Abruzzo

Abruzzo, Italy Major Cities in Abruzzo:

L’Aquila

The central southern region of Abruzzo has a little bit of everything, bordering the Adriatic Sea on the east but also one of the most mountainous regions in the country, home to the Gran Sasso massif and the highest mountains on continental Italy south of the Alps. Long known as a very poor region, Abruzzo has seen some recovery in the last several decades, thanks to the construction of highways that lead to and from other parts of the country and the expansion of the region’s industry, especially in the telecommunications sector.

Those whose tour of Italy includes the Abruzzo region will be treated to plenty of awesome scenery. As a matter of fact, one of the centerpieces of the region is the spectacular Parco Nazionale di Abruzzo, founded in 1923 and covering nearly 200 square miles. It’s the perfect destination for wildlife lovers and a great place to hike, canoe, horseback ride, cycle, and – in the winter – go alpine or cross country skiing.

Another beautiful national park, Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park, lies within mountainous terrain and is one of the largest protected areas in all of Europe. Considered one of the most biologically-diverse areas on the continent, this park is home to a wealth of flora and fauna including several rare or endangered species. There’s a long trail circuit for hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders and park rangers offer special programs that help visitors get to know the park a little better. There are also several small villages within the park itself, each worth a visit if for no other reason than to meet the people and learn more about their culture.

The capital city of the Abruzzo region is L’Aquila, an city that suffered much destruction during a 2009 earthquake. Laid out between medieval walls, L’Aquila has long been the target of a nearby faultline, suffering numerous quakes throughout the centuries. Unfortunately, many of the city’s historic buildings were damaged or destroyed in this most recent quake. Nothing is all bad though. If you are interested in history, spend some time of your time in Abruzzo learning about the 15,000 year old dwellings unearthed in L’Aquila by the quake. These amazing vaulted cave dwellings, hidden beneath the city for thousands of years were apparently hollowed out by some of the first shepherds to live in the area and also used to shelter their animals. If you are interested in geology, archeology, or just fascinated by history, this part of the Abruzzo region is a must-see.

The largest city in Abruzzo is Pescara, situated on the Adriatic coast. It boasts a Mediterranean climate tempered by the nearby mountains and is home to a small historic city center that includes an interesting ethnography museum. Many Pescarans make their living in the tourist industry as the town is a popular retreat for those who live in central and southern Italy.

www.regione.abruzzo.it

www.cultura.regione.abruzzo.it