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Sulmona: what to see, where to eat and what to do in the evening

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Martí Micolau
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Sulmona is a town in the province of L'Aquila, located in the Abruzzo region close to the Majella National Park. The city is best known for its centuries-old tradition in the production of sugared almonds and for being the birthplace of the Latin poet Ovid.

Sulmona is a small city and can be visited well even in one day, or in a weekend considering that it is located in the Peligna Valley and it is worth immersing yourself in the nature of this place as it should be by visiting the neighboring places.
Here what to see, where to eat and what to do in the evening in Sulmona.



Index

  1. 10 things to see in Sulmona in a weekend
  2. What to see in Sulmona in one day: recommended itinerary
  3. Where to eat in Sulmona: the best restaurants
  4. What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Sulmona
  5. Plan your stay in Sulmona: info and useful tips
  6. User questions and comments

10 things to see in Sulmona in a weekend

1 - Cathedral of San Panfilo

The church is the most ancient city temple, its construction dates back to 1075 and is dedicated to the patron saint of Sulmona. Over the centuries, it has undergone various reconstruction works due to the numerous earthquakes that have hit the area.
On the central apse of the church you can see the city coat of arms of ancient fashion (the nail and the guiggia of the shield are still represented), the letters SMPE in Gothic characters are also engraved on the upper band, the meaning is Sulmo mihi patria est. Inside, in the center of the nave, there is a niche with the golden bust of the Saint and his relics, made in gilded copper, silver and enamels, is the work of the Sulmona goldsmith Giovanni di Marino di Cicco.

In the cathedral there is also a room dedicated to Pope Celestine V, in which a part of his heart is kept, kept in a precious reliquary, some clothes, a crucifix and various important documents.



  • from Porta Pacentrana it's about 10 minutes on foot - Get directions
  • 8:15-12:30 e 16:00-20:00
  • free

2 - Complex of the Santissima Annunziata

The complex consists of more buildings from different eras, and is the most representative monument of the city. Church and hospital were founded in 1320, the hospital became one of the most important in the Kingdom of Naples, while not much remains of the original construction of the church due to the earthquakes that shook Sulmona several times after centuries. The current plan, the bell tower and the chapel of the Virgin belong to the reconstruction dating back to the sixteenth century.

  • from Porta Pacentrana in 5 minutes on foot - Get directions
  • palace 9: 00-13: 00 and 15: 30-18: 30, closed on Mondays; church 9: 00-13: 00 and 15: 00-18: 00, Saturday and Sunday 9: 00-18: 00, closed on Tuesday
  • free

3 - Ovid Course

Along this road you will come across numerous confetti shops, the ancient local tradition. There are all tastes, and if you don't want to stop and buy them, they are still a delight for the eyes, in fact real floral compositions are created with these all colored confetti.
Between one shop and another you will also see historical monuments of great importance for the city, such as themedieval aqueduct, symbol of the economic and demographic prosperity that Sulmona reached with Frederick II of Swabia. The aqueduct had the fundamental function of bringing water from the Gizio river to the city and the countryside.



  • from Porta Pacentrana on foot in 5 minutes - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • free

4 - Church of Santa Maria della Tomba

One of the churches to stop in. According to tradition this church was built on the remains of an ancient temple of Jupiter, although according to some scholars it was erected on a part of what would have been the residence of Ovid. In the fourteenth century it was one of the most important religious buildings, to the point of giving its name to an entire village, which had gradually formed beyond the oldest southern walls.
The church was modified several times due to the damage reported after the earthquakes, following that of 2009 that hit L'Aquila, it was again subject to restoration work, this time aimed at improving its seismic response by inserting tie rods and metal pivots in the masonry.

  • from Porta Pacentrana in about 5 minutes on foot - Get directions
  • 11:00AM - 18:00PM
  • free

5 - Church of San Francesco della Scarpa

The most important rebuilding dates back to 1290 by the will of King Charles II of Anjou, when it was enlarged in a very impressive architectural complex such as to be the most important medieval Franciscan church in Abruzzo.
Today, the current structure no longer corresponds to the one largely collapsed following the various earthquakes, but dates back to the eighteenth-century restructuring when it was transformed into a single classroom environment, with smaller dimensions and with adjacent spaces laterally.
The remains of the presbytery area are the only survivors to the earthquake of 1706 and define the space of what is now known as "Rotonda", the courtyard overlooked by small rooms used in the past as shops, accessed through the ancient side portal of the church and currently used for exhibitions and cultural events.



