Copyright The Columbia University PressThe Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. The Columbia University Press
Abruzzi (äbrōōt´tsē), region (1991 pop. 1,249,054), 4,167 sq mi (10,793 sq km), central Italy, bordering on the Adriatic Sea in the east. L'Aquila is the capital of the region, which is divided into Chieti, L'Aquila, Pescara, and Teramo provs. (named for their capitals). Abruzzi is mostly mountainous and is crossed by three ranges of the Apennines, which reach their highest point (9,560 ft/2,914 m) there in the Gran Sasso d'Italia group. There is a narrow coastal strip along the Adriatic. The chief rivers are the Pescara, the Sangro, and the Tronto. Abruzzi was once a very poor region but now boasts a steadily growing per capita income. Agriculture is an important industry. By utilizing available technology, small farms have become more efficient. The main crops are grapes, olives, wheat, sugar beets, saffron, and tobacco; pigs and sheep are raised. The chief manufactures are processed food, textiles, clothing, and plastics. Tourism is important. Abruzzi was conquered by the Romans in the 4th cent. BC Later, it was part of the Lombard duchy of Spoleto (6th–11th cent. AD), the Norman kingdom of Sicily (12th–13th cent.), and the kingdom of Naples (13th–19th cent.). From 1948 to 1965 it was included in the region of Abruzzi e Molise. There are universities at Chieti and L'Aquila.
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