Mountainous region of southern central Italy, comprising the provinces of L'Aquila, Chieti, Pescara, and Teramo; area 10,798 sq km/4,169 sq mi; population (2001 est) 1,244,200. The capital is L'Aquila, and other major towns include Pescara, Chieti, and Teramo. Gran Sasso d'Italia, 2,914 m/9,564 ft, is the highest point of the Apennines. The region was opened up to the rest of Italy in the 1960s following motorway construction, but remains one of the least populated districted in the country.
Physical The region is divided into two physical parts. The first is a sparsely populated mountainous area comprising the central section of the Apennines. The Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo/Abruzzo National Park (1923), occupies the upper Sangro Valley on the border with Lazio. The second part of the region includes the foothills and plains along the Adriatic Coast. The principal rivers of the region are the Tronto, Pescara, Sangro, and Trigno, which all drain into the Adriatic Sea. The small Calderone glacier is the only glacier in the Appenines.
Economy Sheep farming, which dominated the economy of the mountainous part of the region for centuries, has diminished in importance and cattle-raising has increase. In the plains, fruit-growing, vineyards, and the production of tobacco and sugar beet are more important. The Adriatic Riviera and the winter resorts of the area have contributed to a developing tourist industry.
Industrial activity, mainly metallurgy and machinery, is concentrated in the Pescara-Chieti area. It is the most populated region within Abruzzi, and an important administrative and commercial area. Other industries there include textile and clothing manufacture, engineering, the chemical industry, and the production of building materials. Hydroelectric plants are located in the basins of Campotosto and Barrea.