L’Aquila, Italy

Reading Time: 9 minutes

L’Aquila, Italy

Region: Abruzzo


Geographic Coordinates: 42.350000, 13.400000
Climate: Seasonal climate and weather patterns in L’Aquila, Italy.
Population: 69439
Language: Italian

L’Aquila, Located in the Abruzzo region of central Italy, Is a captivating city rich in history, Culture, And natural beauty. Nestled amidst the majestic Apennine Mountains, L’Aquila offers a unique blend of architectural splendor and picturesque landscapes. The city’s historical center boasts an array of stunning medieval and Renaissance buildings. The iconic Fontana delle 99 Cannelle (Fountain of 99 Spouts) stands as a symbol of L’Aquila’s ancient origins. This intricately carved fountain is shrouded in legends and myths that have fascinated locals and visitors alike for centuries.

One cannot miss the imposing Basilica di Santa Maria di Collemaggio, One of Italy’s most important Romanesque churches. Its exquisite rose window and striking facade make it a masterpiece worth exploring. Another architectural gem is the Forte Spagnolo (Spanish Fortress), An impressive military fortress that offers panoramic views over the city. L’Aquila is also home to several museums that showcase its rich cultural heritage. The Museo Nazionale d’Abruzzo houses an extensive collection of archaeological artifacts from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages.

Art enthusiasts will appreciate the Museo Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art), Which features works by renowned Italian artists. Nature lovers will be enchanted by L’Aquila’s surrounding landscapes. The Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park lies just outside the city limits, Offering breathtaking hiking trails through rugged mountainscapes dotted with alpine lakes and charming villages like Santo Stefano di Sessanio. Food plays a significant role in L’Aquilan culture, With traditional dishes showcasing locally sourced ingredients from both land and sea.

Delight your taste buds with regional specialties such as arrosticini (grilled lamb skewers), Maccheroni alla chitarra (homemade pasta), And the famous Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine. L’Aquila’s vibrant festivals and events further enhance its allure. The Festa di San Bernardino, Held annually in May, Celebrates the city’s patron saint with a colorful procession and lively street performances. In August, The Sagra della Rificolona lights up the night sky as locals parade through the streets carrying paper lanterns. Despite being devastated by an earthquake in 2009, L’Aquila has shown remarkable resilience in rebuilding its historic center.

The restoration efforts have breathed new life into this enchanting city, Making it a must-visit destination for those seeking history, Culture, And natural beauty all rolled into one unforgettable experience.



Important Landmarks

  1. Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio: A beautiful medieval church known for its stunning rose window and the tomb of Pope Celestine V.
  2. Fontana delle 99 Cannelle (Fountain of the 99 Spouts): An ancient fountain with 99 spouts, each representing one of the city’s noble families.
  3. Forte Spagnolo (Spanish Fortress): A massive fortress built by Spanish rulers in the 16th century, offering panoramic views of L’Aquila.
  4. Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park: Located nearby, this national park is known for its breathtaking landscapes, hiking trails, and wildlife spotting opportunities.
  5. Museo Nazionale d’Abruzzo (National Museum of Abruzzo): The museum showcases a rich collection of archaeological artifacts from prehistoric to Roman times found in the region.
  6. Castello Cinquecentesco (16th-century Castle): This castle was built during Spanish rule and now houses various cultural events and exhibitions.
  7. Church of San Bernardino: A beautiful Renaissance church known for its intricate facade and frescoes by artists such as Andrea De Litio.
  8. Palazzo Margherita: A historic palace that once served as a residence for local nobility but is now home to government offices.
  9. Piazza Duomo: The main square in L’Aquila featuring several important buildings like Duomo di San Massimo (Cathedral) and Palazzo dell’Emiciclo (Seat of Regional Council).
  10. Campo Imperatore: Known as Little Tibet, this vast plateau located on Gran Sasso mountain offers stunning alpine scenery popular among hikers, skiers, and nature enthusiasts.

