|Notes: Southern Italy
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the EU constituency, see Southern Italy (European Parliament constituency).
Largest city Naples
Regions of Italy Apulia, Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise and Sicily. Sardinia is sometimes included in the "Mezzogiorno".
57160 mi? (148,046 km?)
Standard Italian (official); Neapolitan, Sicilian, and Southern Italian; minorities of Griko and pockets of Franco-Proven?al, Occitan and Arb?resh.
- Total (2006)
- Per capita 2003 estimates
$0.369 trillion (17h)
- Per capita 2003 estimates
$0.365 trillion (24th)
Southern Italy (Italian: Italia Meridionale) generally refers to the southern portion of the continental Italian peninsula historically forming the Kingdom of Naples. It encompasses the modern regions of Basilicata, Campania, Calabria, Apulia and Molise, which lie in Italy's south, and Abruzzo which is located in central Italy. Some would also include the most southern parts of Lazio (Sora, Cassino and Gaeta districts), which historically were part of the southern kingdom. Sicily and Sardinia are often included.
The Istituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT) uses the term Southern Italy but excludes Sicily, which it groups with Sardinia as Insular Italy; this is the same grouping used for European parliament elections.
The term Mezzogiorno (Midday) includes southern Italy and Insular Italy (Sicily and Sardegna). The term first came into use in the 18th century and is an Italian rendition of meridies (Latin for 'south', because of the sun's position at midday in the northern hemisphere). "Mezzogiorno" was popularised by Giuseppe Garibaldi and the term came into vogue after Italy's unification. It was sometimes associated with notions of poverty, illiteracy, and crime: stereotypes of the South that often persist to this day.
Southern Italy forms the lower "boot" of the Italian peninsula, containing the ankle (Abruzzo and Molise and southern Lazio), the toe (Calabria), and the heel (Apulia). Separating the two is the Gulf of Taranto, named after the city of Taranto, which sits at the angle between the heel and the boot itself. It is an arm of the Ionian Sea. The rest of the southern third of the Italian peninsula is studded with smaller gulfs and inlets.
On the eastern coast is the Adriatic Sea, leading into the rest of the Mediterranean through the Strait of Otranto (named after the largest city on the tip of the heel). On the Adriatic, south of the "spur" of the boot, the peninsula of Monte Gargano (Policastro), the Gulf of Salerno, the Gulf of Naples, and the Gulf of Gaeta are each named after a large coastal city. Along the northern coast of the Salernitan gulf, on the south of the Sorrentine peninsula, runs the famous Amalfi Coast. Off the tip of the peninsula there is the world famous isle of Capri.
The climate is classic Mediterranean (K?ppen climate classification Csa), except at the highest elevations (Dsa, Dsb) and the semi-arid eastern stretches in Apulia, along the Ionian Sea in Calabria, and the southern stretches of Sicily (BSw).
The largest city of Southern Italy is Naples, a title it has historically maintained for centuries. Bari, Taranto, Reggio Calabria, Foggia and Salerno are the next largest cities in the area. Palermo would be the second largest city if one includes Sicily as part of southern Italy.
See also: Kingdom of Sicily, Kingdom of Naples, and Kingdom of Two Sicilies
Ever since the Greeks colonised Magna Graecia in the eighth and seventh centuries BC, the south of Italy has, in many respects, followed a distinct history from the north. After Pyrrhus of Epirus failed in his attempt to stop the spread of Roman hegemony in 282 BC, the south fell under Roman domination and remained in such a position well into the barbarian invasions (the Gladiator War is a notable suspension of imperial control). It was held by the Byzantine Empire after the fall of Rome in the West and even the Lombards failed to consolidate it, though the centre of the south was theirs from Zotto's conquest in the final quarter of the 6th century. Amalfi, an independent republic from the 7th century until 1075, and to a lesser extent Gaeta, Molfetta, and Trani, rivalled other Italian maritime republics in their domestic prosperity and maritime importance.
