L'Aquila, Province of L'Aquila, Abruzzo
- Altitude: 714 m a.s.l
- Surface area: 466,96 kmq
- Population: ca. 67000 inhabitants
- Postal code: 67100
- Dialing Area Code: +39 0862
- How to reach it: by train, from Terni - Sulmona; by bus, from Rome and all over Abruzzo; by road, A24 from Rome, exit L'Aquila Est or L'Aquila Ovest (100 km); Via Salaria from Rome (144 km).
- The comune includes the following frazioni:
- L'Aquila Nord: Aragno, Collebrincioni, Assergi, Camarda, Fonte Cerreto, San Pietro della Ienca.
- L'Aquila Est: Paganica, Pescomaggiore, Bazzano, Tempera, San Gregorio, Onna, Monticchio, Palombara di Bagno, Sant'Elia.
- L'Aquila Sud: Bagno (Civita di Bagno, Bagno Grande-Piccolo, Vallesindola), Pianola, Roio (Poggio, Colle, Roio Piano), Collefracido.
- L'Aquila Ovest: Pettino-Pile, Coppito, Sassa (Colle, Pagliare, Collemare, Poggio Santa Maria), Civitatomassa, Arischia, Rocca Santo Stefano, Preturo (Cese, Colle, Scalo), San Vittorino, Cermone.
History - Frederick II of Swabia
There were already small settlements on the area, four of which - S. Giusta, S. Marciano, S. Pietro e Santa Maria Paganica - often at war with each other, decided to set aside their own differences and fulfil the decision of the king of Sicily. By 1254 L'Aquila was born, thanks to the common work of some hundreds families. In 1257 Pope Alexander VI moved there the bishopry from nearby Forcona.
History - Manfred of Swabia
L'Aquila was abandoned for seven years until Manfred himself was defeated and killed in a battle near Benevento, in Campania, by Charles II of Anjou, who authorized the rebuilding of the city and ordered the construction of high walls all around it. Lucchisino Aleta, a Florentine aristocrat, was appointed Captain of L'Aquila by Charles of Anjou and started the construction of the massive six-foot wide, four-mile long city walls. In the walls there were 86 sighting towers, which forbade enemies from entering the city. There were four doors leading into each of the four quarters of the city, which still today maintain the original names: Santa Giusta, Santa Maria Paganica, San Pietro a Coppito, San Marciano. In the following centuries more doors were opened, as can be seen by the 15th-century map of the city quarters. Each quarter had its own banner and a representation of young knights. Nowadays the ancient banners are exhibited only on very special occasions, such as the Procession of Holy Friday, when they follow the city standard.
Charles II of Anjou and the Reconstruction
That is also why number 99 is so important in the architecture of L'Aquila, and a very peculiar monument, the Fountain of the 99 Spouts, was given its name to celebrate the ancient origin of the town.
In 1294 the city was the seat of the Conclave in which hermit Peter from Morrone was elected Pope under the name of Celestine V. After his consecration in the Church of St.Mary of Collemaggio, the annual religious rite of the pardon (Perdonanza) was established.
History - from the 14th to the 15th century
During this period it was a textile center and became famous for its international trade in wool, silk, and saffron. In the early 15th century the city was also able to defeat the armies of Braccio da Montone, who wanted to conquer the city in order to establish his own personal kingdom in central Italy. The powerful enemy was finally defeated in a battle near Bazzano (5 km east of L'Aquila) and received a fatal wound. In 1482 a pupil of Gutenberg set up in L'Aquila one of the first printing presses in Italy.
History - from the 16th to the 18th century
Beginning in the 16th century the city declined in power and importance, and the decline increased after the disastrous 1703 earthquake, which, along with other earthquakes in 1315, 1349, 1452, 1501, and 1646, left a deep mark in the history and architecture of the town. In 1799 Napoleonic armies invaded the kingdom of Naples, seized all the gold and silver of the city, and dispersed the remains of Saints Celestine and Bernardine.
History - Modern Times
On 6 April 2009, at 3:32 am, an earthquake hit the city, taking a heavy toll of victims and destroying or damaging a large part of the historic center and houses. As of 2020, the reconstruction of the suburbs is well advanced with most inhabitants having returned to their homes, but the majority of monuments are still under renovation, with many medieval areas still off-limits.
What to see
- The Fountain of the 99 Spouts
- The Spanish Fortress with Museo Nazionale d'Abruzzo
- The Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio
- The Piazza del Duomo
- The Basilica of San Bernardino da Siena
- The church of San Pietro
- The church of San Silvestro
- Suggested itinerary for a guided tour, written in 1999, 10 years before the 2009 earthquake.
Events and Festivities
- Venerdì Santo: Processione del Cristo Morto
- 20 May: celebrations for San Bernardino
- 10 June: patron San Massimo
- 28 - 29 August: Perdonanza Celestiniana.
Where to stay
Genealogy and Links
- Italian version: Città dell'Aquila
- People researching in L'Aquila
- Newspaper articles on L'Aquila
- Official website of the Comune dell'Aquila.
- From Wikipedia: The earthquake of 6 April 2009.