Abruzzo, Italy

Abruzzo (or the Abruzzi) is a region with an ordinary statute in southern Italy, with the capital L'Aquila, between the middle Adriatic and the central Apennines. Spread over an area of 10,831 km², it has a population of 1,269,257 inhabitants and is divided into four provinces (L'Aquila, Chieti, Pescara and Teramo) and 305 municipalities.

Although located in the center of the Italian peninsula, Abruzzo is historically, culturally, economically and largely also linguistically linked to southern Italy, also according to the definitions adopted by Istat and Eurostat.


Geographic hints

Abruzzo is a region of peninsular Italy, between the Adriatic and the central Apennines, occupies an area of 10,763 km² and has a population of 1,345,037 inhabitants. It borders to the north with the Marches, to the east with the Adriatic Sea, to the west with Lazio and to the south with Molise.

L'Aquila and Pescara host the administrative bodies of the Region; Teramo, Chieti, Avezzano, Sulmona, Vasto, Lanciano, Ortona, Atri and Giulianova are the other most important centers in terms of population size, tourist and economic importance, attractiveness in the area.


When to go

The region, for the innumerable landscapes and amusements it can offer, can be reached at different times of the year both in winter and in summer; the winter season offers the tourist countless well-equipped ski facilities in various mountain locations, while in the summer it is possible to go both to the natural parks of the region where you can practice guided tours and other sporting activities, and to the coast where there are many equipped bathing establishments located in many coastal towns. Also not to be forgotten are the spas and historic towns, ancient villages, castles, museums, convents, churches, abbeys and monuments.


Culture and traditions

Although geographically part of central Italy, Abruzzo is linked by tradition, history, dialect, culture and economy to southern Italy. Religious holidays, and in particular Holy Week, are celebrated with particular participation, with processions, traditional processions in local costumes, sacred representations.


Territories and tourist destinations

Abruzzo Adriatic coast - This is the area of the Adriatic coast where seaside towns have developed and which are gaining more and more appeal from year to year. Above all, the northern part has seen an urbanization of the coast which recalls, albeit not on the same scale, the tourist boom of Romagna and the Marches. The Teramo coast and the Pescara-Teatino area constitute almost a single tourist conurbation involving several kilometers of coastline. The southern area of the Costa dei trabocchi, which has also produced examples of urbanization of the coast for tourist purposes, has had less sensational phenomena. This area also has rocky stretches, pebble beaches, not uniformly sandy shores like the northern part. Great seaside realities are Giulianova, Roseto degli Abruzzi, Francavilla al Mare, Ortona, Vasto; Pescara, economic engine of the whole Region, and Chieti constitute a sort of metropolitan area of Abruzzo; Atri and Lanciano are art centers of extraordinary level.

Abruzzo Apennines — The Apennines in Abruzzo cover a large part of the regional territory, extending as far as a short distance from the coast, or even almost reaching the sea. The highest peaks of the mountain range are from Abruzzo: the Gran Sasso, the highest, reaches 2,913 metres; the Maiella i 2,793. Abruzzo is also the record for the longest motorway tunnel in Italy, as it is entirely within the national territory: the Gran Sasso tunnel which crosses the mountain between the Teramo and L'Aquila areas.
Important cities have developed in the mountainous areas of the Abruzzo Apennines, as well as a myriad of small towns, almost always perched on the top of a hill, which maintain their ancient appearance reminiscent of past times. Often these centers retain walls and fortifications, and sometimes they constitute a superb example of a fortified city, such as Civitella del Tronto which is among the most extensive fortifications in Europe.

L'Aquila, although horribly violated by the 2009 earthquake, is starting to live again. Its seriously and sadly damaged historical center is all a building site to recover this city which represents the most important center of the region not so much for its administrative function as capital, but for art and history. Teramo is the other city that boasts an excellent art heritage; Sulmona of very ancient origins combines history and artisanal and industrial development; Avezzano, the most important center of Marsica, has risen from a devastating earthquake and retains traces of its ancient history.