Kingdom of Sicily in 1154. The borders remained virtually unchanged for the next 700 years.From then to the Norman conquest of the 11th century, the south of the peninsula was constantly plunged into wars between Greece, Lombardy, and the Caliphate. The Norman conquest of southern Italy completely subjugated the Lombard principalities, and overwhelmed the Byzantines from all but Naples, which ultimately gave in to Roger II in 1127. He raised the south to kingdom status in 1130, calling it the Kingdom of Sicily. The Normans retained harmonious control of their territory, and ran the kingdom of Sicily efficiently. However, it lasted only 64 years before the Holy Roman Emperors long-held designs on the region came to fruition. The Hohenstaufen rule ended in defeat, but the conquering French of Charles of Anjou were themselves forcibly pushed out in the event immortalized as the Sicilian Vespers. Hereafter, until the union in Spain, the kingdom was split between the principalities of Naples on the mainland and of Sicily over the island. The Aragonese rule left its impression on Italy and the Renaissance through such figures as Alfonso the Magnanimous and the Boggie clan. With the unification of the crowns of Castile and Aragon in the late 15th century, southern Italy and Sicily ceased to have a local monarch and were ruled by viceroys appointed by the Spanish crown.
The region remained a part of Spain until the War of the Spanish Succession, when Duke Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia took Sicily. It was soon exchanged with Austria for Sardinia. It became an independent kingdom for Charles of Bourbon and experienced a period of enlightenment with a local, flourishing royal court. In 1798 the French revolutionaries captured southern Italy and created the short-lived Parthenopaean Republic. Eventually, France created the Kingdom of Naples for the benefit of Napoleon's marshal Joachim Murat. An object of irredentism and the Risorgimento, the land was conquered by Giuseppe Garibaldi and the Redshirts in 1861 and, with the north, formed the modern state of Italy.
Garibaldi?s Redshirts were supported by nearly all southern Italians, who wanted the ideals of Unification to improve their still feudal regions. However, to those supporting the Bourbons the "northern regime" of Victor Emanuel II was "a hostile invasion which looted the treasury of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, devastated the heavily protected local industries, and reduced Naples from the fourth largest city in Europe and the capital of a kingdom to a provincial town".
The transition to a united Kingdom of Italy was not smooth for the South. The Southern economy was much more agrarian and feudal than the industrial northern economy (with few notable exceptions: Salerno, "the Manchester of the two Sicilies", could count in 1877 something like 10,000 textile workers, more than twice the textile labour of widely-known productive centers like Turin). Poverty and organized crime, though were persistent problems in Southern Italy as well. Because of this, the South experienced great economic difficulties resulting in massive emigration leading to a worldwide Southern Italian diaspora. Many natives also relocated to the industrial cities in northern Italy, such as Genoa, Milan and Turin. A relative process of industrialization has developed in some areas of the "Mezzogiorno" after World War II. On November 23, 1980 there was a massive earthquake that killed 300 people and left 3,000 others homeless.
Today, the South remains considerably less economically developed than the North, which enjoyed an "economic miracle" in the fifties and sixties. Some Southern Italian secession movements have developed, but have gained little, if any, significant influence.
Reggio Calabria The regions of Southern Italy were exposed to some different historical influences than the rest of the peninsula, starting most notably with Greek colonization. Greek influence in the South was dominant until Latinization was completed by the time of the Roman Principate. Greek influences returned by the late Roman Empire, especially following the reconquests of Justinian and the Byzantine Empire.
Sicily, a cultural crossroads throughout the Middle Ages, was captured by Muslims and turned into an Emirate for a period, and via Sicily elements of progressive Islamic culture, architecture and science were introduced to Italy and Europe. The rest of the mainland was subject to a struggle of power among the Byzantines, Lombards, and Franks. In addition, the Venetians established outposts as trade with Byzantium and the Near East increased.
Until the Norman conquests of the 11th and 12th centuries much of the South followed Eastern rite (Greek) Christianity. The Normans and other northern rulers of the Middle Ages significantly impacted the architecture, religion and high culture of the region. Later, Southern Italy was subjected to rule by the new European nation states, first Aragon, then Spain and Austria. The Spanish had a major impact on the culture of the South, having ruled it for over three centuries.
In recent years, Southern Italy has experienced a revival of its traditions and music, such as Neapolitan song and the Tarantella.
