Celano is a hill top town dominated by the huge Piccolomini castle. The town rises above the Fucino valley with views over the Sirente mountains.
Celano's main attraction is the Piccolomini castle which sits at the heart of the town on the top of the hill. It is a huge rectangular building with large square towers at each of its corners and the building is surrounded by large defensive walls.
The castle dominates views over the valley below and with its backdrop of mountains makes for a picturesque view.
Building of Piccolomini castle began in the late 14th century and was finished around half a century later. The castle suffered serious damage during the earthquake of 1915. The earthquake caused lots of damage in the area, destroyed several villages and killed thousands. Restoration of the castle began 25 years later but came to a halt during the second world war. It was finally completed in the 1960s.
You can visit the castle as it is home to the Museum of Sacred Art of the Marsica (The Marsica is the name of the surrounding area) and the Celano Archaeological museum. Exhibits include iron-age armour and examples of the fishing tridents used when the Fucino lake still existed.
The Fucino valley below was once the third biggest lake in Italy but it was drained in the 19th century and is now a very fertile valley. Interestingly the draining of the lake was wrongly blamed by some people for the 1915 earthquake which was the biggest earthquake the area had seen at the time.
A wander round the town reveals a number of churches including three with with thirteenth century facades.
Walkers will want to do the trek through the Gorge of Celano (the Gole di Celano) which is an attractive 5km long gorge which is only 3m wide in places.
L'Aquila, the capital of the Abruzzo region is nearby and is home to a number of important buildings and artworks but sadly the earthquake of 2009 devastated the city and major repairs and reconstruction are still underway.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Abruzzo guide.