Urban centers

L'Aquila — Fountain of the 99 Spouts, National Museum of Abruzzo, Spanish Fort, Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio - (with the remains of Pope Celestine V - seriously damaged by the 2009 earthquake).
Chieti — National Archaeological Museum of Abruzzo, IUVANUM museum and archaeological park, Cathedral of San Giustino.
Teramo — Tower of the Cathedral of Teramo, Madonna delle Grazie.
Pescara — Basilica of the Madonna of the Seven Sorrows, Madonna del Fuoco, Cathedral of San Cetteo, and Gabriele D'Annunzio birthplace museum.
Francavilla al Mare — Michetti Museum.
Vasto — Cathedral of Vasto, Palazzo D'Avalos.
Lanciano - Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano.
Manoppello — Holy Face of Manoppello.
Ortona - Co-cathedral Basilica of St. Thomas the Apostle.
Atri - Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta.
Giulianova — Cathedral of San Flaviano.
Sulmona — Cathedral of San Panfilo, Complex of the Annunziata, Badia Morronese, Hermitage of Sant'Onofrio al Morrone, Sanctuary of Ercole Curino.
Avezzano — Villa Torlonia, Alba Fucens, Cunicoli di Claudio, Incile del Fucino, Monte Salviano guided nature reserve.
Pacentro - Cantelmo Castle.
Calascio - Rocca Calascio.
Celano — Piccolomini Castle, Church of Santa Maria Valleverde, Marsica Museum of Sacred Art, Paludi Prehistoric Museum.


Other destinations

Forte Spagnolo
Rocca Calascio


How to get

By plane
Domestic flights land at Abruzzo International Airport from Milan (Linate), Bergamo, Cagliari, and Turin, and European ones from Brussels-Charleroi, Frankfurt-Hahn, Girona-Costa Brava, London-Stansted, Paris-Beauvais, Dusseldorf -Weeze, Oslo Torp. The airport is located 3 km from Pescara and is connected to it by bus no. 38, which leaves every 15 minutes from the central station.

By car
There are three highways that serve the region:
A24 motorway: connects the region and precisely the city of Teramo with Rome and all of Lazio passing through L'Aquila.
A25 motorway: connects the region with Lazio precisely the city of Pescara with Rome.
A14 motorway: connects the region to the other Adriatic coastal regions.

On the train
The region can be reached by rail from various regions and locations:
Adriatic Railway: connects the region with the Adriatic coastal regions.
Avezzano-Roccasecca railway: connects the region with lower Lazio (Valle del Liri).
Rome-Sulmona-Pescara railway: connects the region with the capital and Lazio.
Sulmona-Isernia railway: connects the region with the city of Isernia and the region of Molise.
Terni-Sulmona railway: connects the region with Umbria and the city of Terni.
Sangritana railway, connects Castel di Sangro with Lanciano.

By bus
Pescara, L'Aquila and Teramo are connected by TUA buses with Rome, Naples and Salerno.


Getting around

Urban, suburban, interurban and railway public transport in Abruzzo is managed by the TUA (Transport Unique Abruzzese) company. For more information, consult the website www.tuabruzzo.it, while the website tua.mycicero.it is available to check the various routes or make reservations.