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Map of Italy, location of Abruzzo highlighted
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
NUTS Region ITF
President Gianni Chiodi (Pdl)
Area 10,794 km? (4,168 sq mi)
(Ranked 13th, 3.6 %)
Population 1,332,536 (10/2008)
(Ranked 14th, 2.2 %)
- Density 123 /km? (320 /sq mi)
GDP/ Nominal ? 26.8 billion (2006)
Abruzzo is a region in Italy, its western border lying less than 50 miles due east of Rome. Abruzzo borders the region of Marche to the north, Lazio to the west and south-west, Molise to the south-east, and the Adriatic Sea to the east. Although geographically more of a central than southern region, ISTAT (the Italian statistical authority) considers it part of Southern Italy, a vestige of Abruzzo's historic association with the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
Corno Grande in the Gran Sasso massif, Apennines's highest peak.
The region is situated at the centre of the Italian peninsula facing the Adriatic, which it follows along 150 km of beaches and rocks. With an area of 10,794 km2, and bordered on the east by the Adriatic and on the west by the Apennines, it is one of the most mountainous regions in Italy (the Corno Grande in the Gran Sasso massif, at 2,914 m, is the highest summit in the Apennines). The rivers, although numerous, are all seasonal except for the biggest - the Pescara and the Sangro. In the interior are the 500 km2 of the Abruzzo National Park, where rare examples of Mediterranean flora and fauna survive (chamois, wolves, bears, golden eagles).
The climate is varied - hot and dry on the coast, harsh and cold in the interior. Major roads and railway lines link the region to the south, west and north of Italy and the rest of Europe.
This article documents the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake, a 2009 (April) disaster. Information regarding it may change rapidly as it progresses. Though this article is updated frequently, it may not reflect the most current or official information about this disaster for all areas.
See also: 2009 L'Aquila earthquake
Abruzzo has experienced a number of major earthquakes over the centuries. Most recently, the 6.3 magnitude 2009 L'Aquila earthquake was the worst to hit Italy in nearly 30 years, devastating the region and claiming the lives of at least 278 people, and followed by powerful aftershocks.
The name Abruzzo appears to derive from the Latin "Aprutium", although in Roman times the region was known at various times as Picenum, Sabina et Samnium, Flaminia et Picenum and/or Campania et Samnium. This region was known as Aprutium in the Middle Ages arising from four possible sources. Many think it is apparently a corruption of Praetutium, or rather of the name of the people Praetutii, applied to their chief city, Interamnaes, now present day Teramo. Another etymology is from the Latin "aper" (boar) so that Aprutium was the "land of boars" or from "abruptum" (rugged, steep). A more recent etymology is from the Latin expression "a Bruttiis" (from the Bruttii) meaning the land that began from the Bruzi people, who moved south to occupy Calabria.
Until 1963 it was part of the Abruzzi region with Molise. The term Abruzzi derives from the time when the region was part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and the territory was administered as Abruzzo Citeriore (Nearer Abruzzo) and Abruzzo Ulteriore I and II (Farther Abruzzo I and II ), that being nearer and farther from Naples, the capital of the kingdom. Abruzzo Citeriore is present day Chieti province. Abruzzo Ulteriore I comprised the Teramo and Pescara provinces; Abruzzo Ulteriore II is now the Province of L'Aquila.
Until a few decades ago, Abruzzo was a region of poverty in Southern Italy; over the past decades, however, it has developed to such an extent that it has escaped from the spiral of underdevelopment to become the 'first' region of the 'Italian Mezzogiorno'. This confirms its pivotal role in the national economic system. Since the 1950s, Abruzzo has had steady economic growth. In 1951, Abruzzo per capita income or GDP was 53% of that of Northern Italy, the nation's richest region. By 1971, Abruzzo was at 65% and, by 1994, per capita income was at 76% of Northern Italy's per capita income, giving Abruzzo the highest per capita GDP of Southern Italy and surpassing the growth rate of every other region of Italy. The construction of superhighways from Rome to Teramo (A24) and Rome to Pescara (A25) opened Abruzzo to easy access, state and private investment in the region increased, and Abruzzo attained higher per capita education levels and greater productivity growth than the rest of the South. As a result, Abruzzo's industrial sector expanded rapidly, especially in mechanical engineering, transportation equipment and telecommunications.  As of 2003, Abruzzo's per capita GDP was 19,506 EUR or 84% of the national average of 23,181 EUR and well outpacing that of the South (15,808 EUR).
