Avezzano is the second largest city in the province of L’Aquila in the Abruzzo region. It is not the most beautiful city in the region, partly because of the many earthquakes that plague the area and partly because of bombings in World War II. Currently, the city has about 40 thousand inhabitants. It is an important agricultural center and trade and industry are also well developed.
Avezzano travel guide
Region: Abruzzo. Province: L’Aquila. The address of the tourist office of Avezzano is not known. The zip code is 67051 and the area code is 0863. Tourist tax: There is no tourist tax in the city.
By car/public transportation
By car: Avezzano is situated along both the A25 (Rome-Pescara) and the A24 (Roma – L’Aquila – Teramo) freeways.
A brief history of Avezzano
Avezzano is located on a plain between the mountains. There used to be a lake here, but it was drained by Prince Torlonia in the 19th century. This was achieved by diverting the water under the mountain to the river Liri. The first person who had attempted to drain this lake was Emperor Claudius, who had a number of underground passages created for this purpose.
Around the 10th century, a number of settlements formed the first nucleus of today’s Avezzano. The oldest document in which the name appears dates back to 1343. The first in which it is mentioned as an independent town dates back to 1360.
In the 15th century Avezzano was subordinate to the Duke of Tagliacozzo, although the town did enjoy some degree of economic and political autonomy.
In the 15th and 16th centuries Avezzano was successively subject to the Spanish, the Austrians and the Bourbon, who ruled over the Kingdom of Naples.
In 1561 Marcantonio Colonna took over the castle from the Orsini family and had it converted into a palace. He also donated a piece of land to the city itself.
After the unification of Italy, a boom period began for Avezzano, especially after Prince Torlonia became an official resident
In 1915, nearly all of the 12 thousand inhabitants were killed when an earthquake destroyed the entire city. A monument created by the artist Pasquale di Fabio on the mountains still recalls this tragedy.
Avezzano is still fairly unique in that almost all of the town’s inhabitants are originally from another region.
The reconstruction took into account the possibility of new earthquakes, by running the streets parallel to each other and building the houses no higher than two stories. The architectural style of the main new buildings is art-nouveau.
Many of Avezzano’s tourist attractions look newer than they should, since the town has often been damaged by earthquakes (and during World War II by bombings). It biggest attraction is the Castello Orsini, built around the end of the 15th century. Other attractions include the central square Piazza Torlonia, with the Palazzo Torlonia. In the Museo Lapidario Marsicano one can admire, among other things, inscriptions and fragments of statues, found during excavations in Fucino and Alba Fucens. At the foot of Monte Salviano some Roman arches giving access to the corridors dug by Emperor Claudius have survived. The most important church is the San Bartolomeo Cathedral. The Madonna di Pietraquaria Church is located in the suburb of that name.
The entrance to the Riserva Naturale di Monte Salviano is located but a short walk outside the town.
Several theories exist about the origin of the name of the city. The first one holds that Avezzana was named after a temple dedicated to the God Janus. This temple used to be located on the outskirts of the city and was greeted with the Latin words Ave Jane, which was then corrupted to Avezzano. According to others, the name derives from the wealthy Avidius family living in Alba Fucens, of which Avezzano used to be a suburb. The area was supposed to have been called Avidianum (the area of Avidius).