What to see

National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise — Populated by the Marsican bear, wolves, chamois and eagles.
Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park — which also includes the Gran Sasso massif (the highest point of the Apennines at 2,914 m) and the Calderone (the southernmost glacier in Europe).
Majella National Park —
Sirente-Velino Regional Natural Park —
Monti Simbruini Regional Natural Park — Includes the westernmost part of the region on the border with Lazio, an area characterized by immense and secular beech woods (e.g. the Renga plateau).
Liri River Valley (Valle Roveto) — The valley, known for the cultivation of roscetta chestnuts, extends for about 50 km. Notables are: the emissary of Claudius, the Zompo lo Schioppo guided nature reserve and Monte Viglio.
Valle del Chiarino — Excursion in a spectacular and enchanted place.
Grotte di Stiffe — Beautiful caves, geologically alive, with river and waterfalls.
Necropolis of Fossa — Prehistoric cemetery.
Trabocchi Abruzzo - Along the trabocchi coast.
Ancient mountain villages — Abbateggio, Anversa degli Abruzzi, Bugnara, Caramanico Terme, Castel del Monte, Castelli, Città Sant'Angelo, Civitella del Tronto, Guardiagrele, Introdacqua, Navelli, Opi, Pacentro, Penne, Pereto, Pescocostanzo, Pettorano sul Gizio, Pietracamela, Santo Stefano di Sessanio, Rocca Calascio, Rocca San Giovanni, Scanno, Tagliacozzo, Villalago
Castles — Roccascalegna, Celano, Pacentro, Anversa degli Abruzzi, Avezzano, Balsorano, Pereto, Oricola, Ortucchio, Morrea, Scurcola Marsicana, Villalago, Calascio, Valle Castellana, Monteodorisio, Carpineto Sinello, Crecchio, Civitaluparella, Ortona, Castiglione Messer Marino, Civitella Messer Raimondo, Vasto, Montazzoli, Palmoli, Casoli, Archi, Serramonacesca, Salle.
Hermitages — Our Lady of the Caùto, Our Lady of the Return, Roccavecchia, Sant'Angelo, San Bartolomeo, Santa Croce al Morrone, Sant'Angelo di Balsorano, San Domenico Abate, San Giovanni, .
Sanctuaries — Basilica sanctuary of the Holy Face of Manoppello, the Sanctuary of San Gabriele dell'Addolorata, the ruins of the monastery of Santa Maria in Valle Rotana.
Convents — Convent of the Retreat of the Santissima Annunziata del Poggio, Convent of the Madonna del Carmine, Convent of San Francesco (Lanciano), Convent Michetti (Francavilla al Mare), Ex Convent of San Donato.
Abbeys — San Clemente a Casauria, San Liberatore a Majella, San Giovanni in Venere, Santa Maria in Montesanto Abbey, Santa Lucia Abbey, Santa Maria Arabona Abbey, Badia Morronese.
Ancient churches — Santa Maria ad Cryptas in Fossa, Santa Maria in Cellis in Carsoli, Santa Maria in Val Porclaneta in Rosciolo di Magliano de' Marsi, San Tommaso in Caramanico.


Events and parties

Good Friday Procession (in Chieti).
Michetti Award (in Francavilla al Mare).
Carnival of Abruzzo (in Francavilla al Mare).
International Ignazio Silone Award (in Pescina).
Benedetto Croce Award for Culture (in Pescasseroli).
Holy Week (in Sulmona).
Holy Week (in Teramo).
Talami (in Orsogna).
Feast of Sant'Agnese and gossips (in L'Aquila).
Easter meeting (various locations in Abruzzo).
Feast of the Farchie (in Fara Filiorum Petri).
Feast of the Narcissus (in Rocca di Mezzo).
Furrow race (in Rocca di Mezzo).
Living nativity scene (in Rivisondoli).
Cavalier Joust (in Sulmona).
Feast of Sant'Andrea (in Pescara).
Pescara Jazz Festival (in Pescara).
Flaiano Prize (in Pescara).
Feast of the Madonna del Porto Salvo (in Giulianova).
Midsummer International Festival (in Tagliacozzo).
Feast of the serpents (in Cocullo).


What to do

In Vasto there is Aqualand del Vasto, the largest water park in Central-Southern Italy. Another well-known water park is that of Tortoreto, the Acquapark Onda Blu.