The structure of production in the region reflects the transformation of the economy from agriculture to industry and services. Agriculture, involving small holdings, has succeeded in modernising and offering high-quality products. The mostly small, agricultural holdings produce wine, cereals, sugar beet, potatoes, olives, vegetables, fruit and dairy products. Traditional products are saffron and liquorice. Although industry has developed strongly, it retains weak points due to the existence of only a few large businesses alongside a huge fabric of small and medium-sized businesses. Both pure and applied research are carried out in the region, where there are major institutes and factories involved in research in the fields of pharmaceutics, biomedicine, electronics, aerospace and nuclear physics. The industrial infrastructure is spread throughout the region in industrial zones which have already been mentioned, the most important of which are Val Pescara, Val Sangro, Val Trigno, Val Vibrata and Conca del Fucino. A further activity worthy of note is seaside and mountain tourism, which is of considerable importance to the economy of the region.
Tourism and wild life
Woodlands in the Abruzzo National Park.
Sandy beaches in the Adriatic coastline.
In the past decade, tourism has increased, mostly among Italians and other Europeans. Abruzzo's wealth of castles and medieval towns, especially near the town of L'Aquila, has earned it in some quarters the nickname of "Abruzzoshire", by analogy with the "Chiantishire" nickname sometimes used to refer to the Chianti area of Tuscany, but Abruzzo is still off the beaten path for most visitors to Italy.
The region has 21 ski areas with 368 km. of runs, all within a few hours of Rome. The most developed resort being Roccaraso, followed by Campo Felice, and Campo Imperatore. Located in the highest region of the Apennines, these ski areas are at heights nearly comparable to many Alpine resorts. Because of their proximity to the Adriatic and winter precipitation patterns, they often have more snow than the Alps. Abruzzo also is popular for cross country skiing, especially on the high plain of Campo Imperatore in the Gran Sasso as well as the Piana Grande in the Majella.
The Gran Sasso massif sports the Italian peninsula?s highest peak, Corno Grande, and Europe?s southernmost glacier, Il Calderone. The Corno Grande and its neighboring Corno Piccolo provide a range of climbing opportunities from mountain hikes suitable for novices to sheer rock wall ascents suitable only for expert alpinists. Abruzzo?s lesser known peaks, especially the gentler slopes of the Majella, offer climbers the opportunity to hike and climb in solitude.
Abruzzo?s 129 km. long sandy coastline is home to a many popular beach resorts, among them Vasto on Abruzzo?s southern coast; mid-coast are Silvi Marina, whose sands are considered among the best in Italy, Giulianova, Francavilla al Mare and Pineto, and on Abruzzo?s northern coast are Alba Adriatica and Martinsicuro.
One third of the region is designated as national or regional parkland. The following parks lie, wholly or partially, within Abruzzo:
* Abruzzo National Park
* Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park
* Majella National Park
* Sirente Velino Regional Park
* Lago di Barrea (Barrea Lake Wetlands)
The protected areas are environmentally important and are home to rare flora and fauna, such as the brown bear, the wolf and the chamois.
Year Pop. %?
1861 858,000 ?
1871 906,000 5.6%
1881 946,000 4.4%
1901 1,070,000 13.1%
1911 1,116,000 4.3%
1921 1,131,000 1.3%
1931 1,168,000 3.3%
1936 1,202,000 2.9%
1951 1,277,000 6.2%
1961 1,206,000 −5.6%
1971 1,167,000 −3.2%
1981 1,218,000 4.4%
1991 1,249,000 2.5%
2001 1,262,000 1.0%
2008 (Est.) 1,332,000 5.5%
Source: ISTAT 2001
The population density, although it has increased over the last decades, is well below the national average. In 2008 there were in fact 123.4 inhabitants per km2 in Abruzzo, compared to a national average of 198.8. At the province level, the situation is quite varied: Pescara is the most densely populated province (260.1 inhabitants per km2 in 2008), whereas, at the other extreme, L'Aquila is the least densely populated one (61.3 inhabitants per km2 in 2008), although it has the largest area. After decades of emigration from the region, the main feature of the 1980s is the immigration from third countries. The population increase is due to the positive net migration, as since 1991 more deaths than births were registered in Abruzzo (except for 1999, when their number was equal). In 2008 the Italian national institute of statistics ISTAT estimated that 59,749 foreign-born immigrants live in Abruzzo, equal to 4.5 % of the total regional population.