Please note that due to the devastating earthquake that struck L’Aquila in 2009, some of these landmarks may have undergone restoration or reconstruction.


Primary Industries

  1. Tourism: L’Aquila is a popular tourist destination due to its historical significance, medieval architecture, and proximity to the Gran Sasso mountain range. The city attracts visitors who are interested in cultural heritage, outdoor activities like hiking and skiing, and exploring the nearby national parks.
  2. Agriculture: The region surrounding L’Aquila is known for its agricultural production. Local farmers cultivate crops such as wheat, barley, corn, olives, grapes (for wine production), saffron, and various fruits and vegetables.
  3. Manufacturing: L’Aquila has a significant manufacturing industry with companies involved in various sectors such as textiles/apparel manufacturing (including wool products), furniture production (particularly wooden furniture), construction materials (e.g., cement), machinery/equipment manufacturing (e.g., industrial machinery), and food processing.
  4. Information Technology: The city has been developing its IT sector over recent years with the establishment of technology parks and initiatives aimed at fostering innovation in this field. Several IT companies specializing in software development, digital services telecommunications equipment manufacture are present in L’Aquila.
  5. Education: L’Aquila hosts one of Italy’s oldest universities – the University of L’Aquila – which plays a crucial role in driving research activities across different disciplines including engineering sciences natural sciences/applied sciences medicine/biomedical sciences among others.
  6. Construction/Engineering Services: Due to its history of earthquakes (including a devastating earthquake in 2009 that caused significant damage to the city), there is ongoing demand for construction services related to reconstruction efforts as well as seismic retrofitting projects.
  7. Renewable Energy: In recent years there has been an increasing focus on renewable energy sources within the region surrounding L’Aquilawith initiatives related to wind power generation facilities being established or planned.

These industries contribute significantly to the local economy and employment opportunities in L’Aquila, Italy.


Noteable History

  1. Earthquake of 2009: One of the most significant events associated with L’Aquila is the devastating earthquake that struck on April 6, 2009. The earthquake measured 6.3 on the Richter scale and caused widespread destruction in the city, resulting in over 300 fatalities and leaving thousands homeless.
  2. Birthplace of Celestine V: L’Aquila is renowned as the birthplace of Pope Celestine V (also known as Saint Peter Celestine), who was elected pope in 1294 but abdicated after just five months. He became one of only a few popes to resign from office voluntarily.
  3. Gran Sasso National Laboratory: Located near L’Aquila, this underground research facility is one of the largest laboratories for particle physics in Europe. It conducts experiments related to astrophysics, nuclear physics, and other scientific disciplines.
  4. Historical Architecture: L’Aquila boasts numerous architectural landmarks that showcase its rich history, including medieval churches like Basilica di Santa Maria di Collemaggio (where Pope Celestine V was crowned) and Basilica di San Bernardino.
  5. University of L’Aquila: Founded in 1596 by Emperor Charles V as a college for law studies, it later expanded into a full-fledged university offering various faculties such as engineering, medicine, humanities, sciences etc.
  6. Giuseppe Garibaldi’s Visit: In September 1860 during his famous Expedition of the Thousand to unify Italy under one nation-state led by Victor Emmanuel II (Kingdom of Sardinia), Giuseppe Garibaldi visited L’Aquila where he received an enthusiastic welcome from local residents.
  7. Abruzzo National Park: This park encompasses parts of both Abruzzo and Lazio regions, including areas near L’Aquila. It is one of the oldest national parks in Italy and known for its stunning landscapes, rich biodiversity, and wildlife conservation efforts.
  8. Aquila Symphony Orchestra: Founded in 1927, the Aquila Symphony Orchestra is a renowned classical music ensemble that has gained international recognition for its performances.

These are just a few examples of the notable historical events and people associated with L’Aquila. The city has a deep cultural heritage and continues to contribute to various fields such as science, education, music, and more.


