Porta Napoli dates back to the 14th century and it's one of the two doors that originally provided access to the walled town: one was Porta della Tomba (door of the tomb) and one was Porta Nuova (New door), which later changed name and became Porta Napoli, because it's in the Napoli/neaples direction. Until 1929 it was also the place where taxes were levied.
The inner facade, strangely, is nothing spectacular, but the outer one In the photo) is a gem... all decorated and adorned. At night it's particularly suggestive.
the Annunziata complex
The Annunziata complex is the most beautiful building in town - it's a church with an annex palace... all white and richly decorated. The church is the older building, dating back to 1300 - while the palace was built 200 years later.The bell tower is the highest construction in town and measures 65,5 metres.
The palace, which now hosts the tourist information office and an open air auditorium, has had many uses in the past, a hospital with pharmacy, a town hall, a court room and a public school. it is also the home of an interesting museum, the civic museum - where you cal learn all about the history of the town and the local traditions.
Ovid's statue is located in Piazza XX Settembre, a nice square in the old town. This statue is a copy of the one in Constance on the Black Sea - the place where Ovid was exiled and where he died... while Sulmona is the place where he was born, on 20 March 43 BC. His full name is Publio Ovidio Nasone and he is the author of the famous "metamorphosis". At the base of the tatue you can read the verses he dedicated to his native town: "Sulmo Mihi Patria Est, "pelignae dicar gloria gentis ego" (Sulmona is my hometown and I will be named glory by the peligna people). Peligna is the valley in which Sulmona is located.
The statue is surrounded by important buildings: the local high school (once the seat of a jesuit order), and the palace of a Venetian merchant called Giovanni dalle Palle.
Fontana del Vecchio
The Fontana del Vecchio - oin English fountain of the old man - it's a 1474 fountain built by the city's captain Polidoro Tiberti da Cesena. it's in reneissance style and bear the emblem of the Aragon family on it.
The old man is the sculpure from where the water comes from, though it looks more like a lion than an old man. The water is fresh and delicious... you'll see people there all the time, filling up their bottles.
Chiesa di San Rocco
The little church of San Rocco is easily missed, although it is located around the very central piazza garibaldi... the reason is simple: it's located a bit below the square, and you can see only the top part of it. I don't know how many times I woulked around it ando nly noticed it the last evening I was in Sulmona.
This tiny church was given to the city in1484 (before it was called san sebastiano) by the queen Joan of Aragon, who was also the princess of the city. In this little buildings the knights used to gather before jousts and tourneys, to receive their blessing
San Filippo Neri
San Filippo Neri is a church that dates back to 1315 and has a beautiful gothic facade... the pointed doorway, in particular, is very richly decorated.
There are two octagonal columns on both sides of the doorway, which bear the emblems of two local families, the Angioini family and the Sanità family. This is because they were those who gave the money for this church to be built.
On Easter Sunday it is from this church that the statue madonna comes out, before being paraded all over town.
Forget the romans - it was not them who built this waterwork system, though it may look so.
This aqueduct was built in the middle ages and it is the most imposing structure in Sulmona - and it's located in piazza garibaldi, one of the two main squares. It was built in 1256 and presents 21 arches... it's all intact. Originally there was a second aqueduct in town but that one was completely destroyed in 1706 when a terrible earthquake shook the town.
The aqueuct that we see now is 100 metres long and in the past it used to provide water to
workshops, to the city's gardens and to a small mill that now doesn't exist anymore.
San Francesco della Scarpa
San Francesco della Scarpa is a very odd and beautiful looking church... simmetry is not part of its design, and it's what makes it so special. It's attached to a house on its right side, while on its left side the wall is leaning... if you look at it from the piazza. If you only move a few feet away, from another perspective, you'll see it as completely straight.
The name is special, too - Holy Francis of the Shoe... this because the franciscan friars that used to inhabit the convent that belonged to the church, instead of the traditional sandals, wore shoes similar to clogs.
If you visit this church you should look out for the Lombardy Chapel, which is decorated by Paolo Olmo from Bergamo.
The church of Santa Chiara is not only a churhc but a monastery, too - dating back to the year 1200. However, the church as you see it now dates back to 1711. You have to go inside to see how great it is, in its baroque style with paintings by Sebastiano Conca e Altiero Salini. There's also a small art gallery in the precynt, as well as an old people's home.
A curiosity: the clarisse nuns used to inhabit this convent and it is rumoured that it is them who brought to Sulmona the art that made the city famous worldwide. the art of making sugar-coated almonds.
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