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In the region of Abruzzo, within the L'Aquila province, is the town of Avezzano. Avezzano is thought to be named for the Roman God Janus - 'Ave Janus'. In the first century Emperor Claudius ordered the draining of the nearby lake in the Fucino Basin, and so begun settlement of the town. The tunnels that were built to drain the lake under Claudius' rule can still be walked, and are a huge tourist attraction. In 1490 the Castle of Avezzano was built by Virginio Orsini. Make sure you take a look at the gateway, restored to its original splendor and well worth a visit.
In what was possibly the worst earthquake it Italy's history in 1915 (with the epicenter at Avezzano), 12 000 people died but a wing of the castle was spared. So too was the Casa dei Palazzi. The town has been subsequently rebuilt with straight parallel streets and wide green spanses. During World War II the town was again substantially damaged and required extensive rebuilding.
Avezzano holds an annual festival to its patron saint, Saint Madonna di Pietracquaria in April, and a beer festival in July. August sees the festival of 'pasta e ceci', followed in September by a potato festival - so there is really a festival for everyone and anyone all year round! With sugar beet being grown in the town, you would be forgiven for thinking life revolves around food.
Avezzano is accessible by train or bus from Rome, and at about 60 kilometres from Rome it is not too far for a day trip. And although there may be smaller airports that are closer to Avezzano, the major ones are not too far away, with Rome and Naples both having an international airport with services in and out of Avezzano. The drive from L'Aquila is a pretty one, over winding mountain roads and overlooking villages and towns along the way.