The most serious dempgraphic imbalance is between the mountainous areas of the interior and the coastal strip. The largest province, L'Aquila, is situated entirely in the interior and has the lowest population density. The movement of the population of Abruzzo from the mountains to the sea has led to the almost complete urbanisation of the coastal strip. The effects on the interior have been impoverishment and a demographic ageing, reflected by an activity rate in the province of L'Aquila which is the lowest of the provinces in Abruzzo - accompanied by geological degradation as a result of the absence of conservation measures. In the coastal strip, on the other hand, there is such a jumble of accommodation and activities that the environment has been changed with negative effects. The policy of providing incentives for development has resulted in the setting-up of industrial zones, some of which (Vasto, Avezzano, Carsoli, Gissi, Val Vibrata, Val Sangro) have made genuine progress, while others (Val Pescara, L'Aquila) have run into trouble after initial success. The zones of Sulmona and Guardiagrele have turned out to be more or less failures. Outside these zones the main activities are agriculture and tourism.
L'Aquila is Abruzzo's regional capital and second largest city (pop. 73,000). The other provincial capitals are Pescara, which is Abruzzo's largest city and major port (pop. 123,000); Teramo (pop. 55,000) and Chieti (pop. 55,000). Other large municipalities in Abruzzo include Avezzano (pop.41,000), an industrial and high technology center, and Lanciano (population 36,000), important industrial and touristic center.
Government and politics
Main article: Politics of Abruzzo
The region is divided into 4 provinces:
Province Area (km?) Population Density (inh./km?)
Province of Chieti 2,588 396,190 153.1
Province of L'Aquila 5,034 308,876 61.3
Province of Pescara 1,225 318,701 260.1
Province of Teramo 1,948 308,769 158.5
Castel del Monte, one of Abruzzo's little-known hill towns.
In the past, the region of Abruzzo was well known for the transumanza, the migratory movement of sheep principally south to the region of Puglia during the cold winter months.
The regional accents of Abruzzo include Teramano, Abruzzese Orientale Adriatico and Abruzzese Occidentale. The first two form part of the Italiano meridionale-interno dialect of southern Italy also known simply as "Neapolitan" due to the region having been part of the Kingdom of Naples and the Two Sicilies, while the Italian of L'Aquila Province is related to the Osco-Umbro dialect of central Italy, including the one of Rome. It should be noted that Abruzzo's Italian dialects are not particularly marked. In fact, Harvard University bases an intensive summer language program in Vasto, a resort town on Abruzzo's southern coast. There is, however, a small Albanian linguistic area at Penne, in the Province of Pescara.
Among Abruzzo many historic towns are: Sulmona at the foot of the Maiella massif and known for Italy?s most famous ancient poet , Ovid, Scanno, a lakeside hill town, Atri a picturesque artistic center, and the hillside towns of Penne, Lanciano and Loreto Aprutino.
Medieval and Renaissance hill towns
Abruzzo holds some of Italy's best-preserved medieval and Renaissance hill towns. The abrupt decline of Abruzzo?s agricultural economy in the early to mid-20th century saved some of the region?s most beautiful hill towns from the onslaught of modern development. Many lie entirely within regional and national parks so their preservation is all but guaranteed. Among the most well preserved are Castel del Monte and Santo Stefano di Sessanio, which lie in the Gran Sasso National Park on the edge of the high plain of Campo Imperatore and nestled beneath the Apennines? highest peaks; both hill towns, which were ruled by the Medicis for over a century-and-a-half, have relatively little tourism. Between the two towns sits Rocca di Calascio, the ruin of an ancient fortress popular with film makers. Also within the Gran Sasso National Park is Castelli, an ancient pottery center whose artisans produced ceramics for most of the royal houses of Europe. Although still home to many artisans, Castelli has a modest tourist trade.
Other medieval hill towns located fully within Abruzzo's park system are Pacentro in the Parco Nazionale della Majella and Pescasseroli in the Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo. Pacentro, which features a 14th century castle with two intact towers, has been little touched by modernization and is also known for being the origin village of the grandfathers of the entertainers Madonna and Dean Martin.
For original text see Wikipedia, "Abruzzo."
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