Museums and Things To See

  1. Museo Nazionale d’Abruzzo (National Museum of Abruzzo): This museum showcases the history and culture of the Abruzzo region, including archaeological artifacts, medieval art, and exhibitions on local traditions.
  2. Basilica di Santa Maria di Collemaggio: A beautiful medieval church known for its stunning facade and interior decoration. It is also the resting place of Pope Celestine V.
  3. Fontana delle 99 Cannelle (Fountain of the 99 Spouts): An intriguing fountain with 99 spouts that dates back to ancient Roman times. Legend says that if you can count all 99 spouts while blindfolded, your wish will come true.
  4. Forte Spagnolo (Spanish Fortress): A massive fortress built in the Renaissance era to defend L’Aquila from invaders. It offers panoramic views of the city and houses a military museum.
  5. Museo d’Arte Contemporanea dell’Aquila (Museum of Contemporary Art): This modern art museum features a collection of contemporary artworks by Italian and international artists.
  6. Palazzo Ducale: The Ducal Palace is an impressive Renaissance palace that once served as a residence for Spanish viceroys in L’Aquila. It now houses government offices but can still be admired from outside.
  7. Chiesa di San Bernardino: A beautiful Gothic-style church known for its intricate rose window and frescoes depicting scenes from Saint Francis’s life by local artist Cola dell’Amatrice.
  8. Parco del Castello (Castle Park): Located on top of a hill overlooking L’Aquila, this park offers a peaceful retreat with walking paths, green spaces, and panoramic views over the cityscape.
  9. Piazza del Duomo: The main square in L’Aquila, surrounded by important landmarks such as the Basilica di San Bernardino and the Cathedral of L’Aquila. It is a popular gathering spot for locals and visitors.
  10. Museo Sperimentale d’Arte Contemporanea (Experimental Museum of Contemporary Art): A unique museum dedicated to experimental contemporary art, showcasing innovative and thought-provoking installations.

Remember to check the opening hours and any COVID-19 restrictions before visiting these places.



Sports Teams

  1. L’Aquila Calcio: Founded in 1927, L’Aquila Calcio is the most prominent football club in the city. They have had several stints in professional leagues but mostly played in lower divisions. Their most successful period came during the 1990s when they reached Serie B, the second-highest division of Italian football.
  2. L’Aquila Rugby Club: Established in 1936, L’Aquila Rugby Club is one of the oldest rugby clubs in Italy. They have a strong tradition and have competed at various levels of Italian rugby union leagues.
  3. CUS L’Aquila Volleyball: The University Sports Center (CUS) team represents L’Aquila’s volleyball scene and has participated in regional and national competitions over the years.
  4. ASD Basket Caffè Mokambo Aquila Basket: This basketball team competes at various levels of Italian basketball leagues and has a dedicated fan base.
  5. A.S.D Atletico Aquila Futsal: Futsal (indoor soccer) is also popular in L’Aquila, with Atletico Aquila being one of the prominent futsal teams representing the city.

It’s worth noting that due to financial difficulties or other reasons, some teams may have experienced changes or temporary suspensions throughout their history.



