L'Aquila Travel Guide

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castle entrance bridge, from the moat.

castle entrance bridge, from the moat.

davidx

L'Aquila’s late medieval glory can still be seen despite the devating impact of the earthquake at the beginning of the eigtheenth century. Its main sight is the castle that was erected by Don Pedro of Toledo midway the 16th century. It was meant to protect the residents of the city but also to keep them under control. it was built under duress by the Abruzzesi, who hated their Spanish overlords. The fortress is only one of many castles in the area that served as strongholds, as the story goes that the inhabitants of the round and about 100 castles in the area helped to built the city in the 12th century. However, from a military architectural point of view it is definitely the most impressive one. It even includes an acoustic system so that if a crucial rock is touched, the sound is relayed to a major chamber within.

The central Piazza Duomo, with its daily market, is an excellent place from which to explore the town with its little courtyards and gardens. The city boasts the most well-known basilica of the Aruzza area, the ‘Basilica di S.Maria di Collemaggio’. Besides that, there are several well-preserved churches with an interesting array of frescoes. The fountain with the 99 spouts is located nearby the remnants of the city wall and the Quattro Cantoni, a meeting point for locals. This is also the area where one can see the finest examples of one of the town’s characteristics, the arcades, also better known as ‘portici’ in this region.

If you're looking for a bit more of green, head for the Abruzzo_National_Parkor head off the Sulmona road in either direction. To the north lies the Gran Sasso National Park.  Pescara might be worth a detour when you've some time left.

Contributors

June 20, 2006 change by davidx (2 points)

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