The area of the Abruzzi ( Regione Abruzzo in Italian), more usually called the Abruzzi , is a Région of central Italy, born from a scission, the December 27th 1963 with the area of the Molise, which makes of them youngest areas of the Peninsula. Its capital is the town of Aquila.
For a long time, the Abruzzi were regarded as an underdeveloped part of the the Mezzogiorno, i.e. South of Italy. But thanks to the development of the country holidays and light industries, its economy was quickly raised. This mountainous region shelters a multitude of small villages dating from the Moyen-âge. The Abruzzi are also famous for their forest field of hunting. Corno Large, in the solid mass of the Gran Sasso, is their culminating point with his 2.912 meters. The four provinces of the area also count innumerable famous seaside resorts (the only seaside resort of the province of Aquila, far away from the sea, is in edge of the splendid Lake Scanno, with more than 900 meters of altitude). One in addition counts there 21 ski stations, of which the greatest station of the the Apennines: Roccaraso, with its 100 km of tracks.
The area of the Abruzzi is characterized by high mountains on the whole of its territory. It is in this area that the chain of the the Apennines reaches its maximum width and its height. Its highest point, Corno Large, culminates to 2.912 m in the solid mass of the Gran Sasso, which points out the Pyrenees and the Alps. As its name indicates it, Corno Grande resembles a " Large Corne". Many tops exceed the 2.500 m there:
- Corno Piccolo : 2.655 m
- Pizzo d' Intermesoli: 2.635 m
- Assemble Corvo: 2.626 m
- Assemble Camicia: 2.564 m
- Assemble Prena: 2.561 m
- Pizzo Cefalone: 2.535 m
- Assemble Aquila: 2.500 m
- the septentrional slope is characterized by walls falling directly on the hills
- the southernmost slope is composed of lower and round mountains, covered of a rare vegetation.
At the south of Gran Sasso is located Majella which culminates to 2.795 m with Assembles Amaro.
In the west of the area draws up the solid mass of Velino (2 486 m) - Sirente (2 358 m) less low than that of Gran Sasso. Its landscapes are very varied: the high rocky meadows of Velino are opposed to the vast forests developing with the foot of the north-eastern wall of Sirente, where bears live.
In the north of the area are Monti della Laga (2 458 m with Assemble Gorzano) wooded and wet.
In the south, Simbruini Ernici culminate to 2.156 m, while the mounts of the national park of the Abruzzi amount to 2.285 Mr.
These solid masses are separated by important valleys and three conches (broad valleys) of very different nature:
- the conch of Aquila (local widening of the valley of the Aterno river, to 700 m of altitude)
- the conch of Fucin (flat of altitude closed of 160 km ² located at 650 m of altitude. It sheltered formerly a lake)
- the conch of Sulmona (crossroads of several valleys to 400 m of altitude).
Cultivated argillaceous hills (scrap-metals) from 40 to 50 km broad go down towards the sea and ensure the transition between the mountain and the coast.
There do not exist true plains in the area. One can quote, in addition to the many plains of altitude, a littoral plain of a few hundred meters broad which can be inserted on several kilometers in the sea, to the mouth of the principal rivers (in particular in Pescara).
As for most of the beaches on the Italian side of the Adriatic Sea, the coast of the Abruzzi is sandy and rectilinear. However, in the south of the area, of the rock bars stop the regularity of this coast, between Francavilla Al Pond and Vasto, like cliffs of the " Punta Penne" and the " Punta Aderci".
Hydrography and climate
The chain of the the Apennines is strongly sprinkled, insofar as it is wedged between two seas. The Abruzzi receive abundant precipitations and profit from rather low temperatures, because of presence of the mountains. However, the rainfall and thermal records are very variable from one place to another, always because of the mountains. Whereas the coast enjoys a Mediterranean climate (dry and heat the summer, wet and soft the winter), the interior valleys and the conches have a continental climate (hot the summer, cold the winter, rather dry). The mountainous solid mass, as for him, knows a climate of altitude (cold, wet and very variable).
