Translating as “The Eagle”, L’Aquila is a historic city in central Italy and the capital of the Abruzzo region. It’s perched on a hillside overlooking the Aterno River and is framed by the Apennine Mountains, which provide a setting for hiking and skiing. Baroque and Renaissance buildings cluster in its piazza-dotted historic core.
Things to do in L’Aquila
In the heart of L’Aquila is the Basilica of San Bernardino, a 15th-century church that is renowned for its monumental facade designed by Cola dell’Amatrice. Step inside to marvel at the Baroque interior that was rebuilt following an earthquake in 1703 and see the Mausoleum Camponeschi created by a pupil of Donatello, Silvestro dell’Aquila.
One of L’Aquila’s most important architectural landmarks is the Basilica di Santa Maria di Collemaggio, which is considered a masterpiece of Abruzzese Romanesque and Gothic design. Marvel at its patterned exterior constructed from pink and white stones, then stroll through the colonnaded cloister with its centrepiece fountain. A highlight of the interior is the tomb of Pope Celestine V crafted by Girolamo da Vicenza.
You can delve into the local history at the National Museum of Abruzzo, which occupies the Renaissance-style castle of Forte Spagnolo. Set across three floors, its exhibits include archaeological findings, Neapolitan paintings and religious treasures. A short walk from the National Museum of Abruzzo is the Fountain of the 99 Water Spouts, which was constructed in the 13th century with dozens of mysterious stone faces.
Getting around L’Aquila
L’Aquila is around 1.5 hours’ drive from the centre of Rome and just under two hours from Leonardo da Vinci International Airport. Trains connect from destinations across Italy to L’Aquila railway station and there are frequent buses from Rome. Local buses travel throughout L’Aquila, although the historic core is ideally explored on foot.