The wild beauty of Abruzzo's mounain terrain is captivating - the bald, craggy peaks of the Gran Sasso d'Itlalia are capped by the Corno Grande and have perilous drops of up to 1000m. Farther south, woves and bears still roam protected in the forests of the Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo.
The region is not just for nature-lovers. The medieval towns of l'Aquila and Sulmona are well worth visiting, and the countryside is speckled with an array of castles and isolated, hilltop borghi(cluttered towns and villages little changed over hundreds of years). In antiquity, Abruzzo was famed for its witches, wizards and snake-charmers. Traditionally farm and grazing territory, Abruzzo's sheep farmers still play an important role in the local economy. A key agricultural area is the Piana del Fucino, south of l'Aquila, which was created by draining the vast Lago Fucino in the late 19th century. Torlonia's efforts were not a first. The ancient Romans had a shot at draining the lake in what proved a remarkable, yet disastrous, feat of engineering. Under the orders of Emperor Claudius, the Romans built a tunnel about 10km long to drain the lake into a neighbouring valley. Unfortunately, when the outlet tunnel was opened, it proved too small for the massive volume of wanter in the lake and thousands of spectators, including the emperor himself, almost drowned.
The evening sun casts an opaque rose light across the Gran Sasso d'Italia just to the north of l'Aquila - an encouraring counterpoint to the somewhat gloomy regional capital. The citizen of l'Aquila established 99 churches and 99 piazzas, as well as fountain with 99 spouts.
Surface (Kmq): 10795
City: L'Aquila (AQ); Chieti (CH); Pescara (PE); Teramo (TE).