Aquila, which is located at more than 700 m of altitude, is flanked on its 4 sides by mountains of more than 2.000 m of altitude. Those block the arrival of the soft and wet maritime drafts and profit from a dry and cold climate. According to a saying, Aquila knows " 11 months cold and 1 month frais". The city is also famous to be " the coldest city of Italie".
The Eastern slope of Majella is exposed to the winds coming from Siberia which, into winter, after being itself humidified in contact with the Adriatic Sea, transform it into " the most snow-covered mountain of Europe". The coldest temperatures are recorded in high mountain, towards 2.000 Mr. the temperature can go down there until 0°C the winter; it can snow several days during the summer even there.
The most important precipitations were recorded on the Eastern slope of Gran Sasso and on that of Majella. Because of their altitude, Gran Sasso and Majella block the clouds resulting from the Adriatic Sea and involve quasi daily precipitations.
The plains of altitude are also frequently swept by strong winds.
Cours d' waterThe Abruzzi are an important water reserve for Rome and Italy of the south (Gran sasso feeds out of water 1.500.000 people).
The principal rivers are:
- Aterno-Pescara, the second longer river running towards the Adriatic Sea in the south of Po (145 km
- Sangro (122 km) takes its source in the middle of the National park of the Abruzzi
- Tronto (117 km) in north
- Trigno (85 km) in the south
- Vomano (75 km) takes its source in the north of Gran Sasso.
- Volturno (the longest river of the Abruzzi) (175 km), Liri (158 km) and Salto (an affluent of the Tiber) are thrown in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
LakesThe principal lakes of the Abruzzi are storage reservoirs.
Largest is the Lac of Campotosto of a surface of 14 km ² to 1.313 meters of altitude. It is the second plus artificial big lake of Europe. The report/ratio surfaces/altitude is particular since in Europe, there exists little of lakes of this importance at this altitude.
More the natural big lake is the Lake Scanno (1km ²) close to the National park of the Abruzzi with the only station " balnéaire" province of Aquila not having access to the sea.
Formerly, the conch of Fucin, with mountains on its 4 sides, contained an immense lake of 160km ² which was the larger third of Italy. But it was drained at the XIXe century to obtain ground from it has to cultivate.
In Gran Sasso is the Glacier of Calderone (ghiacciaio del Calderone), southernmost of Europe and the only one of the the Apennines. Located at the North-East of Corno Large, between 2.680 and 2.870m of altitude, of a surface of 5ha, this glacier is threatened of disappearance because of climate warming.
Some figures concerning Gran Sasso
Gran Sasso establishes some records for the the Apennines:
- the lake highest: Lake Camarda, 2.051m of altitude
- the highest source: source of the " Invalidi" , 2.650m of altitude
- the highest resurgence: " source; Grotte" , 2.080m of altitude
Total history of the areaPrehistory: the man was very early installed on the hills and the mountains of the Abruzzi. A fragment of femur going back to 80.000 years was found on Gran Sasso.
Antiquity: Before the colonization of the area by the Romans, various Italic people lived the area: Sabins, Marrucini, Piceni, Samnites, Vestini, Péligniens, Frentani, Marses and Aprutini (the latter gave their name to the area of the Abruzzi). It is besides them which pronounced for the first time the word Italy, in Ier century before J.C., in Corfinium. Atri, in the past " Hatria" , is one of the oldest cities of the area, it would have given its name to the Adriatic Sea which it overhangs. The greatest archaeological discovery is undoubtedly that of the Warrior of Capestrano: high, it 2,10 meters was carved about the 5th century before J.C. In 90 before J.C., the Italic people living in the Abruzzi, which had helped the Romans to fight the Carthaginian army, asked them for Roman nationality. But the Romain Senate refused to concede it to them for still unknown reasons. Then, Marses, Péligniens, Piceni, Vestini and Samnites met in a unit state, with Corfinium for capital, and besieged Rome. the City would have fallen if it had then not yielded Roman nationality to them. Sulmona was the birthplace of Ovide. Then the Romans settled in the Abruzzi, and built Alba Fucens, Amiternum (whose amphitheater was taken as model for Colisée) and several roads crossing the area. They built also the longest tunnel of the time under the lake Fucin: 6 km.
