Roccaraso is an Italian town of 1 630 inhabitants of the lower province of L’Aquila in Abruzzo. Located at the southern edge of the Cinquemiglia plateau, it belongs to the Alto Sangro mountain community and the Cinque Miglia plateau. Its ski facilities, belonging to the ski area of Alto Sangro, make it one of the major mountain resorts in the entire Apennines.
Roccaraso is located in the lower province of L’Aquila just a few kilometers south of the Cinquemiglia plateau, dominated to the west by the Aremogna plain and the Roccaraso mountains (Monte Greco sub-group). The city center is located at 1236 meters above sea level.
Roccaraso rises around the year 1000 near the Rasinus stream, from which it takes the name of Rocca Rasini. It develops as an agricultural, pastoral and artisan village, allowing its population a serene and prosperous life. In 1706 the Majella earthquake damaged the village.
An abrupt halt came with World War II. Roccaraso was located right on the line of the Gustav line (1943), the system of fortifications with which the Germans tried to stop the advance of the Allies after the landing in Salerno. The country was completely destroyed by bombs, which caused the loss of the theater built in 1698, one of the oldest in Italy, and of the mother church together with the historic houses and the civic tower, the last rest of the ancient castle. Also in the nearby village of Pietransieri on November 21, 1943 a civil mass murder of the entire population was perpetrated by the Nazis, after the failure to respect the order to leave the country for war operations.
Roccaraso is among the cities decorated with military valor for the war of liberation because it has been awarded the Gold Medal for military valor for the sacrifices of its populations (culminating in the Pietransieri Accidio) and for its activity in the partisan struggle during the Second World War.