L’Aquila – city in the mountains wounded by heartquake

Downtown L’Aquila before the earthquake – Photo © sangiopanza2000

L’Aquila is the capital of the province of Abruzzo in Italy. It is in the northern part of the region. It is a small, pleasant city that is surrounded by high mountains. The German Emperor Frederick II established the city in 1242. According to legend, Frederick gathered the population from 99 local villages into a town. Each group of villagers, in turn, created their church, resulting in a city of 99 churches. Unfortunately, only a very few remain.

L’Aquila – how to Get in.

There are three main ways to reach L’Aquila. The first is to travel by car, taking the A24 (the autostrada connecting Rome and Teramo) that passes to the north of the city. You can reach L’Aquila also by other, smaller provincial highways.

The second method is by bus. There is an intercity bus (Pullman) that travels directly from the Rome Tiburtina Railway Station to the main bus terminal found at the northern end of the city. The third way is by train. The town has no airport, so it is usually most convenient to fly to either the Ciampino or Fiumicino airports in Rome before traveling on to L’Aquila.

L’Aquila – How to Get around

L’Aquila is small enough that it is quite easy to walk from one end to the other.

Interno San Bernardino – Photo © sangiopanza2000
L’Aquila – What to See

There are several attractions for travelers to visit. There are at least six churches to visit, including the Duomo (the city’s main church), located on the Piazza del Duomo, and Santa di Collemaggio (located outside the city walls). The final confrontation scene in the movie Ladyhawke was filmed in this church.

Other places to see include the Museo Nazionale d’Abruzzo, located in the sixteenth century Castello situated in the north end of the city. The castle, designed by the Spanish architect “Don Pirro Aloisio Escriva,” and is one of the most impressive castles in central Italy and possibly one of the earliest types of this type constructed.

The Museo Nazionale d’Abruzzo has several different sections, including paintings, Roman finds, but its most notable feature is the skeleton of a mammoth that found in the local area.

There is also a daily market that is held each day (except Sunday) in the Piazza del Duomo. There you can find a wide variety of goods, including clothing on sale by small vendors. The market is open from 08:00 AM – 2:00 PM.

Fontana delle 99 Cannelle – Photo © sangiopanza2000

Finally, there is the Fontana delle 99 Cannelle, located outside the western walls. The fountain has 99 fountains that represent the 99 churches that were initially in the city.

L’Aquila – What to Do

Besides the sites inside L’Aquila, there are many places to visit outside of the city, including the churches of San Pelligrino and Santa Maria dell’Assunta in Bominaco, the medieval castle at Calascio, and the Gran Sasso National Park.

In wintertime, because of the nearby mountains, there are several ski resorts throughout the region. Many of these skiers stay in L’Aquila which could cause problems finding a hotel room in the winter season.

Where to stay in L’Aquila

Hotels, condo hotels, farm stays, and B&Bs in L’Aquila: search and reserve here.

A few items from Abruzzo

La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy
Fifty years ago, a group of Italian scholars gathered to discuss a problem: how to preserve traditional Italian cooking. They formed the Italian Academy of Cuisine to document classic recipes from every region. The academy’s more than seven thousand associates spread out to villages everywhere, interviewing grandmothers and farmers at their stoves, transcribing their recipes—many of which had never been documented before. This is the culmination of that research, an astounding feat—2,000 recipes that represent the patrimony of Italian country cooking. Each recipe is labeled with its region of origin, and it’s not just the ingredients but also the techniques that change with the geography. Sprinkled throughout are historical recipes that provide fascinating views into the folk culture of the past. There are no fancy flourishes here, and no shortcuts; this is true salt-of-the-earth cooking. The book is an excellent everyday source for easily achievable recipes, with such simple dishes as White Bean and Escarole Soup, Polenta with Tomato Sauce, and Chicken with Lemon and Capers. For ease of use there are four different indexes. La Cucina is an essential reference for every cook’s library.

Grazing In Abruzzo
Bruce Franchini (Director), Lidia Bastianich (Actor)
Lidia loves the region of Abruzzo! She describes the people there as welcoming, giving and jovial, and the hearty food of the region has left her with such fond memories. In the Abruzzese kitchens, Farro, a kind of wheat berry, is cooked as a whole grain and is manufactured in many shapes-both by small artisanal pasta makers and larger pasta companies. She makes this pasta with arugula and ricotta. Following her main course of Lamb with Olives, she creates the deliciously fun Scrippelle-which look like fettuccine-and tosses them in a hot caramel, citrus and apricot sauce for dessert.

Abruzzo. History and art guide
by Latini M. L. (Author)
Although it is a bit too synthetic, to the detriment of the overall readability of the text, the work provides an exhaustive description of the artistic heritage of Abruzzo, inserting points for observation not always recognized. Recommended.

Abruzzo 1st Edition
by Michael Kenna
Abruzzo, located in southern Italy, is known as the green region of Europe because of the system of parks and nature reserves covering more than one-third of its territory. In Abruzzo, Michael Kenna found a cultural identity that elsewhere, for the most part, has been lost to globalization and instant communication. Kenna photographed medieval ruins, ancient villages and a countryside rich in traditional cultivation. As curator Vincenzo de Pompeis writes in the book s introduction, 'Abruzzo's heritage, together with its impressive natural scenery, brings to mind romantic connotations that have historically attracted many international landscape artists, particularly in the 19th century. Michael Kenna fits perfectly into this rich historical vein of celebrated landscape artists who have worked in Abruzzo. Kenna's work often evokes the influences of Romanticism. In his photographs of historic rural landscapes, for example, there is an air of melancholy, which accompanies memories from the past. His images of ruins stir up feelings of passing time, of the constantly evolving ties between history and nature.' This gorgeous new monograph by renowned landscape photographer Michael Kenna is published to coincide with a major museum exhibition in Loreto Aprutino, Italy. Richly printed in duotone on matt art paper, and presented in an olive-green cloth slipcase with black debossed text on one side and a tipped-in image on the other, Abruzzo presents 65 images from the series, published here for the first time.

Michelin Map Italy: Abruzzo, Molise 361 (Maps/Local (Michelin))
Michelin created its first travel guide over 100 years ago to promote road travel and inspire driving confidence. Today, Michelin Travel & Lifestyle offers travelers an extensive range of travel guides, maps and online travel resources. These products deliver the same Michelin promise of quality and consistency consumers expect from one of the world's most trusted brands.
Publisher of travel guides, maps and atlases, Michelin Travel & Lifestyle offers a complete travel portfolio. Where to go, how to get there, where to eat & stay, and what to see & do ... all in one collection with extensive international & domestic coverage, especially for Europe. Our series includes Michelin (Red) Guides, Green Guides, Must Sees and Michelin maps and atlases.

Canti Della Terra D'Abruzzo
Ettore Montanaro
Buy MP3: all 51 at the same time, or each one individually.

Italian Folk Songs from Abruzzo 1927-1930
CD and MP3 reissue of the freat italian folk duo. Comes with rich notes and photos of the couple as well. Pasquale and Clara Sciascia immigrated to the U. S. from the Abruzzo region of Italy, settling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From 1927 to 1933 they recorded 44 songs fro the Victor, Columbia and Brunswick record companies. The Sciascias were the first to record a number of Italian and Abruzzese folk songs, 14 of which are reissued here for the first time in 90 years. The songs feature wonderful duet singing and exquisite string band accompaniment. Also included are notes on the couple and their music, photos, and the transcribed and translated lyrics. Includes 20 page booklet.