the Middle Ages: For this period, the area was colonized in turn by Lombards, Goths, Suèves and the Norman ones. Aquila was built at the 13th century by the meeting of 99 castles; the legend wants that it preserves 99 more places, 99 fountains and 99 churches. Many hermits settled around Majella, of which Célestin V, crowned papeà Aquila in the basilica of Collemaggio. This church has besides the only Sainte door existing apart from Rome: it opens only annually, on August 28th, after a large procession means-âgeux which is practiced still today: Perdonanza. With the Middle Ages, Aquila was a flourishing city on important trade route. Its high ramparts are still well preserved. Mazrin was born besides in Pescina, a village beside Avezzano.
Rebirth and modern times: In 1573, engineer De Marchi climbs for the first time Corno Grande, however difficult to climb at the time. Consequently, the alpinism was born on the Gran Sasso, with several pioneers with the attack of the summits and the construction of many refuges (the first of the Gran Sasso was the Graribaldi refuge, built in 1886). At the 18th century, the breeding of sheep was with its apogee. Many shepherds practiced transhumance and descended their herds the autumn from the mountains until Pouilles, then returned in spring in the mountain pastures.
contemporary Time: In October 1861, the Abruzzi, which belonged to the Kingdom of Naples, entered the Kingdom of Italy. At the same time, one drained the lake Fucin to put at the place a very productive agriculture. Between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, one built the current railways which furrow the area. The famous Italian poet Gabriele D' Annunzio had been born in Pescara. Also, in Popoli had been born engineer D' Ascanio, who was the first to develop the prototypes of helicopter and Vespa motor bike. In 1922, the national park of the Abruzzi instituted east: it is the first European national park. At the time of the Second world war, the group of Resistant more to the south of Italy operated in the deep forests of Monti della Laga (in Bosco Martese). In the years '70, tension, conflicts and strikes shake the area for the nomination of the chief town between Pescara and Aquila. This last gained, because although smaller, it has an important history all the same. In 1989, one institutes the regional park of Velino-Sirente, then the national parks of Majella and the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga in 1991, and finally the national park of the coast of Chieti in 2007.
Evolution of the populationThe Abruzzi belong to the areas the least densément populated Italy (120 hab/km ² against 192 hab/km ² for the Italy). Indeed, after an appreciable increase in the population of the 18th century to half of the 19th century, this one stagnates or increases slightly since. In 1861, one counts 866.828 inhabitants; 1.277.000 inhabitants in 1951 and more than 1.300.000 inhabitants currently.
To that important migratory phenomena of the interior are added towards the coasts. Thus, the villages of altitude on the Gran Sasso lost all more half of their inhabitants in 20 years, while the frontage marittime knew a demographic explosion. The megalopolis of Pescara joined 300.000 inhabitants today. Moreover, the area had to face the emigration of its inhabitants towards the remainder of the Italy, even abroad. Between 1900 and 1914, several hundreds of thousands of people left the area. Among those, 85% went to America (the United States, Argentina, Brésil). About 1950, this exodus changes course and moves especially towards the rest of Europe, especially towards Germany. Some also leave in Venezuala, Canada and to Australia. But this second migratory phenomenon weighed little on the area thanks to the great number of Abruzzais which returned on their premises.
For a few years, the depopulation of the mountains has been slowed down, thanks to the creation of the parks which try to develop the villages, the traditions, the old culture and the landscapes which surround them. Many restaurants and inns open in these villages, and more and more of people of all Europe buy a second home of mountain there. Often, some villages dedicated to the abandonment were saved in extremis thanks to the installation of ski stations (for example Rocca di Cambio thanks to the skiabme field of Campo Felice). As, on the coast, to prevent as the megalopolis of Pescara is not spread out too much, from Oases WWF emerged between two cities (for example few hundreds of meters of wild coast between Silvi and Pineto, where dominates also Torre di Cerrano, the largest tower of observation of the coast of the area). In 2007, with the creation of the national park of the coast of Chieti, the construction of abusive buildings on this part of the coast preserved still well was stopped.
