Sulmona is an important local town (population around 25000) in the centre of the L'Aquila province, Abruzzo region of central Italy and overlooked by the Morrone mountains.
Despite a violent earthquake that hit the city in 1706 and several other earthquakes across the centuries there is a great deal to enjoy in Sulmona - strolling through the streets is a pleasure and there are lots of individual sights to admire.
Your visit to Sulmona will centre along the Corso Ovidio that runs through the heart of the old town, past the cathedral, many of the important squares and other points of interest.
The highlight of your visit is the Palazzo Annunziata and the surrounding area. This palazzo dates from the 14th century and has various decorative features on the facade - most notably statues and an ornate door and window carvings. The palace also houses the Sulmona Civic Museum with various exhibits of local interest.
The decorative facade of the baroque Church of Saint Annunziata can be seen next door, and you can also see the remains of a Roman Villa, dating from 2000 years ago and with some very impressive mosaics and decorative paintings, in this part of Sulmon.
The cathedral of San Panfilo was originally constructed in the 11th century on the location of an Ancient Roman Temple. Architecture enthusiasts will be fascinated by the cathedral which has been damaged by earthquakes, rebuilt and modified, on numerous occasions over the last 1000 years.
The rest of your visit to Sulmona will typically include simply strolling through the old centre taking in the atmosphere.
The various piazzas that you will come across, most of which have buildings of interest, include the Piazza XX Septembre, a popular square containing a bronze statue of Ovid, and the Piazza Garibaldi, a very large open square with a baroque fountain called Fontana de Vecchio and various buildings of note, and overlooked by a rather large aquaduct and the Morrone mountains
Note: the street named Corso Ovidio and the statue of Ovid are both here because of the poet Ovid who was born (43 BC) and lived in the town. Ovid was one of the best known Ancient Roman poets, and his most famous work was 'metamorphoses'.
While strolling along Corso Ovidio you will undoubtedly be distracted from admiring the many fine buildings and palazzos en route by the chance to indulge in window shopping (or even real shopping!). See also the street called via dell'Ospedale which also has many ancient buildings of interest.
The Palazzo Tabassi was built in the 15th century and still belongs to the same family! It has a pretty courtyard.
The weekly market in Sulmona is held in Piazza Garibaldi on Wednesday and Saturday mornings and is a particularly lively time to visit. The 'passeggiata' is still a thriving tradition in Sulmona and if you head for the Corso Ovidio between 6 and 8 you can join in with the evening stroll.
Sugared almonds (known as confetti) are produced in the town and the reason for its wealth - since they are now distributed at most Catholic weddings across Europe. You will see many shops selling these in Sulmona. There is even a museum dedicated to confetti - the Museo dell'Arte Confetteria in Sulmona.
The tradition of throwing confetti at weddings started with the Italian habit of throwing the small almond sweets produced in Sulmona. About 100 years ago a variant on this practice - throwing small pieces of coloured paper that represent the original coloured sweets - took over in many other countries from a longstanding tradition of throwing rice at a wedding.
Places to visit near Sulmona
The Sulmona confetti factory and museum is a short walk from the centre of Sulmona and as well as the interesting candy-making exhibits in the museum you can visit the factory shop and buy some Sulmona confetti to take home with you.
The 13th century hermitage at Badia Morronese is in a dramatic location up the side of a mountain a few kilometres from Sulmona.
There is a great deal for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy in the Maiella National Park, a very scenic hilly-mountain region with many walks also through the wooded valleys and opportunities for nature lovers.
The popular ski-resort of Roccarosa is nearby.
Map of Sulmona and places to visit
Places to visit near Sulmona
See more places nearby in the Abruzzo guide