L’Aquila and its Surroundings

Nestled in a natural landscape down the slopes of Mount Gran Sasso and surrounded by 3 National Natural Parks and one Regional Natural Park, L’Aquila is a medieval city  full of surprises. The official story of its foundation mixes legends and mysteries of Knights Templar, constellations, and extraordinary characters such as Frederick II  and Celestine V. The city was founded by the surrounding fortified villages and to commemorate this event, in 1272, the fontana delle Novantanove Cannelle (Fountain of 99 Spouts ) was built.  Thoroughfares and narrow streets wind their ways towards Piazza Duomo, behind which we find the characteristic Palazzo delle Cancelle, four small houses used as bottegas in the Renaissance period and which in 1920 were dismantled and reassembled in a back alley immediately behind the Post Office building. You can appreciate alleys dotted with small shops and traditional restaurants or the medieval austerity preserved by majestic palazzos, the monumental portals and the white sampietrini. Costa Masciarelli connects  the external part of the old city still surrounded by the ancient medieval walls, to the market square, Piazza Duomo, which every morning, except on Sundays, hosts the traditional market. Passing through the ancient entrance gate that still has the coat of arms of the city, we reach the Basilica di Collemaggio, which, in addition to the several symbolic references about the Templars, boasts three records: the first Holy Door in history, the only Holy Door in the world that is opened every year, and the only Church that has witnessed the coronation of a pope, Celestine V, outside the Vatican. You can also visit Basilica of San Bernardino that represents the maximum example of baroque style in L’Aquila, the majestic Spanish Fortress built by the Spanish conquerors in the 16th-century for the repression of the rebellious population of L’Aquila, or Piazza Palazzo, with one of the most ancient clock-towers in Italy. Besides the architectural heritage, the city offers a wide range of activities and excursions in the natural surroundings, between castles and medieval hamlets, caves and natural reserves, walks in the mountains in summer, ski resorts in winter, canoe trips along the cleanest river in Italy, a wolf visitor centre, music festivals, arts and theatre events.

Celestine V and the Holy Door

The Bull of Forgiveness, its history, the celebrations, and the places of the Celestinian Pardon from its origins to today.

L'Aquila: its history and culture

Culture, history, nature, and traditions. Itineraries, the iconic sites clustered around the historic city centre and its surroundings.

Pope Francis in L'Aquila

Pope Francis will visit L'Aquila on 28 August for the occasion of the Celestinian Pardon


The 728° Celestinian Pardon with Pope Francis for the opening of the Holy Door

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The Ritual of the Celestinian Pardon as Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage9 of Humanity Inscribed on the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage since 201

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