The creation of the National park of the AbruzziThe history of the most important park of the Abruzzi begins in 1872 when, at the same time as was born the oldest national park from the world: that of Yellowstone, a royal reserve of hunting was instituted in Camosciara, a very wild locality of the park where chamois and bears pullulate, to protect the species which live there. One started to speak about a national park in 1907. It was not absolutely necessary to save the last bears and the last chamois, the latter not being any more but 15 in 1915. In 1921, the commune of Opi created a first core protected from 500 hectares, which extended then to 12.000 hectares in 1922. This date marks the inauguration of the National park of the Abruzzi. In 1923, the new-born park extended to 18.000 hectares, then was increased first once at 28.000 hectares in 1925, and second once at 30.000 hectares in 1926. That made it possible to save the last bears, and made raise the number of chamois with 100.
But in 1933 the fascistic mode removed the management of the park, and the territory fell to the hand from the poachers. So that the number of chamois fell down to 30, and than the bears again failed to die out. And this period sinks which the park underwent disappeared only after the Second world war, in 1950, where the management of the park was reconstituted. But this period of peace was short, because following the economic boom of the Italy, the management of the park was still removed between 1963 and 1969, for tourist reasons. This period was most destroying of the park. One traced roads, one cut down trees, one built villas, one made ski stations. That made sacrifice 3.000 hectares of surface, 120.000 trees were abattuts and the wildlife fell down again in chaos.
Finally, the park pushed back this attack and one reconstituted the direction of the park in 1969. The park was supported by the ecologists of all the country, and it was left there with reinforced capacities. The external protection zone was created, which added 60.000 more hectares of surface to the park, which extended then from 10.000 hectares in 1976. The park measures 100.000 hectares then. It was on this date also that the national park of the Abruzzi succeeds in convincing the State to protect its last wolves (less than 100 at the time). In 1988, one suspends hunting on all the territory of the park. In 1989, the " case Civitella" show with the whole world the benefit of the park; indeed, the museum of the wolf located in the small village of Civitella Alfedena had so much tourist success that its bank was in the third national place, after Florence and Venice, for the banking placements! In 1990, the park increases still 4.000 hectares, then of 6.000 more hectares in 2000. Assessment: the National park of the Abruzzi made it possible to save at the same time the chamois of the Abruzzi, the brown bears marsicains and the wolves of the the Apennines, while preserving the landscapes. 2.000.000 of trees were saved demolition, the villages were enriched and did not depopulate themselves, and each year 2.000.000 tourists come from everyone visit each year the park. This park is from now on the pride of the Abruzzi, where the area drew its new tourist vocation: country holidays
Parks of the AbruzziThe national park of the Abruzzi ( Parco Nazionale d' Abruzzo, Lazio E Weakens ) is the most famous element of the area. Created in 1922, it is the first national park of Europe. It made it possible to save extinction the brown bear marsicain (emblem of the park) (there are 60 in the park of them), the wolf of the Apennines (50 in the park), the chamois of the Abruzzi (900 in the park) and the lynx (10 in the park - population still too weak). Extended on 22 communes and 100.000 hectares, it is covered to the 2/3 with forests, its culminating point being on the dorsal behind Assembles Marsicano - still without name - measuring 2253 meters of altitude, in the north of the park (assembles it Marsicano made 2245 meters). But for the periphery of the park, the true culminating point is assembles it Greco, in the North-East (2283 meters). Each year, nearly 2.000.000 tourists come to visit the park, which had important benefit for the local population - as what protection of nature pays large. The Abruzzi included/understood it, and then instituted the regional park of Velino-Sirente (in 1989), then the national park of Majella (in 1991), the national park of Gran Sasso (in 1991) and the national park of the coast of Chieti (in 2007). The whole is surrounded by an immense network of natural reserves. This made of the territory of the Abruzzi most amply protected from Italy (more than a third of its surface!). Other projects, like ARVE (Abruzzo Regione Verde d' Europa) or APE (Appennino Parco d' Europa) want to make gather the zones protected from the Abruzzi in an immense national park of 500 or 600.000 hectares, is the surface of a French department (on average, a French department is 2 times larger than an Italian department). The Abruzzi are the only area of Europe which turned itself towards protection of nature and of its landscapes to save its economy. Success was extraordinary, so that the Abruzzi do not form from now on any more part of the Mezzogiorno (contrary with an generally accepted idea), and the area is increasingly known in Italy and abroad because of creation of transnational abruzzaises, the valorization of its products and its parks and of the improvement of its services. Great projects on the nature of European origin took place or are in hand. The Abruzzi profit from a revival dependant on the Tourisme thanks to three national parks and on natural reserves.
