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L'Aquila Abruzzo Collemaggio Basilica
L'Aquila Abruzzo well in courtyard
L'Aquila Abruzzo baroque church

L'Aquila Culture

The ancient streets of L'Aquila are peppered with churches. The neighborhood around the Piazza del Duomo is one of L'Aquila's most attractive. The Duomo (1297) was rebuilt after being damaged by earthquakes and has a dull neoclassical facade . The 13th century Church of Santa Giusta has a nice portal and a rose window.

 

In Viale Collemaggio you can find the Santa Maria di Collemaggio Church. It was built in the 13th century by the hermit Pietro Dal Morrone who later became Pope Celestine V. The Basilica is the biggest in Abruzzo and has a Latin cross layout. The complex is comprised of a number of styles which are the consequences not only of the length of time taken to build the place, but also because of the vast number of restorations it has undergone. Today it has a monumental facade characterized by the geometric inlays of the pink and white blocks, decorated by two pilaster strips that create three areas and a frame. In the central area there is a great rosette with a double row of mullions and trefoil arcs. In the chapel to the right of the apse is the tomb of the founder who, in 1313, was canonized as Saint Peter Celestine.

Another church to visit is San Bernardino Church. This is a Renaissance Church, erected in St. Bernardino of Siena's honor by his Aquilan disciple St. Giovanni di Capestrano. The elegant facade, finished between 1525 and 1542 by the architect Cola d'Amatrice, incorporates in the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian styles, which were the spirit and fashion of the day that tended towards an exultation of the Classical Period. The interior, after the catastrophic earthquake of 1703, was re-decorated in Baroque style. The body of Saint Bernardino was placed in the mausoleum situated in the right aisle which was built by Silvestro d' Aquila, pupil of Donatello,.

 

In L'Aquila there aren't only gorgeous churches but there is also a magnificent 16th century fortress, called the Castello. It was built during the Spanish domination at the request of the Emperor Charles V who is remembered on the grand doorway crowned by Charles V's two-headed eagle. Used in the past as a military arsenal to suppress a possible revolt of the people and also as a prison, it now contains the National Museum of Abruzzo, an Auditorium, a Conference Hall and the office responsible for the upkeep of Public Monuments and Galleries.

Another famous monument and symbol of the city is the medieval Fontana delle 99 cannelle: a fountain with 99 spouts. It was built in 1272 and stands in a pink and white checkered courtyard in a corner of the walls near the Porta Rivera. The fountain's water flows through the mouths of 93 moldering grotesque heads and six unadorned spouts, representing the lord of the castles who contributed to form the city. Its originality is also in the fact that the source of water supplying the fountain is unknown.

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