Spaghetti alla chitarra — Variety of spaghetti with a square shape. They are usually seasoned with ragù.
Scrippelle 'mbusse — Thin crêpes covered in broth and sprinkled with pecorino cheese and cinnamon.
Timballo — A Teramo dish similar to lasagna but made with scrippelle instead of pasta.
Fish — Brodetto alla Pescarese or Vasto, scapece (fried fish preserved in vinegar).
Meat — Especially kid, lamb and sheep.
Cif e ciaf — Based on loins, short ribs, and bacon, fried with dried, spicy peppers.
Potatoes from Fucino — The uses vary from bread to frying and from mixtures to cooking in the oven or boiled.
Pecora alla cottora (in various dialectal variations Cutturu or Cotturo) - Sheep meat stewed for hours (typically cooked over the fire in a copper boiler, the cottora)
Pizza summa ('mbrascata) al coppo - Soft wheat flour pizza optionally with the addition of maize ('mbrascata), without yeast. It is cooked in the fireplace with the traditional tile method.
Cured meats: meat sausages, spicy liver sausages, spicy annoje tripe, Cujùne de mule (a kind of mortadella) and coppa.
Porchetta — Stuffed, spiced and cooked in a wood oven.
Cheeses — Pecorino d'Abruzzo both aged and fresh, caciocavallo, cacio marcetto, ricotta and mozzarella.
Arrosticini — mutton skewers.
Cyammariche - Snails.
Sweets — Easter pizza, ferratelle, Parrozzo, Sulmona sugared almonds, calgiunitti or caviciunitte, pillows for Christmas Eve, cicerchiata for carnival.
Rintrocilo — Spaghettone without egg preferably served with mutton sauce.



The two D.O.C. the best known from Abruzzo are the white Trebbiano d'Abruzzo and the red Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. In reality, the latter D.O.C.G. together with Terre Tollesi (or Tullum), in its 4 variants, including Pecorino and Passerina, two recently rediscovered autochthonous whites. But Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo is receiving great appreciation, while the best-known liqueurs are Centerba di Tocco da Casauria which is made with herbs from the Abruzzo mountains, gentian and aurum, a distillate of fine wines flavored with citrus fruits. In winter, cooked wine, generally must obtained from grapes from the Montepulciano vines, is boiled in a cauldron, a large copper pot, and served hot.

Other D.O.C. wines Abruzzo are: Controguerra, Abruzzo, Villamagna and Ortona.



Abruzzo has no particular security problems, being one of the Italian regions with the lowest crime rates. However, in the large cities of the coast such as Pescara, greater attention is recommended, especially in the peripheral areas most at risk, while in recent years there has been an attempt to infiltrate criminals from Puglia and Campania in the Vasto area.


Etymology and coat of arms

The word Abruzzo, according to the most accredited hypothesis proposed for the first time by the humanist historian Flavio Biondo in his publication L'Italia Illustrata, derives from Aprutium as a popular evolution of (ad) Praetutium, or the land of the Pretuzi (Lat. Praetutii or Praetuttii), an ancient Italic population who lived in the area of present-day Teramo. According to other hypotheses, the lemma could also derive from abruptus (in Latin "steep", "steep"), perfect participle of the verb abrumpere ("to tear", "to truncate", "to violate the agreements").

From the moment in which Charles I of Anjou in 1273 with the diploma of Alife, divided the Giustizierato of Abruzzo (wanted by Frederick II in 1233), into two provinces above and below the stretch of the Pescara river, i.e. Abruzzo Ulteriore and Abruzzo Citeriore, the region was, from then until today, also known as "the Abruzzi".

The coat of arms of the region was adopted in 1976; the shape is that of an Italian shield and the design consists of three oblique bands, each of which depicts a characteristic of the region: the upper one, white, symbolizes the snow-capped mountains, the middle one, the hills, while the last one recalls the color of the sea.


Physical geography


The Abruzzo territory is mainly mountainous (65%) and hilly (34%); the plain (1%) consists of a narrow coastal strip along the coast, about 130 km long.[20] and from the Fucino plain. The region naturally divides into two macro areas, separated by the mountain ranges of Maiella and Gran Sasso: the internal area, which follows the province of L'Aquila, is formed by the sub-regions of the Aterno Valley (Alto Aterno, Conca Aquilana, Valle Subequana ), Navelli plateau, Tirino valley, Marsica, Conca Peligna, major plateaus of Abruzzo and Alto Sangro, squeezed between the peaks of the various mountains of the Abruzzo Apennines, while the coastal area, with the remaining three provinces of Pescara, Chieti and Teramo, is mainly composed of an extensive hilly strip, on which the main valleys of Val Pescara, Val di Sangro and Valle del Tordino extend, and of the narrow coastal plain, intensely urbanized especially in the centre-north of the region.



