L'Aquila (surface area 466,96 kmq, about 67,000 inhabitants on the whole territory of the Comune, about 45,000 only the town and suburbs), the capital town of Abruzzi and of the Province of L'Aquila, is situated on the left bank of the Aterno River, at an elevation of 2,150 feet (655 meters), in a valley surrounded by the highest mountains of the Appennines, the Gran Sasso and the Velino-Sirente, 58 miles (93 km) northeast of Rome. For its geographical position in the middle of high mountains the city has long, cold winters and abundant rainfall throughout the year, even if autumn is the wettest season.
L'Aquila is the main historical and artistic centre of Abruzzi, has an archbishopry and is renowned for its University, Musical Conservatory, Arts Academy, Theatre and Concert Society, National Museum of the Abruzzi and the ancient S.Tommasi library.
Formerly a center for handicraft and agriculture, L'Aquila has nowadays become primarily an administrative center for its large province and partly for the region (regional bodies are divided between L'Aquila and Pescara). The economy of the town is characterized by chemical, mechanical and farming industries, the production of wine, cereals, saffron and dairy products, traditional delicatessen and craftswork; the nearby mountains also offer facilities for winter sports and excursions.