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Abruzzo - Population and Economy

Abruzzo is one of the least populated regions of Italy, with a density much lower than the national average: this is due to the difficult environmental conditions and to emigration, which until the early seventies, reached very high peaks.

The distribution of the population within the region is characterized by sharp imbalances: the coastal and hilly zones (especially in the Provinces of Pescara and Chieti) contrast with the mountainous areas (Province of L'Aquila) still subject to progressive abandonment as a result of low incomes derived from agri-pastoral activities.

The Abruzzo dialect is not particularly marked, being influenced by forms of the dialect spoken in Umbria and Puglia: it belongs to the southern Italian dialects. There is, however, an Albanian linguistic area at Penne, in the Province of Pescara.

The general economic profile of the region is still modest: however, in past decades, production has been growing more dynamic, supported also by the development of communications.

Industrial growth has been substantial, though restricted to a few zones (especially the Pescara River valley); agriculture also is gradually tending towards rational productive techniques, but only in the most favourable areas, such as the Fucino and Sulmona valleys.

The land is still divided into small properties, but the formation of cooperatives is increasingly frequent.

There is a remarkable variety of crops, particularly as regards horticultural products, mostly absorbed by the important Roman market.

Foremost nationally are the cultivations of carrots, potatoes, spinach, peppers, tomatoes, figs and plums. Olive growing and the production of table grapes are also important.

Traditional sheep rearing linked to the characteristic transhumance (in summer, flocks stay on the mountain pastures, in winter, they are transferred to the Agro Romano and to Tavoliere delle Puglie) is diminishing and is destined to become a more settled activity; on the other hand the numbers of cattle are increasing.

Fishing (molluscs) is another activity. Considering the large am ount of wooded territory, relatively little use is made of timber, due to a shortage of tall trees.

Underground resources are limited to deposits of bauxite (Mount Velino) and natural gas (Castelnuovo Vomano, Vasto).

The industries are engineering (Sulmona, Vasto and Chieti), electrotechnicals (L'Aquila), chemicals (Pescara), paper (Avezzano), textiles and clothing (Teramo, Pescara and Lanciano), building materials (Pescara and Teramo), glass (S. Salvo), tanning (Giulianova) and foodstuffs (Avezzano, Chieti and Pescara).

As regards the services sector, the commerce of floricultural products of which, in Pescara, there is a market of international importance is particularly significant. Tourism, both in summer and winter, is continually expanding.

To the communications network in recent years, the Roma-L'Aquila-Gran Sasso and Roma-Avezzano-Pescara tracts of motorway have been added, allowing a rapid connection between the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic coasts, to the Adriatic coastal motorway. There is little traffic at Pescara airport.

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