The climate of Abruzzo is strongly conditioned by the presence of the Apennine-Central mountain massif, which clearly divides the climate of the coastal strip and of the sub-Apennine hills from that of the higher inland mountain strips: while the coastal zones have a Mediterranean-type climate with summers hot and dry and mild and rainy winters, the hilly area has climatic characteristics of the sublittoral type with temperatures that decrease progressively with altitude and rainfall that instead increases with altitude (as in the case of Pescara, which at about 10 m a.s.l. has temperatures average of about 15 °C and annual rainfall around 700 mm, and Chieti, which, located on a hill at 330 m a.s.l., despite having similar average temperatures, records much more abundant rainfall, with annual values of about 1000 mm).

Precipitation is also strongly affected by the presence of the Apennine mountain ridges of the region: it increases with altitude, resulting in more abundance in the sector and on the slopes exposed to the west, decreasing instead towards the east and on the slopes exposed to the east. Often the Adriatic coasts remain in rain shadow from the west due to the blocking effect of the Apennines undergoing the action of the mild winds descending from it (libeccio or garbino).

In winter, precipitation is mostly snow from medium-low altitudes upwards and occasionally as far as the coasts during cold-humid events (episodes of 'burian' and 'rodanate').


Natural environment

Within the various protected areas, scattered not only on the Apennine ridge, but also on the hills of the hinterland and along the 130 km of coast, more than 75% of the animal and plant species of the European continent are kept.

In Abruzzo there are three national parks, a regional park and 38 protected areas including oases, regional reserves and state reserves. In total, 36.3% of the regional territory is subject to environmental protection. 75% of the animal species present in Europe live in the area and it is home to some rare species such as the golden eagle, the Abruzzo wolf, the Abruzzo chamois and the Marsican bear. In this regard we can speak of a real protectionist system of European interest, in fact the complex system of protected areas in Abruzzo continues north with the national park of the Sibillini mountains in the Umbria-Marche Apennines.

The following national parks and one regional park are present in the Abruzzo region:
National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise
National Park of Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga
Maiella National Park
Sirente-Velino regional natural park

The structure of the protected areas in Abruzzo includes, in addition to the national and regional parks, among the 38 state reserves, regional reserves, oases and equipped territorial parks, it manages various biotopes of scientific interest, which despite their sometimes small territorial dimensions, present of notable scientific and naturalistic interest and complete the system of protected areas in the region. The reserves protect a total of 1% of the regional territory and are managed by the municipalities, which in most cases make use of committees extended to other bodies and associations capable of initiating projects for the detection and study of flora and fauna species. Some regional reserves have set up management bodies which provide, in addition to compliance with the protection regulations, planning tools and programs for the valorisation of the protected area. The system constitutes an environmental planning tool, a permanent scientific research laboratory in which important faunal projects of the Apennines have been carried out, with the restoration of the ecosystem and the reintegration of species that have long since disappeared. On the northern side of the Gran Sasso is the Calderone glacier, the southernmost on the continent.

Marine protected areas
Established in 2010, the Torre del Cerrano marine protected area is the only marine protected area in the region; it extends for about 37 square km and protects a unique stretch of sea in Abruzzo, being one of the few beaches where an almost intact dune environment has survived; a few tens of meters from the coast there are the submerged remains of considerable archaeological and naturalistic interest of the ancient port of Atri.

With law 93 of 23 March 2001, the creation of a national park between the municipalities of Ortona and Vasto, known as the Park of the Theatine coast, was envisaged. Despite the provisional delimitation of the park by the ad acta commissioner Giuseppe De Dominicis, appointed by decree of the President of the Council of Ministers on 4 August 2014, the consultation blocked the regional law establishing it, as it is a marine area such jurisdiction rests with the state.



