How Abruzzo Got Its Name

Veduta del lago di Celano nell' Apruzzo - Alessandro d'Anna, 1795

Veduta del lago di Celano nell’ Apruzzo – Alessandro d’Anna, 1795

Have you ever wondered how Abruzzo got its name?  Here is the simple explanation Pete Austin found from the author Anne MacDonell taken from her book, ‘In the Abruzzi’,

“…but one small kindred tribe, which history hardly mentions at all, the Pretutii, that fixed itself near where Teramo is today, was destined, for some never-explained reason, to give its name to all this mountainous region. Abruzzo is still in the peasant’s tongue Apruzzo. Its old name, Aprutium means the country of the Pretutii.”

Abruzzo's Italic Tribes

Pittori d'Abruzzo: Norberto Sagaria (Teramo 1886 - 1911)

Pittori d’Abruzzo: Norberto Sagaria (Teramo 1886 – 1911)


Over history, perhaps their most memorable claim to fame of the Pretutii was the healing power of their wine which cured Hanibal’s horses of scabies as he passed through and was recorded by Pliny the Younger.  Praetut itself would have been born in the 11th century BC as an emporium located between three streets.  One that came from the Adriatic Sea, the one that came from Ascoli (which connected it to the Piceni), passing through Campovalano, and finally the one that came from the Capannelle (a pass in the upper Val Vomano) which connected it to the Sabina.

In 289 BC Pretut was conquered by the Romans who changed its name to Interamnia Praetutiorum (city between the rivers – of the pretuzi). Later its name would be simplified to Praetutium (to distinguish it from other places that had the name Interamnia).  In the Middle Ages the city of the Pretuzi which had had the name of Praetut and then the Roman name of Interamnia Praetutiorum, was known as Aprutium.  This name which modern-day Abruzzo derives from indicated both the ancient city and its diocese, and later the name ‘Aprutium’ was extended to indicate the entire region south of the Tronto river, while the ancient city at the end of the thirteenth century took the name of  Teramo, derived from its Latin name.




Sam Dunham
Author: Sam Dunham

Sam is a very lucky midlife 'mamma' to A who is 11 and juggles her work as a self-employed freelance travel and food web content manager and copywriter and EFL teacher - she is the founder of English in the Woods. She is the co-founder of the social enterprises: The Abruzzo Blogger Community and Let's Blog Abruzzo. She is currently writing the book 'Abruzzo: Folk and Food.

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