  • on foot in 5 minutes from Porta Pacentrana - Get directions
  • every day 9: 00-19: 00
  • free

6 - Piazza XX Settembre

It is a stop to make during a journey to discover the city of Sulmona, it is one of the key points of reference for the citizens of the Abruzzo municipality. Here is the statue dedicated to the poet Ovid, born in Sulmona, the bronze work bears Latin writings on the four sides of the base; on the front the name of Publio Ovidio Nasone, on the left side "Sulmona is my homeland", on the right side "I will be considered the pride of the people of the Peligni", while on the back in Roman numerals the date of the foundation of the city of Rome.
Piazza XX Settembre gives an enchanting glimpse, is surrounded by lovely historic buildings and from here you can also see the dome of the Annunciation.

  • in 5 minutes walk from Porta Pacentrana - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • free

7 - Pelino Museum of Confectionery Art and Technology

It is the museum dedicated to the art of confectionery, tradition of the city of Sulmona. It consists of three exhibition halls distributed over two floors. The first room displays the genealogical tree of Mario Pelino's family, souvenirs and precious objects, important diplomas and a precious collection of th and th century favors, and you can also see some artistic compositions of confetti.
In the second room, on the other hand, some precious relics linked to the history of the factory are kept. Finally, in the third room an th century laboratory is reconstructed, with machinery used for the production and processing of sugared almonds, tools such as a roaster, a peeler, some mills, mortars and several glass jars containing the ancient ingredients.
The museum was recognized national monument by the Ministry for Cultural and Environmental Heritage in 1992.

  • by car in 5 minutes from Corso Ovidio taking the SR479 - Get directions
  • lun-sab 8:30-12:30 e 15:00-18:30
  • free

8 - Hermitage of Sant'Onofrio al Morrone

Outside the city center of Sulmona, but still in its territory, is the hermitage of Sant'Onofrio, located in 600 meters high on a steep rock face overlooking the Peligna basin.
It is easy to reach it, by car you first arrive at the Badia-bagnaturo locality, here in Via Badia there is the Abbey of Santo Spirito from where the clear signs for the Hermitage leave. You will reach a square where you can leave your car and continue on foot. The climb will give you guaranteed breathtaking views.
The hermitage was founded in 1293 by Fra 'Pietro Angelerio, later Pope Celestino V, and its history is strongly linked to that of its founder, in this solitary place in fact the Saint spent just over a year until in August 1294 he was joined by the five legates of the conclave with the sovereign Charles II of Anjou and his son Carlo Martello to announce his election as pontiff.
The structure looks like a religious complex which includes a church with a wooden ceiling, and an underlying cave where the Saint retired in prayer and where today the faithful practice ritual rubbing or bathe with dripping water to obtain healing from ills.

  • after reaching the hamlet of Badia by car in 10 minutes, you can cross the uphill path in 30 minutes on foot - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • free

9 - Pacentro

It is a town close to Sulmona, it is only 6 km away and is a real gem to be discovered, it is no coincidence that it is part of the club of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
It is one of those typical Abruzzo villages made up of narrow streets that climb up to lead to the most important architectural element of the country or the castle.

The village has become a place of frequent tourist visits thanks to the beauty of the ancient center and the Caldora castle, an unmissable stop.

  • by car in 10 minutes along Via Cappuccini and then the Via Provinciale per Pacentro - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • free

10 - Porta Napoli

Between the fortifications and the walls, we mention and recommend Porta Napoli. It marks the entrance to the medieval city, was built between the end of the th and the beginning of the th century to meet the new defensive needs of the urban center due to the massive demographic growth that Sulmona had had during the period of Swabian dominance. Initially it was called Porta Nova, because it was located in Via Nova and defended the southern entrance of the city, moreover it was placed on the important road axis connecting with Naples, the capital of the Kingdom. Today, of the numerous gates built in various points of the city of Sulmona with defensive functions, only ten remain, four of the first walls and six of the second. Porta Napoli is considered the most characteristic among all, in the evening it is illuminated making it even more beautiful.

  • from Porta Pacentrana in less than 10 minutes on foot - Get directions
  • always accessible
  • free

What to see in Sulmona in one day: recommended itinerary

Start the day with breakfast at Caffè Tucci, a few steps from Porta Pacentrana, from which you can then set out to discover Sulmona. The itinerary that we recommend begins with Church of San Francesco della Scarpa, at the beginning of Corso Ovidio, along this long road you will also come across numerous confetti shops, the ancient local tradition. Continue until Complex of the Santissima Annunziata, the most representative monument of the city, consisting of several buildings built in different eras. Then reach the Cathedral of San Panfilo, the oldest temple and seat of the Diocese.