The Abruzzo vegetation is characterized by the presence of different Mediterranean ecosystems; on the coast and in the surrounding areas there is a notable presence of oaks, downy oaks and oriental hornbeams, as well as the localized presence of classic plants of the Mediterranean scrub such as myrtle, heather and mastic; oak, olive, pine, willow, holm oak, poplar, alder, strawberry tree, broom, black locust, rosemary, hawthorn, licorice and almond trees also grow in the hills. The submontane vegetation extends between 600 and 1,000 meters above sea level, mainly characterized by mixed forests of Turkey oak, downy oak, linden, maple and hornbeam; among the widespread shrubs the dog rose and the red juniper.

At higher altitudes, between 1000 and 1900 meters above sea level, beech and sometimes silver fir are widespread, with reforestation of black pine, while in the Apennine areas at high altitudes above 2000 meters there are species such as alpine orchid, mountain juniper, mountain pine, blueberry and edelweiss.



The Abruzzo fauna is very varied; the symbolic animal of the region is the Abruzzo chamois, which after being at risk of extinction is at the center of repopulation projects; the Marsican brown bear is also a typical animal of the region, together with the Apennine wolf, deer, lynx, roe deer, snow vole, fox, porcupine, wild cat, wild boar, badger, viper and otter. There are also several amphibians present in the region: the Apennine toad, the Italian geotriton, the fire salamander, the frog, the toad, the newt and the Italian tree frog; moreover, the canine breed of the Maremma-Abruzzo shepherd is native to the region. Among the numerous species of birds, the most characteristic of the region are the golden eagle, the kite, the peregrine falcon, the plover, the lanner, the griffin, the owl, the owl, the woodpecker and the chaffinch.



Prehistory and protohistory

News of the prehistoric era of both animal, vegetable and human presences are documented by various finds throughout the region, and numerous are also the discoveries of finds from the Neolithic period. It is hypothesized that the primitive populations of Abruzzo, living both in the mountains and in the valleys, followed a predominantly agricultural lifestyle, given the numerous finds of working tools from the countryside.

Several finds from 10th century BC necropolises testify to human activities during the Neolithic.


Ancient age

From the 8th century BC. around then, the region was populated by Italic peoples of the Osco-Umbrian and Samnite cultures. The various Italians of the Abruzzo area, divided into the tribes of the Equi, Sabini, Frentani, Marrucini, Marsi, Peligni, Pretuzi, Pentri, Carricini and Vestini, were all subdued by the Romans around the 3rd century BC. At the beginning of the 1st century BC. these peoples, together with the rest of the Samnites, formed a military coalition aimed at forcing the Roman republic to extend the rights of citizenship, the Italian League, which also included peoples settled outside the current Abruzzo; the Italic peoples chose as their capital in 91 BC. the city of Corfinium where a silver coin of the same value as the Roman denarius was minted bearing the inscription "Italia" (in the Oscan Viteliù). This was the first historical occasion in which the term Italy was used for political purposes. After two years of war, the Italian League, despite being defeated militarily, succeeded in 89 BC. to obtain the right to citizenship claimed by it. However, the Roman dictator Lucio Cornelio Silla invaded Samnium and devastated the main cities, to then rebuild them from scratch, and the resistance of the Samnite generals Quinto Poppedio Silone and Gavio Papio Mutilo was useless. Following the Roman domination many inhabited centres, previously simple villages, experienced a remarkable urban development, and the construction of various consular roads and the creation of numerous Roman colonies allowed a rapid Romanization of the region; during the principate of Augustus, the territory was included in the Regio IV Samnium and Regio V Picenum.


Middle Ages

Following the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the region was occupied by the Byzantines in the sixth century, who took care of the reconstruction and fortification of numerous centres, however, already from the end of the century it suffered the Lombard invasion, which brought new and extensive destruction of the main urban centers and an economic, social and demographic collapse of the whole region, divided into gastaldati and inserted in the Duchy of Spoleto.

