(written October 28, 2000)
Villavallelonga is situated in Italy, a European country that covers roughly 210,000 square kilometers (excluding the islands of Sicily and Sardinia). Contrast this with where I live in Canada's second largest province, Ontario which covers 1,200,000 square miles. You could fit six Italy's into one Ontario. However, roughly 55 million people live in Italy. Contrast this with Ontario, which has a population of only 11 million.
The terrain of Italy is a combination of several mountainous regions, which comprise 70% of the country. Yet, despite this seemingly inhospitable terrain, almost 70% of the land is agricultural. To the north, you have the Great Alps bordering Italy. The Appenines, the largest range in Italy, branches from the Alps and runs down most of the length of Italy. Villvallelonga sits on a hill within the Appenine mountains. The Italian Alps boast the highest mountains such as Mount Blanc, but the tallest mountain situated completely within Italy's borders is located in the Appenines. It is called Il Gran Sasso d'Italia (Big Rock of Italy). To this day, it still remains a challenge to cross the Appenines using the present roadway system between the Tyrrhenian Sea on the west and the Adriatic Sea to the east.Abruzzo
Italy is divided into twenty regions, each being autonomous yet connected to the central government of Rome. This autonomy can be seen in the differences of local policies and taxes, and cultural and historical diversities. The region that Villavallelonga belongs to is called Abruzzo. Abruzzo is situated approximately at the center of the Italian peninsula. It borders 3 other regions. To the north you have Marche, to the west there is Lazio and to the south, Molise. On the east, there is the Adriatic Sea. Thus, the aspect of this region is characterized by the union of two geographic features which are quite unlike; the sea and the mountains. Abruzzo covers an area of 10,794 square kilometers. People from Abruzzo call themselves Abruzzese.In Toronto where I live, most of the immigrants from Italy are from three regions, the Abruzzese from Abruzzo, the Calabrese from of Calabria, and the Sicillians from Sicily.
The mountainous part of Abruzzo, with its numerous ski centers, includes the major mountain peaks of the Appennines (the Gran Sasso d'Italia and the Maiella), but also numerous peaks which also reach remarkable altitudes and highlands separated by basins of fertile land.L'Aquila
Each region of Italy is further divided into provinces. Abruzzo has four provinces. The province of Teramois located in the northeast of Abruzzo. South of Teramo is the province of Pescara, and south of Pescara is the province of Chieti. To the west of all these is the province of L'Aquila, which means "The Eagle" in English. L'Aquila is the largest province in Abruzzo yet unlike the other three provinces, it is completely isolated from the sea.
The capital of Abruzzo is the city of L'Aquila which is also situated in the province of L'Aquila. People from the province of L'Aquila call themselves Aquilano. Villavallelonga is situated in the province of L'Aquila.La Marsica
Marsi (MARSORUM in Latin) is also a diocese in the province of Aquila, with its seat at Pescina. With the exception of Sabina, it is the only diocese that receives its name from a people, and not from a city. Its Bishop is called the Bishop of Marsi.
The Marsi were a warlike people who lived about Lake Fucino. In 325 B.C. they allied themselves with the Romans, revolted in 309 in favour of the Samnites, but in 304 returned to the Roman alliance. A hardy mountain people, they were famed for their simple habits and indomitable courage. The people from this area call themselves Marsicano or Marsicans.
The name Marsican is derived from the word Mars. In the Roman Empire, Mars was the God of war. The Romans named the people from this area Marsicans because they were the best soldiers of the empire. History records that the Romans never triumphed over them or without them; this according to the famed historian APPIAN (A Greek born in Egypt around 100 A.D. After gaining Roman citizenship, he wrote a history of Roman Empire consisting of 24 books). In otherwords, the famous phrase by Romans about the Marsi is: "We do not go to war AGAINST Marsicans, and we do not go to war WITHOUT Marsicans". Villavallelonga is situated in La Marsica.
A prominent landmark in La Marsica is Fucino. This is a fertile piece of land which at one time was a lake. It was drained in 1875 after building a series of canals. Many of the residents in the surrounding villages have farms in Fucino. Also of importance is the National Park of Abruzzo. One of the entry points into this Italian national treasure is through the village of Villavallelonga. This park is visited by tourists from all over the world. It is a sanctuary, a place where birds, wild animals and vegetation is under government protection.Villavallelonga
The translation of Villavallelonga into English is literaly "Villa or
Town, Valley, Long" or practictly speaking, Long Valley Town. The village
is appropriately named because it is situated on a hill in a valley. To
the east and west of the town is a series of mountains creating the valley.
The valley is called Vallelonga.
Villavalleonga sits at 1005 meters above sea level.