Abruzzo has maintained the unique unblemished Italian lifestyle for centuries. From the beech wood forests with marauding bears and wolves to pathways that have survived the torments of centuries, Abruzzo still features colorfully adorned shepherds with their flocks as well as monstrous castles dotting the vastness of wilderness.
Geographically, Abruzzo is found in southern Italy and is historically associated with the Kingdom of the two Sicilies. Lying in the center of the Italian peninsula, it faces the Adriatic Sea on its eastern borders while the Apennines border it to the west. This region is highly mountainous with the San Sasso and Corno Grande being two of the mountains having high peaks.
The region currently referred to as ‘Abruzzo’ was once called Picenum, Flamina et Picenum or Sabina et Samnium at different times in history. However, it is believed that the name ‘Abruzzo’ may have originated from a corruption of the Latin name ‘Aprutium’ which basically means ‘a land of boars’. Before 1963, Abruzzo was part of Abruzzi. During this time, Abruzzi was a constituent territory under the Kingdom of Two Sicilies where it was referred to as Abruzzo Ulteriore I and II and Abruzzo Citeriore. Currently, Abruzzo Ulteriore is the Province of L’Aquila.
Even though many Italians regard Abruzzo as a remote wilderness with numerous mountainous ranges, this region has some vast beaches along its eastern border. These beaches extend from the south of Pescara to the Adriatic North, directly into the infamous Abruzzo mountains. This is one region that provides all the ingredients for a true adventurer: frightening yet thrilling at the same time. A tour of Abruzzo is incomplete without a foray into the Abruzzo National Park and the New Maiella National Park.
L’Aquila is both the capital city of Abruzzo and of the Province of L’Aquila. It is located 58 miles (93km) northeast of Rome within medieval walls and on the banks of the Aterno River. It is surrounded by the Apennine Mountains, with the Gran Sasso d’Italia to the north-east. Earthquakes destroyed most of the churches and piazzas, but there remains several sites of historic and artistic value, including the Fountain of the Ninety-Nine Spouts, the massive 16th-century Spanish castle, the Basilica of St. Bernardine, the greatest Renaissance church in Abruzzi, and the Church of Saint Mary where Peter from Morrone was crowned Pope in 1294. The city is home to the University of L’Aquila, and as such is a lively college town with many cultural institutions including: a repertory theater, a symphony orchestra, a fine-arts academy, a state conservatory, and a film institute.
Located on the Adriatic coast at the mouth of the Aterno-Pescara river, Pescara is the largest city in Abruzzo. The river divides the city with the Centrale (the ancient Castellamare Adriatico) on the northern side, and Porta Nuova (the “new gate”) on the southern side. Both parts of the city have undergone redevelopment since World War II, however there are many ruins and monuments in and around Pescara, particularly in Vecchio Pescara. The city is now regarded as the main commercial center within the region and a popular seaside resort destination due to its sandy beaches that extend uninterrupted for over 20km. The most popular beaches are north of the city. As a resort destination, there are a variety of restaurants, cafes, and an active nightlife in Pescare. It is also home to some of the trendiest boutiques outside of Rome and Milan. Pescara can be crowded and expensive, especially during peak season of July and August.