Cultural Events

  1. Holy Week Processions: During Easter week, L’Aquila hosts various processions and religious events, including the Procession of the Mysteries (Processione dei Misteri). This event involves carrying statues representing scenes from the Passion of Christ through the streets of the city.
  2. Festival of Sant’Equizio: Celebrated on January 31st, this festival honors Saint Equitius, the patron saint of L’Aquila. It includes a solemn Mass at the Basilica di San Bernardino and a procession through the city.
  3. Festival delle Arti e delle Tradizioni Popolari Abruzzesi: This festival celebrates Abruzzese folk traditions and arts. It features music performances, traditional dances, craft exhibitions, and local food tasting.
  4. International Jazz Day: Held on April 30th each year as part of UNESCO’s International Jazz Day celebrations, L’Aquila hosts concerts by renowned jazz musicians in various venues across the city.
  5. La Notte Bianca dell’Archeologia (The White Night of Archaeology): Organized by local museums and archaeological sites in July or August each year, this event offers guided tours to explore L’Aquila’s rich archaeological heritage during nighttime.
  6. Gran Sasso Music Festival: This music festival takes place during summer months at different locations around Gran Sasso National Park near L’Aquila. It showcases classical music performances by renowned artists against breathtaking natural backdrops.
  7. Festa di San Massimo: Celebrated on September 5th every year in honor of Saint Maximus Abbot – patron saint against earthquakes – this event includes religious processions along with traditional food stalls and live music performances.
  8. Christmas Market (Mercatino di Natale): In December, a festive Christmas market is set up in Piazza Duomo offering artisanal crafts, local food specialties, and Christmas decorations.

These are just a few examples of the cultural events and festivals that take place in L’Aquila. The city has a rich cultural heritage, so there may be additional events or smaller local celebrations throughout the year.


Cuisine

  1. Arrosticini: These are skewers of tender lamb or mutton cooked over an open flame. You can find them at various street food vendors and restaurants in L’Aquila.
  2. Spaghetti alla Chitarra: This traditional dish features square-shaped spaghetti made with a special tool called chitarra (guitar). It is typically served with a rich tomato sauce or ragù.
  3. Scrippelle ‘mbusse: These are thin crepes filled with pecorino cheese, rolled up, and then baked in the oven with a béchamel sauce on top.
  4. Le Virtù: A hearty soup made with vegetables, legumes, and different types of meat like bacon or sausages. It is traditionally prepared during special occasions.
  5. Ristorante Reale: This Michelin-starred restaurant offers innovative cuisine using locally sourced ingredients from the Abruzzo region. It combines traditional flavors with modern techniques to create unique dishes.
  6. Trattoria da Pietro: A cozy trattoria that serves authentic regional dishes including arrosticini, pasta dishes, and grilled meats.
  7. Osteria dell’Acquasanta: Located near the Fontana delle 99 Cannelle (Fountain of 99 Spouts), this restaurant offers a wide range of local specialties such as lamb chops, truffles, and homemade desserts.
  8. La Locanda del Parco – Hotel Sextantio Albergo Diffuso: Situated in the beautiful surroundings of Santo Stefano di Sessanio village near L’Aquila, this restaurant serves traditional Abruzzese cuisine using locally sourced ingredients from organic farms in the area.

These are just a few examples of popular local cuisine and restaurants in L’Aquila; there are many more to explore and discover in this gastronomic region of Italy.


Parks and Recreation

  1. Parco del Castello: Located near L’Aquila’s historic center, this park offers beautiful views of the city and surrounding mountains. It has walking paths, benches, and green spaces ideal for picnics.
  2. Parco del Sole: Situated on the outskirts of L’Aquila, this park is perfect for outdoor activities such as jogging, cycling, or simply enjoying nature. It features a lake where visitors can rent paddleboats.
  3. Parco Fluviale del Velino: Located about 30 minutes from L’Aquila in the nearby town of Avezzano, this park is situated along the Velino River. It offers scenic trails for hiking or biking and has picnic areas along the riverbank.
  4. Campo Imperatore: Known as Little Tibet, this high plateau located within Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can hike or take a cable car to reach its stunning landscapes.
  5. Skiing in Campo Felice: During winter months, skiing enthusiasts can visit Campo Felice ski resort located just outside L’Aquila. The resort offers various slopes suitable for different skill levels.
  6. Palazzo Dragonetti – Contemporary Art Museum: This museum showcases contemporary art exhibitions by Italian artists in a beautifully restored building with stunning views over Piazza Duomo.
  7. Basilica di Santa Maria di Collemaggio: This historical church dating back to the 13th century is an architectural gem worth visiting while exploring L’Aquila’s rich history.

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