bordered on the west by the Apennines and on the east by 150 kilometres of coastline on the Adriatic. It is one of the most mountainous regions in Italy. The Corno Grande in the Gran Sasso massif, at 2,914 metres, is the highest summit in the Apennines.

The rivers of Abruzzo are numerous and although many of them are seasonal there are those that are active all year round, even during the hottest part of the summer. The two largest rivers are the Pescara and the Sangro and these two, along with many smaller ones, flow constantly throughout all the seasons. In the interior are the 500 square kilometres of the Abruzzo National Park, where rare examples of Mediterranean flora and fauna survive, such as: chamois, wolves, bears and golden eagles.

The climate is varied: In the spring and summer it is warm, dry and comfortable on the coast and on the hills inland. In the autumn and winter it is dry and cold but still pleasant on the coast and hills. In the mountains it is dry and cold.

Major roads and railway lines link the region to the south, west and north of Italy and the rest of Europe.

Over the last 10 years, tourism has increased, mostly among Italians and other Europeans. Abruzzo has a wealth of castles and medieval towns, especially near the town of L’Aquila, which was the scene of a devasting earthquake in 2009. The area is also known by 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 Landscape

The region has 21 ski areas with 368 kilometres of runs, all within a few hours of Rome. The most developed resort is 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.

Abruzzo is home to 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 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, Giulianova, Francavilla al Mare and Pineto, and on Abruzzo’s northern coast are Alba Adriatica and Martinsicuro.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Languages spokenItalian and other local dialects
Currency usedEuro
Area (km2)10,795
Population1.328 million

Culture and history info

Though geographically a region of central Italy, Abruzzi has always been linked to the history of Southern Italy. The impervious territory always hindered communications and was the cause of the fragmentation and isolation of the peoples of the region throughout its history. In ancient times Abruzzi was inhabited by several peoples, including the Equi, Marsi, Vestini and Praetutii, who were conquered by the Romans before the third century BC.

After the decline of the Roman Empire the region broke up into small feudal states and during the early Middle Ages Abruzzi was for a long time under the control of the Lombard duchy of Spoleto. In the 12th century the Normans conquered the territory, which became part of the Kingdom of Sicily and under Frederick II of Hohenstaufen had Sulmona as the regional capital. In 1272 Charles I of Anjou divided the territory of Abruzzi into two provinces, ultra flumen Piscariae or Abruzzo ulteriore and citra flumen Piscariae or Abruzzo citeriore, with a common governor residing in Chieti; in 1641 a second Governor was established in L'Aquila and in 1684 a third in Teramo.

In 1807 under Giuseppe Bonaparte the province ultra flumen Piscariae was divided into the two provinces of Abruzzo ulteriore I, with capital Teramo, and Abruzzo ulteriore II, with capital L'Aquila, while Chieti remained the capital of Abruzzo citeriore. The existence of three provinces under the name of Abruzzo also explains why the region has always be known in the plural, Abruzzi, and many place names maintain the plural (Anversa degli Abruzzi, Tione degli Abruzzi, Villa S. Lucia degli Abruzzi, not to speak of the regional capital, L'Aquila degli Abruzzi), though it is no longer commonly used by Italians. Pescara, the fourth and last province, was added in 1927.

After the fall of the Hohenstaufen dynasty in the 13th century, Abruzzi and Molise in turn came under the control of the Anjou, the Aragonese, the Spanish Hapsburgs, and finally, in the 18th century, became part of the Bourbon kingdom of Naples, under whose rule the region was divided into Abruzzo Ulteriore I, Abruzzo Ulteriore II, Abruzzo Citra, and Molise. By the early 19th century small liberal groups were taking part in revolutionary activities, and in 1860 the region became part of united Italy. In 1948 Abruzzi was joined with Molise, to the south, to form the region of Abruzzi and Molise; but in 1963 the two regions were separated again.

Culture and history image

Unfortunately there are no accommodations at this location at the moment.

Abruzzo - Sagra Civitella Roveto

Abruzzo - Sagra Civitella Roveto

Sagra of Civitella Roveto, Abruzzo Join Italian Holidays for a gastronomical extravaganza at the Sag More info