History of Abruzzo – The historic Roman age

abruzzo_historyRight from the era of the first Kings, the “peoples” of Abruzzo did not enjoy a pacific relationship with Rome. Tarquinius Priscus clashed with the Aequi and the expansionist intentions of his successors were tenaciously curbed by the federal alliances drawn up by the Italic peoples. In all attempt to set up a unitary’ state along the Adriatic coast, the Samnites were particularly indomitable adversaries of the Romans, the former inflicting heavy defeats on the latter, including the humiliation of the “Caudine Forks”.

After alternating outcomes, the Italics were finally subdued at the end of the social war (91-88 B.D.), but not without first being promised Roman citizenship. With pacification and the division of Italy into regions, at the wishes of Augustus, Abruzzo and Molise became the Iv region of Rome and given the name “Sabina et Samnium”.

The Roman presence soon made itself felt. Road networks were improved and new settlements built, whilst existing towns were provided with spas, amphitheatres, theatres, temples and other important public works.
The partial draining of the lake Fucino took on a great importance with the construction of an artificial outlet which, initiated in 41 A.D. by the Emperor Claudius, was inaugurated in 52 A.D. and functioned until the 6th century. The remains of the drainage works can be seen today in the archaeological area of Incile near Avezzano.

Among the numerous testimonies to the Roman era one must not forget the theatre and amphitheatre in Arniternuni near L’Aquila; the remains of the town of Alba Fucens (where digging work has not yet been completed), near Avezzano; the center of Juvanum in Montenerodomo (Ch),with temple buildings, theatre and forum; the Sanctuary of Ercole Curino in Sulmona; Peltuinum at Prata d’Ansidonia (Aq) and Corfinium, the present-day Corfinio (Aq), built on the via Valeria and capital of the Italic League, with the name of Italy, at the time of the social war. Further important remains of the Roman era have also been found at Teramo, Atri and Chieti.