Abruzzo: Spectacular Sulmona, Part 2

Abruzzo’s spectacular Sulmona captivates and wedges itself as a special place in your heart!

Where is Sulmona?

Have you heard of Italy’s Sulmona?

Lucky enough to be invited to spend a few days over Easter in Sulmona for a catch-up with a friend from volunteering days in Thailand, gladly dust off my daypack and set out on my way from Calabria, southern Italy.

Sulmona map, Abruzzo, Italy, Europe

Check out how to travel to Sulmona independently in my post: Abruzzo’s Sulmona: Bus, Eat, Sleep.


What to see?

Quaint piazzas, gothic churches, a stunning medieval aqueduct, Easter festivities, and a plethora of shops are a start. But don’t forget the famous Confetti and gastronomic indulgences – also some of Sulmona’s trademarks.

Part 1 of my Sulmona post is an exploring walking guide. And, takes you through a tour of absorbing this wonderful city while experiencing ancient sights.


Cathedrals and Churches

With over 20 churches and a cathedral, you can easily spend a day on a separate walking tour seeking out Sulmona’s religious architecture.

Church of Santa Maria della Tomba

Dating back to the 13th century and considered one of the most important religious buildings of the city, it’s noted that the Church of Santa Maria della Tomba ‘was built on the ruins of an ancient temple of Jupiter‘.

Church of Santa Maria della Tomba, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy Europe
Church of Santa Maria della Tomba

Local scholars also noted that part of where the church was built, later became Ovid’s home.

Church of San Francesco di Paola

The building of the Church of San Francesco di Paola and the convent commenced in 1620. Expanded in 1662, was damaged by the 1706 earthquake, and later rebuilt and expanded in 1742.

Church of San Francesco di Paola, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy Europe
Chiesa di San Francesco di Paola

San Francesco della Scarpa

Completed in 1241, San Francesco della Scarpa along via Panfilo Mazara 13, was expanded with the intent to be “the most important medieval Franciscan church of Abruzzo”.

San Francesco della Scarpa, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy Europe
Grand entrance

With its structural collapse over several earthquakes, the rebuilding during the 18th century no longer resembles the Angevin period.


Another side of Sulmona

Cross the Ponte Capograssi (bridge) to Sulmona’s eastern side for a contrasting and contemporary taste of this diverse city.

Iron and hand-carved wooden sculptures from the 2000 & Beyond – Opera di Franco Iezzi sit in a small park that provides a respite spot amidst apartments and more shops.

Franco Iezzi sculptures, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy, Europe
Wood and iron converge

For world peace day, an identical sculpture of Sulmona’s 3 rings resides in Bethlehem (Palestine), uniting both cities in peace. The impossibly perched rings signify the three monotheistic religions: Jewish, Christian, and Islamic.

Franco Iezzi sculptures, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy, Europe
2000 & Beyond

Another son of Sulmona and remembered with this impressive Bust – Giuseppe Capograssi the philosopher, jurist, and member of the Constitutional Court.

Giuseppe Capograssi Bust, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy, Europe
Bust

You can find the Bust on your right after crossing Ponte Capograssi.

Towering snow-capped mountains continue to envelop Sulmona wherever you stroll in this elegant city.

Apennine Mountains, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy, Europe
Apennine Mountains

Ambling through Sulmona’s streets, you can’t help but notice many shops and stalls bursting with glossy vividly-coloured flowers, lady beetles, and other curios. They’re all edible and named Confetti.


Confetti

Famed for the traditional confectionery, Confetti – sugar-coated almonds – Sulmona is home to these scrumptious sweets, which are typically handed out on special occasions such as weddings and baptisms.

Confetti, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy, Europe
Artful Confetti

These days Confetti are bite-size artful creations and different from when I was growing up. Only pastel pink, blue, yellow, and of course white, were available in Australia.

Stop at La Confetteria Del Corso along Ovidio N. 170, for a gourmet selection of Confetti too pretty to eat. Or, why not visit the world-famous Pelino Confetti store and museum? In operation since 1783 and still in the confetti-making business.

Confetti, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy, Europe
Glossy creations

Loads of these delicious crunchy morsels containing chocolate and unusual berry selections tempt the passerby, with their vibrant displays dazzling quaint shop windows and entrances.

Confetti, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy, Europe
Confetti adaptations

On first setting eyes on these beautiful and alluring multicoloured works of art, you think they’re not edible, and only for decoration. Think again. Every tiny skerrick of these delightful shapes is edible.

