Monday, April 6, 2009
L'Aqui "City of Apennine Mountains"
L'Aqui is the city in central Italy, both the capital city of the Abruzzo region and of the Province of L'Aquila. It has a population of 72,913 inhabitants, but has a daily presence in the territory of 100,000 people for study, tertiary activities, jobs and tourism. Laid out within medieval walls on a hill in the wide valley of the Aterno river, it is surrounded by the Apennine Mountains, with the Gran Sasso d'Italia to the north-east.
L'Aquila sits upon a hillside in the middle of a narrow valley; tall snow-capped mountains of the Gran Sasso massif flank the town. A maze of narrow streets lined with baroque or Renaissance buildings and churches, opening onto elegant piazzas, home to the University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila is a lively college town and as such has many cultural institutions: a repertory theater, a symphony orchestra, a fine-arts academy, a state conservatory, and a film institute.
Gran Sasso d'Italia
The route to the Gran Sasso d'Italia first passes the cemetery, with the convent church of Santa Maria del Soccorso, and then continues via the village of Assergi (church of Santa Maria Assunta, with a fine Gothic rose window), on the southwest slopes of the Gran Sasso group, to Fonte Cerreto (1,105m/3,547ft), starting point of the cableway to the Gran Sasso d'Italia (3,240m/3,545yd long; 16minutes). A panoramic road (27km/17mi) leads to the upper station of the cableway (2,130m/7,029ft), on the western edge of the Campo Imperatore (1,600-2,200m/5,280-7,260ft; Albergo Campo Imperatore), a high valley 20km/12mi long and up to 5km/3mi wide which is an excellent walking and climbing center and a popular winter sports area. Near the cableway station are the modern chapel of the Madonna della Neve and an observatory. 45minutes' climb above the hotel, on the Portelle ridge, is the Rifugio Duca degli Abruzzi (2,301m/7,587ft; views) from which it is another 3.5-4 hours climb to the Corno Grande or Monte Corno (2,912m/9,610ft), the highest peak in the Gran Sasso d'Italia, the most elevated mountain range in the Italian peninsula, with sheer rock walls like those of the Calcareous Alps (road tunnel). From the summit there are views extending over the whole of Central Italy to the Adriatic in the east and over the Sabine hills, and on clear days as far as the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west.
Fountain of the 99 Pipes
(Local Name: Fontana delle 99 Cannelle) At the foot of the hill on the west side of L'Aquila, near the station and the Porta Rivera, is the Fontana delle 99 Cannelle (Fountain of the 99 Pipes; 1272), with sides of red and white marble, from which the water spouts through 99 different masks (male and female heads).
Hobbies & Activities category: Standalone sculpture, statue or fountain
National Museum of the Abruzzi
(Local Name: Museo Nazionale d'Abruzzo) The Museo Nazionale d'Abruzzo (National Museum of the Abruzzi), with medieval and modern art as well as arts and crafts and paintings and sculpture from churches in the Abruzzi region. Particularly notable is its collection of Abruzzi majolica (17th-18th century) from Castelli.
Hobbies & Activities category: Paintings, art collections
Mon Tue Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun
Open Hours Closed 8:30 8:30 8:30 8:30 8:30 8:30
Closed 19.30 19.30 19.30 19.30 19.30 19.30
Always closed on:
New Year's Day (January 1)May Day / Labor Day (May 1)
Christmas - Christian (December 25)
Adult Youth 25 & under Child 18 & under
4.00 Euros 2.00 Euros Free
Southeast of Piazza del Palazzo is the porticoed street intersection known as the Quattro Cantoni, in the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, L'Aquila's principal street. From here Via San Bernardino leads to the church of San Bernardino (originally 1454), with a fine facade of 1527. It contains the tomb of Bernardino di Siena who died in l'Aquila in 1440.
Hobbies & Activities category: Christian sites; Tombs, burial site
Santa Maria di Collemaggio
From San Bernardino in L'Aquila we descend to the piazza, follow Via Fortebraccio straight ahead and continue through the Porta Bazzano to the magnificent church, formerly belonging to the Celestine order, of Santa Maria di Collemaggio, founded about 1280 by Pietro da Morrone, who was crowned here as Pope Celestine V in 1294. The church has a Baroque interior, with the Pope's Renaissance tomb (1517) and wall paintings by Ruter, a pupil of Rubens, depicting his life and deeds.
Hobbies & Activities category: Paintings, art collections; Christian sites; Architecture - Renaissance; Architecture - Baroque or Rococo; Tombs, burial site
Cathedral of San Massimo
In the center of L'Aquila is the spacious Piazza del Duomo, on the west side of which is the cathedral of San Massimo, (originally built in the 13th century; several times destroyed by earthquakes and rebuilt). It contains (to the right of the entrance) a monumental effigy of Cardinal Agnifili (1480).
Parco del Castello
In the northeast of L'Aquila is the Parco del Castello with the beautiful Fontana Monumentale. From here there are far-ranging views of the Aterno valley and the Gran Sasso and Maiella range. On the east side of the park is the Castello, built by the Spaniards in 1534, which now houses the Museum Nazionale d'Abruzzo.
Hobbies & Activities category: Historical museum; Provincial or municipal park; Standalone sculpture, statue or fountain
L'Aquila is really not conveniently located on any route major train route. Getting there will involve a couple of train changes... either in rome and then in terni, or else in pescara and then in sulmona.The station is far out of town, but there should be buses. However if you arrive on Sunday, you're likely going to be stuck. The only way out is to call a taxi, which shouldn't cost more than 5-7 euros.