In the period from the 10th to the 12th century a new pastoral economy developed, although already present in Roman times, but this time concentrated on sheep tracks, road routes that wound through the mountain basins connecting the Abruzzo highlands to the plains of the Tavoliere. In the same period the region was the object of the expansionist aims of the Normans of the nascent Kingdom of Sicily, who in the course of a process that lasted decades conquered the entire region, until then disputed between the duchies of Spoleto and Benevento, giving it for the first time a unitary structure with the creation of the executioner of Abruzzo in 1233 and establishing the capital in Sulmona. In 1273 the executioner was then divided into two territories, further Abruzzo, mostly corresponding to the provinces of L'Aquila, Teramo and Pescara, and lower Abruzzo in the remaining part of the region roughly corresponding to the province of Chieti. In that period, the process of founding L'Aquila began, made up of various castles in the surrounding area.


Modern history

In the 16th century, the coasts of Abruzzo were the destination of looting and raids by Barbary corsairs, and to contain the Turkish threat, the emperor Charles V erected the defensive system of the coastal towers of the Kingdom of Naples, choosing Pescara as a bulwark of execution: the then a small village was heavily fortified with the construction of a large fortress to control access to the Kingdom from the north and from the Adriatic. The defensive system was already put to the test in 1566, on the occasion of the great raid of the fleet of 105 galleys and 7000 men of the Ottoman admiral Piyale Paşa, commander-in-chief (Kapudanpaşa) of the Ottoman fleet under the orders of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, who had already sacked Naples itself three years earlier.

In the regional hinterland instead there was an initial period of economic and cultural growth, however the intensification of Spanish control over the Neapolitan kingdom, which led to a systematic enfeoffment of the cities, and new and devastating seismic events such as the 1461 L'Aquila earthquakes and 1703 put a brake on this growth.


Contemporary history

Abruzzo was involved in numerous battles during the Napoleonic wars, and with the initial French victory the entire Kingdom of Naples was occupied by Napoleon's troops. In this period important reforms were introduced such as the laws of subversion of feudalism, which gave the region a new and modern administrative structure which divided the territory into municipalities, districts and districts.

The return of the kingdom to the Bourbon dynasty of the Two Sicilies gave rise to various Carbonari revolts in Abruzzo, immediately crushed by the royalist forces.


The unification of Italy and banditry

The most significant episode of the region's annexation to the Kingdom of Italy was the siege of Civitella del Tronto, the great northernmost Bourbon bulwark fortress of the kingdom, it was still under siege while on 17 March 1861 the birth of the kingdom was proclaimed Italian. The strong resistance of the fortress to such a prolonged siege was mainly due to the resistance's ability to collaborate with the bands of brigands operating in the territory; during the upheavals of Italian unification there were in fact no real revolts against the Bourbon government of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and numerous bands of brigands, particularly in the regional interior, operated in Abruzzo with looting and acts of guerrilla warfare.


The early twentieth century

The twentieth century brought epochal changes to Abruzzo, which definitively shifted the socio-economic balance from the inland territories to the coastal ones, which already from the last years of the previous century began to experience a demographic and economic boom, supported both by the colonization of new and large previously uninhabited strips of coastal territory, and from the construction of important infrastructures such as the Adriatic railway in 1863, which will open the Abruzzo coast to trade with the rest of the country. This development of the Abruzzo coast was also fueled by the beginning of the phenomenon of regional internal immigration, which persisting in alternating phases and with various intensities has never stopped, seeing the interior of the region progressively depopulate in favor of the more developed areas of the coast .

On 13 January 1915, a few months after Italy's entry into the war in the First World War, the Marsica earthquake, one of the largest recorded in the country, had a devastating impact on the regional interior, razing numerous towns to the ground and causing approximately 30,000 victims.

The Fascist Twenty Years
During the years of the fascist regime, the Abruzzo territory was reorganized from an administrative point of view, with various internal divisions and also transfers to other regions. In fact, the regime established the province of Pescara in 1927, created by separating a large part of the district of Penne from the province of Teramo and numerous municipalities from the district of Chieti, as well as Bussi sul Tirino and Popoli, ceded by the province of Aquila, and sanctioned, through a law known as Grande Aquila, the union of eight neighboring municipalities with the municipality of L'Aquila.
The development of the city of Pescara and the Abruzzo coast continued to accelerate, marked by the construction of monumental public and administrative buildings and by the start of the first forms of industrial activity and the massive colonization of vast areas that remained uninhabited. In those years, seaside tourism took hold, favored by the construction of the first hotels and structures.