I defy anyone to leave Sulmona without something confetti – just too irresistible!


Street scenes

Sulmona offers wonderful candid street scenes, which I’m sharing a few with you today.

Barber Shop, Street scenes, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy, Europe
Sulmona barber

Terre D’Amore setting up against an ancient backdrop for an intimate concert later in the evening. Events run from April to September.

Terre D'Amore, San Francesco della Scarpa, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy, Europe
Behind San Francesco della Scarpa’s entrance

Splendid ancient and picturesque alleyways await those that dare to deviate from timeworn Corso Ovidio.

Alleyway street scene, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy, Europe
Framed

An extremely photogenic city, Sulmona offers numerous alluring photo opportunities.

Aqueduct archway in Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy, Europe
Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi

The Easter period offers many interesting activities in Sulmona to fill your hours.

Street scenes, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy, Europe
Serenity

Including, a marvellous unexpected light show tonight.


Light show

Not knowing that Sulmona is hosting the Lamp On – Simone illumina la città superb light show this evening, only realised this by the colourful signs dotted around the city, hinting that this event is not to be missed.

Lamp On is a fundraiser to buy a new ultrasound machine for the CPR department in Sulmona’s hospital. And, to “celebrate the life and passion of Simone Lotito”, who passed away 5 months ago. The 22-year-old Simone was a photography and light technician that illuminated Sulmona. The city mourned Simone’s death.

  • Celestino V statue, Lamp On, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy
  • Basilica della Santissima Annunziata, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy
  • Fontanone, Lamp On, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy, Europe
  • Basilica della Santissima Annunziata, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy
  • Lamp On logo - Simone illumina la città, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy
  • Basilica della Santissima Annunziata, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy

The dramatic light show starts with a walk from Piazza Tresca and continues along Corso Ovidio. As hordes gather in unison, sections of the city become alive with breathtaking light displays, illuminating Sulmona’s ancient monuments.

This video by MajaMé Musica Teatro Danza gives a taste of the preparation and the night’s event, although it’s in Italian.


Day trips from Sulmona

Sulmona is an excellent base from which to explore Abruzzo and offers a plethora of day trips for your enjoyment.

Gagliano

If you have a couple of days or even just half a day to spare for sightseeing around Sulmona’s outskirts, then make your way to the quaint sleepy village of Gagliano. At just over half an hour away, this village is definitely not on the Abruzzo milk run and offers a truly local relaxed feel. Separate post to come on Gagliano.

Campo 78

An unusual day trip but also for the military buffs out there, take time to venture to the infamous Campo 78. Sadly, I only discovered information about Campo 78 after leaving Sulmona.

This ex-POW camp held prisoners captured in North Africa during WWII – as many as 3,000 British and Commonwealth officers. And, also Austrian prisoners during WWI.


Leaving Sulmona

Although Sulmona is beckoning to stay a while longer, it’s a little too expensive over Easter – need to return to Calabria’s Cosenza.

Sulmona to Naples

Today, the pseudo-Flix 11:00hrs bus arrives on via Mazzini Ospedale 15 minutes late and is completely full.

Only half an hour into the journey, the bus veers off the highway and stops for the 20-minute coffee break.

Bus route from Sulmona to Naples, Abruzzo, Italy Europe

Scheduled to arrive in the Naples’ Metropark Centrale at 13:50hrs, hope that this bus isn’t late as the connecting bus to Cosenza leaves at 16:15hrs.

Bus panorama on bur from Sulmona to Naples, Abruzzo, Italy, Europe
Bus panorama

Naples to Cosenza

The second Flix bus leaves Naples at 16:15hrs and settles in for the journey along the long highway south to Cosenza.

On this trip, the Flix bus ticket comes with a 10% discount voucher for food. Although stopping at the Autogrill Sala Cosilina Ovest, we discover that the discount voucher isn’t valid.

Bus route from Naples to Cosenza, Calabria, Italy Europe

Expect to stop at the Autogrill for 20 minutes before you’re on the road again. The conductor hands out a tiny packet of snacks with a plastic cup filled with water.

Tip:

I suggest that you bring your own food for both bus trips, or at least buy something at the train station in Naples.

Changing at the out-of-the-way Firmo interchange along the highway, we swap buses for the remaining 40-minute bus trip to arrive in Cosenza’s Autostazione at 20:30hrs, only 10 minutes late. Impressive for 3 bus trips in one day in southern Italy.

