Sulmona Italy Travel Guide

Sulmona Italy Travel Guide
A Vagabond Life

Sulmona Italy Travel Guide A Vagabond Life

Sulmona is an ancient town in the Abruzzo region of Italy. Set in the Valle Peligna it is a popular destination for skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer.

First noted in the times of the Second Punic War (218–201 BC), when its territory was destroyed by Hannibal, although the town was spared. Sulmona went on to become a a large municipal town during ancient times. The Roman poet OVID was born in Sulmona and a bronze statue stands in Piazza Settembre XX in honor of him.

The Christian era began in Sulmona in the 3rd century with a bishop being in place in the city by the 5th century. Sulmona became a free city under the Normans. In the 12th century the Emperor Frederick II commissioned an aqueduct to be built which was one of the most important constructions of the era in Abruzzo. This beautiful piece of architecture holds pride of place in the town to this day. The city continued to grow with new walls being added in the 14th century and in the 16th century a flourishing paper industry was started.

In 1706 an earthquake destroyed much of the city however fortunately a number of historic buildings survived including Church of Santa Maria della Tomba, the Palazzo Annunziata, the Aqueduct and the Gothic portal on Corso Ovidio. The city was re-built in the Baroque style of the times and this style remains today.

Sulmona went on to be an important rail hub due to its location between Rome and the Adriactic sea. It was due to this strategic position that the old town, its station and industrial area was heavily bombed in World War 2. Just outside the town was Camp 78, a POW camp that housed British and Commonwealth soldiers captured in North Africa along with Austrians captured in the Isonzo and Trentino campaigns.

Today Sulmona is a lively city with bars, cafes and restaurants and a wonderful place to visit.


Sulmona Italy Table of Contents
Sulmona Italy Map

How To Get To Sulmona Italy

Getting To Sulmona 

Train: Trenitalia has trains running several times a day from Roma Termini to Sulmona.

Plane: The closest airport is at Pesacra however it is simpler to fly into Rome and catch the train from there.

Car: Driving to Sulmona is the most straight forward way to  arrive in the city. It is also handy to have a car to explore the surrounding villages and countryside. There is free parking just outside the city walls and several piad parking locations.

Where to eat and drink In Sulmona Italy

Things To See & Do In Sulmona Italy

Aquadotto Medieval Sulmona

Aquadotto Medieval Sulmona

The aquaduct of Sulmona was built in the 12th century to bring water to the town from the Gizio River. It is an incredible piece of architecture consisting of arches supported pylons made from local limestone that fed the local mills, artisans, and supplied water to the city fountains.

Palazzo Annunziata and Chiesa della SS. Annunziata.

Palazzo Annunziata and Chiesa della SS. Annunziata.

Dating from the fifteenth century the Palace is a beautiful example of late medieval/early Renaissance architecture that fortunately survived the earthquake of 1706 however has been significantly modified over the years. Its facade contains fine sculpture and tracery work. Inside the Palazzo is a museum showcasing the Roman history of the city as well as various artefacts. The church is a fine example of Baroque architecture and has a beautiful interior and bell tower.

The church was founded in 1320 and rebuilt in the 1600’s and then again after the 1706 earthquake to give it the Baroque style it has today. The navel is divided into three and is decorated with paintings and frescos, the wooden choir was built between 1577 and 1579 and the organs in 1753.

The bell tower (built between 1565 and 1590 sits at just over 65 meters high.

Sulmona Market

Sulmona Market

There has been a market in Piazza Garabaldi for centuries. Friendly stall holders sell locally growth produce, fish and delicious salumi and cheeses. Look out for the famous Abruzzo Red Garlic.

Market days: Wednesday and Saturday mornings.

Old Town

Sulmona Old Town

Wander the ancient streets of Sulmona, enjoy a coffee or aperitivo in at one of the many cafes in the town or dine at one of the excellent restaurants in the town.



The Confetti of Sulmona is traditionally almond covered sweets although today these sweet treats come with multiple different fillings. In the 15th century, the nuns at Santa Chiara monastery wrapped pieces of almond candy in silk and gave it to noble brides and a tradition began that lives on today. Confetti stores can be found throughout Sulmona and the goods are shipped all over the world.

Church of San Francesco della Scarpa

The church was built in 1241 and enlarged in 1290 to become the largest and most important medieval Franciscan church in Abruzzo. Successive earthquakes damaged the church and today all that stands is the polygonal perimeter of the aspes and the monumental side entrance. 

Chiesa di San Maria della Tomba

Dating from 1076 on the footings of a temple dedicated to Jupiter the name comes from a pagan tomb it is built over.  Once the church of artisans, shopkeepers and traders of Sulmona and has been modified and rebuilt over the years. It is located in Piazza del Plebiscito in the historic center.

Ovid Statue

Ovid or Pūblius Ovidius Nāsō (20 March 43 BC – 17/18 AD),  was a Roman poet born in Sulmona and lived during the reign of Augustus. His poetry was imitated during the Middle Ages, and greatly influenced Western art and literature. A bronze statue of Ovid stands in Piazza Settembre XX and the main corso is named for him.

The Fountain of the Elder

The Fountain of the Elder dates from medieval times and sits at the end of the medieval aquaduct and on Corso Ovidio providing cold fresh water to passersby which is especially welcome on a hot summers day.  

Things To See & Do Around Sulmona



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