ABRUZZI ABRUZZO (It); Aprutium (late Latin).
Region in central Italy, between the Lazio Region and the Adriatic Sea,and containing the highest peaks of the Apennines.
Between the later 6th and early 11th centuries it belonged to the Lombard, later the Frankish, Duchy of Spoleto. By the 11th century the Popes were claiming the Duchy of Spoleto as their territory, though the Emperors contested their contention. In the Abruzzi, neither Pope nor Emperor prevailed. The Normans of southern Italy spent many years in asserting their power, and by the 1140s had secured the region as part of their Kingdom of Sicily.
Frederick II, King of Sicily as well as Emperor, made it a province in 1240 and in the 17th century it was divided into the three provinces of Abruzzo Ulteriore I and II and Abruzzo Citeriore, i.e. the furthest, less far and nearest to Naples. These became the provinces of Teramo, Aquila and Chieti in the Kingdom of Italy in 1860-1.
Since 1965 the Abruzzi has been an autonomous region, comprising four provinces: the large inland Apennine province of L’Aquila, and the coastal provinces of (north to south) Terano, Pescara, and Chieti, all of which are mountainous inland.
Under the Italian constitution of 1948, the region was that of ABRUZZO E MOLISE, which consisted of these four provinces plus that of Campobasso, but like most of the regions of Italy it had no effective institutions. While still in this embryonic state, it was divided into its two parts by a constitutional amendment in 1965.
Legislation in the 1970s finally gave life to the regions. Of the 20 Italian regions, the Abruzzi is 13th in area and 14th in population.