Although Abruzzo, a region located in the central / eastern segment of Italy, it is culturally considered and associated with the Southern identity of the country, there is a lot more to it than that. So here’s a quick ‘potted’ history of Abruzzo.
The Kingdom of Naples
Abruzzo was previously a part of the Kingdom of Naples (later known as Kingdom of the Two Sicilies), which was originally a strong political entity across the south of Italy, bringing together many of the main Italian regions, as well as the island of Sicily. Although the Kingdom of Naples ceased to exist in 1860, its effect on the culture across many of the southern regions is still ingrained in the hearts of the people. In most cases, many locals tend to feel a closer sense of identity with their own regional area than with the country itself, given the extremely large cultural diversity within Italy as a nation.
The first traces of human settlements in the region of Abruzzo actually date back to the Neolithic Age. The name of the region itself likely originates from the Latin word “Aprutium”, although it was not until the Middle Ages that the region became widely known by that name.
Prior to that, the region was known as Picenum, Sabina et Samnium, Flaminia et Picenum, as well as Campania et Samnium. Abruzzo became a regional entity as we know it today in 1963. Before that time, it was actually connected to the region of Molise and known as “Abruzzi”, the same name it was known as when it was still a part of the Kingdom Of The Two Sicilies as mentioned earlier.
The Origin of ‘Italy’?
Abruzzo has played a huge role on Italy’s culture over the eras and it is even rumored that the name of the country itself could possibly originate from this area. Ancient coins have indeed been found in the area, apparently with the word “Italia” printed on them. On the other hand, there is evidence that the term “Italy” even predates the coins and the usage in the region, dating back the Greek colonial times, when ancient Greeks first settled into southern Italy.
In recent history, Abruzzo was sadly known as a region stricken with a high rate of poverty. However, Abruzzo largely managed to evolve into a developed region and largely influence the national economy system, establishing itself as a strong economic haven ever since the 1950s. Over the decades, Abruzzo managed to rise steadily, ranking as one of Italy’s fastest-growing regions.
A few setbacks have occurred however, such as the devastating earthquake that caused a lot of damage to the region in 2009, particularly in the city of L’Aquila, and the more recent ‘Terremoti’ in 2016 and 2017.
Abruzzo is particularly well-known all over the world for its high quality food exports, including fine extra-virgin olive oil, as well as world-class wines!