Italy, though not large in size, has exerted more influence around the world than any other nation. This is not just because of the diversity of its landscapes, culture, amazing food and wine, unparalleled sense of beauty, and legendary creativity, but because its people are superb guardians of the legacy of their civilization.
Every Italian region is unique, which is part of their fascination. Fred Plotkin, an expert on all things Italian and the author of seven books on Italian themes, is back by popular demand to complete his extremely popular series on the regions of Italy. In illustrated talks, he reveals the history, mysteries, and pleasures of eight extraordinary regions from the Alps to the Mediterranean.
Abruzzo and Molise
Until 1963, Abruzzo and Molise were one region known as the Abruzzi. They have things in common, yet each is quite distinct. Due east of Rome, they are unusual in that they are the last place in Italy the Catholic Church gained a toehold. As a result, they are the most pagan part of the country, filled with pre-Christian festivals, superstitions, and rituals that have been practiced for thousands of years. They are the site of an ancient annual migration of humans and animals from the mountains to the Adriatic called the transhumance. Abruzzo has the highest mountains in central Italy, national parks, wolves, eagles, and a gorgeous coastline. Molise is the nation’s second-smallest region, geographically out of the way and arguably the least-known place in Italy. Its isolation and anonymity means it has a character unto itself.
Plotkin was described in The New York Times as “an American who might as well be Italian, given how extensively he has studied and worked in Italy, the subject of many of the books he’s written.
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S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)