Abruzzo is a region in central Italy, its western border lying less than east of Rome. The region, divided into the provinces of L'Aquila, Teramo, Pescara and the Chieti, borders the region of Marche to the north, Lazio to the west and south-west, Molise to the south-east, and the Adriatic Sea to the east. The region is split into a mountainous area on his western side with the Gran Sasso D'italia, and coastal area on his eastern side with the beaches of the Adriatic sea. Geographically, it is more of a central than southern region, though ISTAT (the Italian statistical authority) considers it part of Southern Italy, a vestige of Abruzzo's historic association with the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
Abruzzo boasts the title of Greenest Region in Europe thanks to one third of its territory, the largest in Europe, being set aside as National Parks and protected Nature Reserves. In the region there are indeed three National Parks, one Regional Park and 38 protected Nature Reserves. These ensure the survival of 75% of all Europe's living species and are also home to some rare species, such as the small wading dotterel, golden eagle, Abruzzo chamois, Apennine wolf and Marsican brown bear. Abruzzo is also home of Calderone, the southernmost glacier in Europe.
When the Italian diplomat and journalist Primo Levi visited Abruzzo defined it as “forte e gentile” (strong and gentle) which, he said, best synthesized the beauty of the region and the character of its people. The quote "forte e gentile" has since then become the motto of the region and its inhabitants.