Our quick round-up of this week’s news from Abruzzo in English:
This week, Abruzzo became a yellow zone, but it looks like the region is about to be classified as a higher risk orange zone with further restrictions as the numbers of Covid patient occupancy in the hospitals is increasing daily. As of today, the occupancy rate of intensive care beds in Abruzzo is 20%, (the orange zone threshold) and 26% in general wards (the threshold for orange zone is 30%). You can read more about the colour-coded zone classification and restrictions here.
Abruzzo’s economy has been declining for the last 20 years. These are the findings of Aldo Ronci, a well-respected economist from Sulmona, whose latest reports have been published in the media. From 2000 to 2020 the regional economy has shrunk by 9,6%, three times of the average national level for the same period (2,6%). The European Union funding guaranteed a rapid economic growth in the 1970s-1990s but the region has not managed to move from an assisted economy to a market economy, concludes Ronci. Abruzzo’s construction, industry and agriculture sectors show the lowest gross value added. Combined with the steady population decline (we wrote about it here ) the reports paint a grim picture for the region.
Devastating Earthquake anniversary
107 years ago, on January 13, 1915, one of the biggest earthquakes in the Italian history shook the Marsica area in the Province of L’Aquila killing 30,000 people. The tragedy is still deeply felt in Abruzzo and every year memorial services are held on that day in many towns and villages that were affected. Read the survivors’ accounts and see historical photos of the devastation in our post about the Avezzano earthquake.
Juan Carrito hibernates
Local media report that the naughty young Marsican bear Juan Carrito seems to be finally hibernating somewhere in the snowy mountains of the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo. The whole region enjoyed following the news about the two-year old bear’s mischiefs in the villages of Roccaraso and Villalago where he drank from street fountains, plundered chicken coops and a bakery (read our article about his fresh biscuits feast). Juan Carrito was transferred by the park rangers to an isolated area, away from people, but returned shortly after to the familiar territory where he grew up. The noise of New Year’s fireworks might have scared the bear and forced him to flee for the mountains where he found a cosy den to hibernate until warmer weather arrives. The bear is equipped with a radio collar which allows to monitor his movements.
Palazzo Ducale in Tagliacozzo to be restored
The long-awaited restoration of the Palazzo Ducale in Tagliacozzo is to begin shortly. The project worth over two million euros has been approved and the newly elected town council is making the restoration one of their priorities. Access to the main part of the Palazzo Ducale has been closed to the public for almost 40 years. The 14th century palace used to be home to the powerful Orsini and Colonna families and its frescoes are considered among the most important examples of Renaissance art in Abruzzo. Bringing this splendid building back to its former glory will be an important resource for Tagliacozzo, a popular tourist destination, as well as for the region. Some of the frescoes attributed to Benozzo Gozzoli, a pupil of the famous Fra Angelico, are displayed in the museum of the Castello di Celano at the moment but will be returned to Taglacozzo once the restoration is completed.
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