The Abruzzo Region
The white band represents the snow-capped mountains, the green the forests and hills, and finally the blue band the sea. In this way the emblem reflected the geography of the region.
After the decline of the Roman Empire the region broke up into small feudal states and during the early Middle Ages Abruzzi was for a long time under the control of the Lombard duchy of Spoleto. In the 12th century the Normans conquered the territory, which became part of the Kingdom of Sicily and under Frederick II of Hohenstaufen had Sulmona as the regional capital. In 1272 Charles I of Anjou divided the territory of Abruzzi into two provinces, ultra flumen Piscariae or Abruzzo ulteriore and citra flumen Piscariae or Abruzzo citeriore, with a common governor residing in Chieti; in 1641 a second Governor was established in L'Aquila and in 1684 a third in Teramo.
In 1807 under Giuseppe Bonaparte the province ultra flumen Piscariae was divided into the two provinces of Abruzzo ulteriore I, with capital Teramo, and Abruzzo ulteriore II, with capital L'Aquila, while Chieti remained the capital of Abruzzo citeriore. The existence of three provinces under the name of Abruzzo also explains why the region has always be known in the plural, Abruzzi, and many place names maintain the plural (Anversa degli Abruzzi, Tione degli Abruzzi, Villa S. Lucia degli Abruzzi, not to speak of the regional capital, L'Aquila degli Abruzzi), though it is no longer commonly used by Italians. Pescara, the fourth and last province, was added in 1927.
After the fall of the Hohenstaufen dynasty in the 13th century, Abruzzi and Molise in turn came under the control of the Anjou, the Aragonese, the Spanish Hapsburgs, and finally, in the 18th century, became part of the Bourbon kingdom of Naples, under whose rule the region was divided into Abruzzo Ulteriore I, Abruzzo Ulteriore II, Abruzzo Citra, and Molise. By the early 19th century small liberal groups were taking part in revolutionary activities, and in 1860 the region became part of united Italy. In 1948 Abruzzi was joined with Molise, to the south, to form the region of Abruzzi and Molise; but in 1963 the two regions were separated again.
According to other hypotheses, the name may derive from the Latin aper (=wild boar), whereby Abruzzo would be the region of wild boar; or from the Latin participle Abruptum (=steep), that is, the region of steep rocks; or even from the a Bruttiis expression, namely the land that begins with the Bruttii, inhabitants of southern Italy (modern Calabria).
The name Aprutium, unknown, at far as we know, in the classical era, appears for the first time towards the end of the 6th century AD in a letter of Gregory the Great directed to one Oportunus de Aprutio. At first the name referred to the area of, or only the city of Teramo, whose name in Roman times was Interamnia Praetutiorum. During the Lombard domination (7th century AD) Aprutium was one of the seven gastaldati south of the Tronto river (Aprutium, Pinne, Teate, Marsi, Amiterno, Forcona and Valva). Then under the Normans, the term began to be used for all the lands at the northern limits of the Kingdom of Sicily, and under Frederick II finally Aprutium included the territories of all seven Lombard gastaldati - a territory not very different from today - with Sulmona as capital.
Important throughout the region is also the breeding of livestock and sheep, which once represented one of the primary sources of livelihood for the population, molding the culture through the age-old practice of transhumance - the movement of livestock from mountain pastures to the plains outside the region. Even pig breeding has reached a certain level of relevance and many kinds of salami, sausages and ham are produced locally. Fishing as well is one of the qualifying sectors of the economy of the region.
The Abruzzo region produces one fifth of the whole hydroelectric energy in Italy, thanks to the large plants at Campotosto, Sagittario and Alto Sangro. Underground resources include petroleum (Alanno), aluminum (Marsica), bauxite and hydrocarbons. Industrial development is limited, except for areas near the bigger centers: there are large factories in Avezzano, L'Aquila, Pescara, Teramo and Chieti. Tourism is an important and growing industry on the Adriatic coast and in ski resorts.