Here some figures concerning the Abruzzi, which account for only 4% of the surface of Italy:
- On the 100 Italian bears, 80 live in the Abruzzi - is 4 bears out of 5 = 80% of the population ursine.
- On the 20 Italian lynxes, 10 live in the Abruzzi - is 1 lynx out of 2 = 50% of the population of the lynxes.
- On the 600 Italian wolves, 200 are in the Abruzzi - is 1 wolf out of 3 = 33% of the population lupine.
Road transportThree highways cross the area:
- A14, which skirts the coast Adriatique
- the A24, which goes from Rome to Giulianova while passing by Aquila and Teramo
- the A25, which goes from Pescara in A24 while passing by Chieti, Sulmona and Avezzano
Rail-bound transportsThe railways are omnipresent, that is on the coast that in the internal valleys.
The Rome-Avezzano-Sulmona-Pescara line is the second highest line of Italy.
The Sulmona-Roccaraso-Carpinone line (Weakens) is called " Train of Parcs" (Treno dei Parchi).
The " Arrow of the gran Sasso" (Freccia LED gran Sasso) (Aquila-Sulmona-Rome) and the " Train of Vallée" (Treno della Valle) (along Sangro) can cross a broken relief thanks to many works of art (viaducts and bridges).
The line, along the coast, has 2 ways and is attended by of Pendolini (Italian TGV) and the commercial trains.
Maritime transportThe three main ports of the Abruzzi are Pescara (with a vat for Split, in Croatia), Ortona (with a vat for the Tremiti islands, in Pouilles) and Vasto (trading vessels). But there exist many tourist ports on the coasts and in more the big lakes of the interior.
Air transportsL'" Airport of Abruzzes" (Aeroporto d' Abruzzo), in Pescara is a small international airport which serves the Italian big cities, but also Europe and North America.
Aquila has a tourist aerodrome.
The area of the Abruzzi knew serious earthquakes in its history: the February 2nd 1703, a seism occurs with Aquila, the day of the Carnival. The festival is stopped, and there are thousands of deaths. Henceforth, to commemorate this earthquake, the carnival will always take place on February 3rd, contrary to the remainder of Italy. In 1915, a gigantic earthquake occurs in the south of the Abruzzi, in Avezzano. This seism, straightforwardly also felt in Rome, 100 km of the birthplace, made 33.000 victims, and the town of Avezzano lost 82% of its population. It is the 20th most fatal earthquake of the history of planet! In spite of the new economic revival of the Abruzzi, an earthquake of this kind can occur again. It would be then the ruin of the area. The support of the State for the parks of the Abruzzi could be diverted with the remainder of the area to refund the damage, the poaching could then take again and probably exterminate forever the important species of the Abruzzi, today strong source of revenue for all the area, which would then lose its image of protective nature and thus its tourism. A case for the seisms and a planning should be made up if the worst was to arrive.
ProvincesThe Abruzzi are divided into 4 provinces:
- Common of the province of Aquila
- Common of the province of Chieti
- Common of the province of Pescara
- Common of the province of Teramo
- Official site of the '' Regione Abruzzo ''
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