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While many areas of Italy have changed significantly over time, Abruzzo remains largely the same. Abruzzo, which is also known as Abruzzi, is located in south central Italy between the central Apennines and the Adriatic coast.

The vaguely rectangular shaped region covers 10,794km² and is bordered by Marche, Umbria, Lazio, Molise, and the Adriatic Sea. With a population of only 1.3 million Abruzzo is one of the least populated regions in Italy.

Despite the terrible earthquake that hit L’Aquila and the Abruzzo in 2009, this region deserves a visit, like a leap in the past.

The scenery of Abruzzo is picturesque and many old abandoned villages remain largely intact and the country side is rich with historic sites. It is often said that Abruzzo has as many castles as it does sheep. Most of this sleepy region has remained lock in medieval times making Abruzzo the first stop for those seeking to take a glance at the past or a chance to see nature as it was hundreds of years ago, unspoiled and perfect.

The region can be divided into two parts. The western part of the region is mountainous; the eastern portion of the region consists mostly of rolling foothills slowly sloping down to long stretches of wide, sandy coastline. The three main rivers in Abruzzo, the Aterno-Pescara, the Sangro and the Vomano flow from the mountains down to the Adriatic Sea carving deep gorges into the country side.

Because of the proximity to the Tyrrhenian Sea the mountains endure heavy rain and snowfall and low temperatures all year round. There is excellent skiing in the region.

While Abruzzo is well known for its wonderful ski resorts it also hosts many lavish beach resorts on its many sandy beaches. Tourists can be delighted by any number of adventurous activites. Local restaurants serve only the best in fresh caught fish prepared in every imaginable way.

Language SpokenItalian and other local dialects
Area (Km2)10,794
Population1.3 million


In the 1960’s the construction of highways from Rome, Bologna and Bari, and more recently the 10km-long tunnel under the Gran Sasso, opened the region to the rest of Italy and Europe. The region includes the highest peaks of the Apennines, the Gran Sasso (Monte Corno 9,560 feet), Maiella and Velino-Sirente, deep canyons and valleys, national and regional parks, wide sandy beaches, an astonishing wealth of artistic and natural beauty. Citadels and castles appear in the middle of woods and pastures, in the parks with some luck you can see brown bears, wolves and chamois, and eagles, hawks and buzzards on the highest peaks.

The ruggedness of the territory has long hindered the development of Abruzzo, until in the 1960s the opening of major highways connecting the cities of Abruzzo to Rome, Bologna and Bari, and more recently the Gran Sasso tunnel that shortened the distance between L’Aquila and Teramo opened to the region the doors of Italy and Europe. Economic resources are almost entirely related to agricultural production with mostly local products (cereals, potatoes, vegetables, vines, olive trees) and typical products that are exported to Italy and abroad (saffron, licorice, tobacco, sugar beet).

Important throughout the region is also the breeding of livestock and sheep, which once represented one of the primary sources of livelihood for the population, molding the culture through the age-old practice of transhumance – the movement of livestock from mountain pastures to the plains outside the region. Even pig breeding has reached a certain level of relevance and many kinds of salami, sausages and ham are produced locally. Fishing as well is one of the qualifying sectors of the economy of the region.

The Abruzzo region produces one fifth of the whole hydroelectric energy in Italy, thanks to the large plants at Campotosto, Sagittario and Alto Sangro. Underground resources include petroleum (Alanno), aluminum (Marsica), bauxite and hydrocarbons. Industrial development is limited, except for areas near the bigger centers: there are large factories in Avezzano, L’Aquila, Pescara, Teramo and Chieti. Tourism is an important and growing industry on the Adriatic coast and in ski resorts.