Visit Civitella del Tronto
Civitella del Tronto is a remarkable cliff-top town in the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park of Italy. It is home to the largest fortress in Italy and the second largest in Europe. The village is one of Italy's most beautiful villages.
Explore Civitella del Tronto
At first sight Civitella is dominated by the huge squat fortress occupying the entire hillside above the pretty village below. Its brooding presence is made even more dramatic by the backdrop of high mountains surrounding the village. This fortress was the last to fall to the armies of Emanuele I.
Although its origins are no doubt older the Fortress of Civitella that we see today dates back to the 16th century when it was transformed by Philip II of Habsburg, King of Spain. Further important changes took place in the 18th century but then the fortress was abandoned and largely destroyed by the locals. However a major renovation project took place 1975-1985 and the fortress can be visited. The fortress is open every day except Christmas day.
A visit allows you to explore the ramparts, cisterns, barracks, the ruins of the Governor's palace and the Saint James church. The 360° views from the fortress over three different mountain ranges as well as the village below and out over the Adriatic sea are absolutely stunning.
After admiring the fortress and its views wander down the hill and explore all the streets and alleys of this gorgeous small town. Its stone buildings date from Medieval and Renaissance times and narrow paved roads and interesting architectural details on the houses all add to the charm.
There are plenty of cafes and bars allowing you to take time over your visit and really savour the peaceful atmosphere.
As well as its fortress the town has some important religious buildings. The Abbey of Santa Maria in Montesanto was one of the most powerful abbeys in the region in the 12th century but its decline began in the 15th century and continued over the centuries. It has recently been restored to its 13th century state and is one of the most beautiful monuments in the area.
The convent of Santa Maria dei Lumi sits on a hill opposite the town and has suffered during each of the sieges and attacks that the town has endured. It was largely rebuilt in the 19th century but it has a Romanesque poritco and a polychrome wooden statue of the Madonna and child which is also in Romanesque style.
The Gran Sasso National Park has plenty of walks to explore in order to savour the wonderful mountain scenery of the area. The other nearby mountain ranges also offer some stunning scenery to explore.
For a totally different landscape the Monti della Laga is a mountain range made of sandstone rather than limestone and so its mountains are more gentle, rounded shapes covered in vegetatio - often forests of fir or beech. The mountains are also full of fast flowing streams and pretty waterfalls.