Historically, Abruzzo was a rural and poor society somewhat isolated from the rest of the country. This might explain why between 1901 and 1915 alone, a million people emigrated from Abruzzo and neighboring Molise – many to the United States. Thirty percent of Abruzzo is covered by nature reserves and three national parks, helping Abruzzo earn the distinction as the greenest region in Europe. Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo protects endangered species such as the Marscian Bear and the Appennine Wolf. Although it is Abruzzo’s most populated city, the port of Pescara isn’t the most alluring of destinations. Further inland, the regional capital of L’Aquila is a far more interesting and beautiful place; in fact The Financial Times has called it “the most handsome city in Abruzzo.” Emperor Frederick II founded the town in 1240, supposedly by joining 99 villages together.

Also see our PBS episode on the region of Abruzzo

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