The history of Abruzzo is marked by natural events, conquests and human activities. Year after year all these factors shaped this territory as a critical junction for the events of the entire nation. Indeed, thanks to its role and its favorable position, it acted as a bridge between the north and south of Italy.
In particular Marsi, Vestini, Peligni, Marrucini, Frentani, Piceni, Equi and Pretuzi settled in Abruzzo from the II millennium b.c. All these populations clashed against the expansion of the roman empire. With the Roman conquest completed within the first century b.c., the first important centers like Alba Fucens and Amiternum, started to flourish.
After the fall of the Roman Empire the region passed under the dominion of the Longobards and the Normans (VIII – X century). At that moment the actual territory merged into the Duchies of Spoleto and Benevento, while large areas fell under the control of the great abbeys that developed in the ninth century.
However the first legal mention of the region is in 1233 with the creation of the “giustizierato” of Abruzzo wanted by Frederick II of Swabia. The “giustizierato” was subdivided, in 1273 into two territories: Abruzzo “ulteriore” and Abruzzo “citeriore”. The first one corresponds to the actual the Provinces of L’Aquila and Teramo. The second one included the remaining part of the region corresponding to the Province of Chieti.
The sunset of the Swabian dynasty came the defeat of Corradino di Svevia, nephew of Frederick II, in the Battle of Tagliacozzo the 23th of August 1268. Dante Alighieri mentioned in his Divine Comedy this battle and the succession of the Angioina and Aragonese dynasties. In 1302, following the Peace of Caltabellotta, the Kingdom of Sicily was formally divided into two parts.
The continental one, with Naples as capital, became the Kingdom of Sicily citeriore. It was commonly called the Kingdom of Naples. The insular part with Palermo as capital became the Kingdom of Trinacria. In the following centuries the Kingdom of Naples knew the invasion of Spanish (until 1707) and then of Austrian (until 1734). In 1738 it recovered its independence thanks to the reclaim of the kingdom by Carlo di Barbone.
In 1816 the two Kingdoms of Naples and Sicily merged again in what will be called the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. This state lasted until the annexation to the Kingdom of Italy in 1860-1861. The legacy of these events, that ended with the siege of Civitella del Tronto. In this beautiful town it is still visible the mighty fortress which hosted the scene of the last battle of the Savoy army against the troops of the Two Sicilies.
It experienced a weakening of the economy and social life plus the birth of phenomena such as brigandage. However the annexation to Italy slowly led to territorial integration, thanks to the railways, and to some social improvement. Nevertheless, from the end of the nineteenth century to the second half of the twentieth century, Abruzzo, except for a few breaks, saw its population declined due to emigration. People started to live the region to internal and foreign destinations like northern IItaly and Europe, North and South America. Since the seventies of the twentieth century the trend seems reversed. Today the rediscovery of natural and artistic beauties and the food and wine variety that the region can offer have become the engine of a new rebirth.
While origin of Touta Marouca, called Teate first and then Chieti, is lost in the mists of time, Pacentro, Marruvium and Corfinium were pre-Roman centers. Atri, Alba Fucens and Amiternum flourished under the The Roman Empire. Sulmona and L’Aquila met the moment of greatest splendor in the Middle Ages. Only Pescara and Avezzano developed in an increasingly important way from the end of the nineteenth century.