You probably noticed that we always call our region Abruzzo, and wondered why you have always known it as Abruzzi. There is a reason behind this difference, that dates back several years ago.
From the origin and meaning of the name Abruzzo, it is possible to understand its history and geographical evolution over time.
At the beginning – in the Middle Ages – it was called Abruzzo, probably from the Latin word Aprutium, which appears for the first time in the letters of San Gregorio to mention the territory of the city of Teramo and its surroundings.
Later, the region was divided into three areas, Abruzzo Citeriore (nearer Abruzzo), Abruzzo Ulteriore I and Abruzzo Ulteriore II (farther Abruzzo I and II). So if you learned a little bit of Italian, you know that the plural of a word ending in an “o” ends in “i” – thus Abruzzi referred to all three of these areas. At this time it was part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
When Italy was unified in 1860, these three areas were merged to Molise, and the region became known as Abruzzi e Molise until 1963, when the government split Abruzzo and Molise into two separate regions.
So which is it?
The correct name is Abruzzo, even if the term Abruzzi is still used, especially abroad and in our dialect. Many Americans – and foreigners of any country – often call it Abruzzi because when their ancestors left Italy, the region was still named this way. We also have a town called Roseto degli Abruzzi, that recalls our past.
These continuous changes are also the reason behind our many historical and cultural traditions, that makes Abruzzo vital and unique.
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