Sulmona (Abruzzo): what to see in the homeland of confetti


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What to see in Sulmona, an Abruzzo town located near the Majella Park, itinerary including Piazza Garibaldi, San Panfilo Cathedral and confetti factory.


Tourist information

Located in the southern area of ​​the Conca Peligna in Abruzzo, not far from the Majella National Park and about 350 meters above sea level, Sulmona is a town famous for the production of sugared almonds, to the point that some consider it the home of this particular sweet.

Being literally surrounded by greenery, Sulmona is a quiet town extended especially in length from north to south, having been further limited by the Gizio and Vella rivers to the east and west.


From the point of view of the urban aspect, the inhabited center of Sulmona has a very limited height development, in fact the houses turn out to be at most two or three floors, given the high seismic risk of the area.

The city, of very ancient origins, gave birth to Publio Ovidio Nasone, also known as Ovidio, born in 43 a. C. died in 18 d. C., the famous Latin poet who wrote the work entitled "Metamorphosis".

Wandering here and there, in the historic center you can still see some traces of the Roman urban layout.


Even in medieval times Sulmona was an important center, also home to a university established by Frederick II of Swabia.

During the Renaissance period a long period of cultural growth began, during which the famous Sulmonese goldsmith school was born.

The city, badly damaged by the 1706 earthquake, experienced a new renaissance starting in the 1800s, when it began to grow economically again.


What see

Passing through the monumental city gates, you enter the historic center of Sulmona, reaching Piazza Garibaldi, which is one of the largest in Italy.

It is a famous place, as the Giostra Cavalleresca di Sulmona takes place annually.

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The Fontanone, a work made using the typical limestone of the Majella, makes a good show of itself in the square, together with the 21 arches of the monumental medieval Aqueduct of Sulmona of 1256, built by the son of Federico II of Svevia.

On one side of the square stands the Church of Santa Chiara, founded between 1260 and 1269, to which the monastery of the Poor Clares is annexed.

Although dating back to the thirteenth century, very little remains of the original structure, as the earthquake of 1456 damaged it to such an extent that it was necessary to rebuild it.

Inside the church are preserved the altarpiece depicting Santa Chiara in glory, the work of the Neapolitan painter Sebastiano Conca, and the oval depicting the Marriage of the Virgin Mary, work by Alessandro Salini.

All the wooden furnishings also deserve the attention of the visitor, including the doors of the main portal, dating back to 1671, and the wooden coretti carved and decorated in gold leaf.

The spaces that were once reserved for the convent of the Poor Clares, after going through a phase of abandonment, were destined for different uses, the chapel reserved for worship, together with two other rooms, is used as an exhibition area belonging to the Diocesan Museum of Art Sacra, while three other rooms are used as Diocesan Library and places to exhibit the collection of the Municipal Art Gallery.

On the same Piazza Garibaldi there is also the Church of San Filippo Neri, with a single room interior including four altars on the sides and an eighteenth-century baroque decoration.


The fifteenth-century Church of San Rocco, also located in Piazza Garibaldi, has a single nave covered by a circular dome decorated with coffers.

Also worth visiting is the ancient Church of San Francesco della Scarpa, dating back to before the year 1000 and enlarged, bringing significant enrichments, by Carlo D’Angiò in 1290.

Reworked several times over the following centuries, this church still has a splendid late Gothic facade, with a beautiful portal including the frescoed lunette dating back to the early sixteenth century, which shows the image of the Madonna and child positioned between San Francesco and the Maddalena.

Inside the church, decorated with stuccoes by Pietro Piazzoli, the organ of 1754, by Domenico Antonio Fedele da Camerino, a wooden crucifix of the fifteenth century and remains of frescoes, as well as the beautiful Altarpiece of the Visitation by Giovanni Paolo Olmo of the sixteenth century.

The San Panfilo Cathedral, dating back to 1076 and built on a pre-existing Roman temple dedicated to Apollo and Vesta, has a curtain facade, a very common setting in Abruzzo during the Middle Ages, on which there is a magnificent pointed portal flanked by two shrines in Gothic style where the statues of San Pelino and San Panfilo are placed.

The interior of the Cathedral of Sulmona, with three naves, has a raised presbytery and a wooden choir from 1751.


On the side of the presbytery there is the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament from where, through a staircase, you enter the crypt which constitutes the oldest part of the cathedral, the one where the remains of San Panfilo are kept, in addition to its reliquary bust and a bas-relief depicting the Madonna delle Fornaci, dating back to the XII century.

Also worth seeing is the Annunziata complex, which includes the church, the Palazzo dell'Annunziata with the Civic Museum and the 65-meter bell tower, from which you can enjoy an excellent panorama of Sulmona, dating back to the second half from 1500.

The Church of the Santissima Annunziata, dating back to 1320 and rebuilt several times over the centuries, today has no visible traces of the original layout.

The interior with three naves, totally decorated with stuccos, preserves various paintings, including the frescoes by Giambattista Gamba, two works by Giuseppe Simonelli, a pupil of Luca Giordano, and the Presentation in the temple, as well as an Annunciation, by Lazzaro Baldi , Tuscan artist pupil of Pietro da Cortona.

The "Domus of Ariadne" is located in the Civic Museum Palazzo dell'Annunziata, an archaeological area transformed into a museum, where it is possible to see the remains of a Roman house dating back to the period between the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD.

Another place of worship to see in Sulmona is the church of Santa Maria della Tomba, located above pre-existing buildings, including a temple dedicated to Jupiter Capitoline and the home of the poet Ovid.

The name of the church is due to the fact that once, in the center of the central nave, there was a tomb which was eliminated in the seventeenth century.

The internal decorations include 16th century frescoes.

During the summer, the Giostra Cavalleresca takes place in Sulmona, an event that includes a historical procession attended by over 400 people, including flag wavers, drummers, players of chiarine, ladies, armigers and other characters in period costumes.

Dating back to the Swabians, the Giostra Cavalleresca is organized on a field in the shape of eight, where four papier-mâché shapes are placed from which hang three rings of various diameters, to be inserted with the spears.

During the week preceding the event, numerous events are held including gastronomic displays of typical products.

In Sulmona, famous all over the world for the production of confetti, it is possible to visit the Confetti Pelino factory, active since 1783 in Introdacqua and subsequently transferred to Sulmona in 1852.

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