For lunch, stop at the Il Club dei Gourmet Restaurant. In the afternoon, visit the characteristic Pelino Museum, dedicated to the art and technology of confectionery and in particular to the tradition of Mario Pelino's family. It can be reached by car south of the city, so if you have traveled to Sulmona by car you will have an advantage for this stage. Returning from the museum to the city center, you will come across Porta Napoli, which marks the entrance to the city and is considered one of the most characteristic. Stop along the way also to admire the Church of Santa Maria della Tomba. As a last stop, visit theHermitage of Sant'Onofrio al Morrone, by car you first reach the hamlet of Badia, it takes 10 minutes, in Via Badia you will find the Abbey of Santo Spirito and the signs for the Hermitage. In a square along the way you can park and walk for 30 minutes.

In the evening, return to the center of Sulmona and stop for dinner at the Ristorante Locanda Medievale, located in Piazza XX Settembre, one of the most characteristic and themed places.

One day itinerary at a glance

  1. Breakfast at Caffè Tucci (Get directions)
  2. Church of San Francesco della Scarpa (9: 00-19: 00)
  3. Santissima Annunziata complex (palace 9: 00-13: 00, closed on Mondays; church 9: 00-13: 00, closed Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday 9: 00-18: 00)
  4. Cathedral of San Panfilo (8: 15-12: 30)
  5. Lunch at Il Club dei Gourmet Restaurant (Get directions)
  6. Pelino Museum of Confectionery Art and Technology (Mon-Sat 15: 00-18: 30)
  7. Church of Santa Maria della Tomba (11: 00-18: 00)
  8. Hermitage of Sant'Onofrio al Morrone
  9. Dinner at Locanda Medievale Restaurant (Get directions)

Where to eat in Sulmona: the best restaurants

  1. The Gourmet Club Restaurant: restaurant of fresh fish and excellent desserts, with well-finished dishes also in terms of aesthetics. Average price per person: € 35,00 Address and contacts: Via Pescara, 28 (Get directions) / tel: 0864 212859
  2. The Cellar of Biffi: dishes created with great care and quality ingredients, excellent selection of all products and wines. Average price per person: € 30,00 Address and contacts: Via Barbato, 1 (Get directions) / tel: 0864 380588
  3. Medieval Inn Restaurant: the most characteristic place in Sulmona, the place is all medieval themed, from the decorations on the walls to the tables and clothes of the waiters. Average price per person: € 40,00 Address and contacts: Piazza XX Settembre, 24 (Get directions) / tel: 0864 55533
  4. Il Vecchio Muro Restaurant Pizzeria: restaurant located in the center of Sulmona with dishes in the name of pure tradition, natural and tasty at the same time. Average price per person: € 35,00 Address and contacts: Via Manlio D'Eramo, 20 / B (Get directions) / tel: 0864 50595

What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Sulmona

The nightlife of the city of Sulmona is quite developed and offers various opportunities to spend your evening in some club with evenings with live music or DJ sets. If you are looking for real discos, we recommend you move towards Pescara.
Most of the clubs are concentrated in the historic center of Sulmona, in fact if you walk along Ovid Course you will surely find a place to have a cocktail or a good craft beer at the end of the day. Here we propose three.

The best pubs, clubs and discos

  • Hollywood Freaks: located in the historic center behind Piazza XX Settembre, it is one of the landmarks of Sulmona's nightlife, recommended for an aperitif and evenings with live music and DJ sets / Address: Via Carrese, 9/11 (Get directions)
  • Soulkitchen: a few steps from the cathedral, it is another of the most popular places for nightlife, it offers excellent craft beers and cocktails during the organized evenings / Address: Via Alessandro Volta, 8 (Get directions)
  • Lumière House: cozy and very large place, also enriched by maxi-screens where you can follow the departures, suitable for both young people and families, excellent for spending the evening drinking a few beers / Address: Via Michele Torcia, 9 (Get directions)

Plan your stay in Sulmona: info and useful tips

  • it can be reached from L'Aquila in just over an hour by car, while Pescara is 50 minutes away. It also has a railway station where trains from Rome, Pescara, Terni and L'Aquila arrive
  • Getting around: on foot, the center of Sulmona is a limited traffic area and is quite small
  • Where to park: the Piazza Garibaldi car park (€ 0,50 / h, not available on Wednesday and Saturday mornings), or the Santa Chiara car park (€ 1,00 / h the first hour and € 0,50 from the second hour)
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 35,00 per room -
  • What to see in the surroundings: Pacentro (6 km), Cansano (12 km), Introdacqua (6 km), Caramanico Terme (40 km)
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