Fierce opponent of fascism was the writer from Pescia Ignazio Silone, who as an exile in Switzerland wrote the first novels with an Abruzzo setting such as Fontamara and Vino e pane.


The Second World War

With the beginning of the Second World War, the fascist persecutions of Jews and political dissidents became systematic, and a total of fifteen internment camps for prisoners were opened in the region, such as Camp 78 of Fonte d'Amore in Sulmona and that of Caserma Rebeggiani in Chieti.

Following the Italian armistice of 8 September, Abruzzo, cut in two by the Gustav Line, was rapidly occupied by the Germans. In the following days, the region witnessed the episode of the flight of Vittorio Emanuele III and the rest of the government. There were numerous partisan resistance organizations, often of a local nature, in addition to the group of Ettore Troilo's Maiella Brigade, which numbered 1700 fighters and which was later aggregated to the allied forces, such as the revolts of the Ottobrini Martyrs of Lanciano. Allied bombing campaigns began in the summer of 1943; the repeated and destructive bombings of Pescara were particularly dramatic, but other locations such as Sulmona and Avezzano were also affected. The battle of Trigno in October 1943, fought by the Germans and by the soldiers of General Bernard Law Montgomery's British VIII Army arriving from Foggia, started the liberation of the region; further clashes, with serious destruction in the surrounding villages, continued with the battle of the Sangro.

The climax of the fighting in the sector was reached on 21-27 December 1943, in the battle of Ortona. The city, the Adriatic head of the Gustav Line, suffered great destruction to its historical building heritage, losing 70% of the buildings built. The fighting and bombardments continued for several more months, when the Germans finally withdrew from the region towards the north in the summer of 1944. Chieti was liberated by the allies on 9 June of that year, Pescara on 10 June, L'Aquila and Teramo on the 13th; the war, although it did not involve all the various regional territories with the same intensity, wiped out all the existing productive realities and caused very serious damage to urban centers, as in the cases of Ortona, Francavilla al Mare and Pescara, the cities most battered by the fighting that they lost much of their historical heritage.

From the Second World War to today
The years of reconstruction saw an accentuation of the Abruzzo internal migratory phenomenon: more and more inhabitants of the hinterland moved towards the Abruzzo coast, also due to the different economic conditions experienced by the two territories. In particular, the urban growth of Pescara began, which after the conflict became the largest city in the region. In 1956 a serious landslide hit the historic center of Vasto, with the collapse of an entire historic district. However, the emigration of the Abruzzo population was not only internal, in fact emigration to other European countries resumed with great intensity, however the construction of various settlements and industrial areas and an important development of the tertiary sector in the major centers led the region to recover economically and to free itself from the traditional agricultural-pastoral economy, until then the main economic activity of the Abruzzo people.

The Italian Constitution of 1948 contemplated the establishment of the Abruzzi and Molise region, but the 1963 reform established the detachment of Molise from Abruzzo, and both regions then became effectively operational starting from 1970.

In those years the historical geographical isolation was also remedied, with the construction of the two major motorways A24 Rome-Teramo and A25 Torano-Pescara which connect the capitals of Abruzzo with the capital. From the end of the 1980s in the center of the region, a vast metropolitan area, centered on Pescara and Chieti, was increasingly merging and structuring.

The high seismicity of the region caused serious damage again on 6 April 2009, with a new earthquake that struck inland Abruzzo, with its epicenter in L'Aquila. The seismic event caused over 300 victims and extensive damage throughout the Conca Aquilana and surrounding areas, and in 2016 and 2017 Abruzzo was again hit by the seismic sequence of Central Italy in 2016 and 2017, with numerous damages in many countries of the provinces of L'Aquila and Teramo.