Situated in a valley on the left bank of the Aterno River, at an altitude of 2,150 feet (721 m a.s.l.), it is dominated by the highest mountains of the Appennines, the Gran Sasso to the east and the Velino-Sirente to the west, and on clear days looking south east also the white profile of the Majella can be seen.
There are several churches and monuments of historic and artistic value, the heritage of its rich medieval past, and we might have a look at the most significant of them walking through the many picturesque alleys. A good place to start is the Fountain of the Ninety-Nine Spouts, almost a symbol of the city; then let's follow the road upwards and reach San Pietro di Coppito, and a little distance also San Silvestro, which had a beautiful painting donated by Raffaello Sanzio, now in Madrid.
It might be a good idea to stop for lunch at a "trattoria", and then move on to the majestic Spanish Fortress (familiarly called "Castello") surrounded by a wide green park of tall trees and pebbled lanes; the castle hosts the Museo Nazionale d'Abruzzo.
A couple of hundred metres and here's the Basilica of San Bernardino, the greatest Renaissance church in Abruzzo, with its imposing dome, and, walking along the Portici di San Bernardino, we find ourselves in Piazza Palazzo, with the Townhall, a Clock Tower and the statue of Roman historian Sallustius who was born at nearby Amiternum.
There are probably hundreds of people around, since the Portici is where old and young meet at certain hours. At the far end of the Portici we can find Piazza Duomo, where every weekday a market is held. And now let's follow the indications to the Church of Santa Maria in Collemaggio, the most outstanding example of Abruzzi romanesque architecture, at the end of a long boulevard just outside the city.