If you want to know how the bus trips getting from Cosenza in Southern Italy’s Calabria went, then check next week’s post – Abruzzo’s Sulmona: Bus, Eat, Sleep.


After only spending a few days in this marvellous and memorable city, there’s still so much more to discover than what I’ve shared in this post. Must return one day.

Visit Nilla’s Photography for more global images. More posts on Italy.


More Sulmona chapters

Check out more of my Abruzzo posts for great free travel tips and fabulous photos!

Street scene in Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy, Europe
Timeless corridor

30 responses to “Abruzzo: Spectacular Sulmona, Part 2”

  1. Kelle Hansche Avatar

    Awesome 🙂

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thanks and glad you enjoyed this post. 🙂

  2. LuLu B - Calabrisella Mia Avatar

    The Church of San Francesco di Paola looks like it just snuggled itself into place – or maybe it’s just the angle of the shot! Sulmona seems to have a bit of everything – churches, modern art, gorgeous scenery.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Ha, ha, maybe it’s the angle of the shot. 😉
      You really need to visit Sulmona – I’m sure you’d love it!

  3. Lokendrapal Avatar

    Wow Photos are very beautifully captured and your travel to sulmona nicely presented to us. Loved it.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you Lokendra for the great feedback – much appreciated!
      I’m happy that you enjoyed this post and hopefully I’ve introduced to a different part of beautiful Italy.

  4. Abirbhav Avatar

    I have a bad habit of underestimating distances on maps which makes me learn things the hard way during the actual journey.. 😛
    Sulmona to Rome and Naples seem to be quite close by on map, but I am pretty sure that won’t be the case while driving or riding a train between these two cities (btw, learnt about another “illusion” of the maps, which make Japan look smaller than Germany, while in reality, they are equally huge)
    Anyways, I loved this post of yours as well.. Sulmona indeed is idyllic and picturesque place offering a nice place to relax, and far away from the hustle bustle of Rome or Naples. I shall indeed visit Sulmona whenever I am in that region.
    Loved this post as usual, Nilla.. <3 😊😊

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Ciao Abir,
      Va bene?
      Funny how the map illusion tricks the mind! I love maps and the reason I add them to my posts, but also think it helps readers understand the destination better – my take on it anyway.
      Thank you for the great feedback and hope that you get to see Sulmona one day – it’s definitely worth it! My next post explains how to get to Sulmona. 🙂

      1. Abirbhav Avatar

        Ciao Nilla..
        Lo sto bene, Grazie. Spero che anche tu stia andando bene.. 😊😊
        Of course, maps are indispensable. I carry Metro maps in my pocket whenever I am travelling within a city. When outside, Google Maps help a lot.. 😊
        Thank you Nilla for your good wishes.. 😊😊 Hope you are able to return to Italy soon and continue your explorations.. 😊
        Eagerly awaiting your next post, as well as your feedback on mine.. 😊😊

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Ciao Abir,
        Tutto a posto qui. 😉
        You’re Italian is coming along.
        Hope so too Abir, but time will tell when next we can travel. 🙂

      3. Abirbhav Avatar

        Buono a sapersi che sono stato in grado di fare uno scherzo all’esperto, perché ho usato Google Translator.. 😉 😂😂

        Hope you don’t get angry Nilla..
        I like the Italian language though and I shall learn the same before I start off with Italy 2.0.. 😊😊
        We will travel soon.. More than half of 2020 is still alive.. 😊😊

      4. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Ha, ha, angry? Not at all and here I was, impressed by your Italian language skills. Italian grammar is difficult to master.
        Absolutely! Still have the second-half of 2020. 😉

      5. Abirbhav Avatar

        It may be difficult, yes. But if I am there in Italy for a long haul, I better learn Italian upto a decent level.. 😊😊
        Yes, more than half of 202 is still left.. 😊

      6. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Of course, knowing how to converse gives a traveller a richer experience and learning some Italian would be great. But, Italy is one of those countries that if you try and speak the language, it’s greatly appreciated. 🙂
        Indeed it is…

      7. Abirbhav Avatar

        Of course Nilla.. I have seen that in Italy.. I mean I knew just “Buongiorno” and “Grazie” back then, but I saw that the people seemed to be happy hearing even that from a foreigner..!!
        What you say is right.. Local language must be learned, atleast upto the basic level where you can freely converse / read / write. Difference in local cultures is what makes the place alluring and worthy of a visit.. 🙂
        This effect is much pronounced in Russia as well.. People seem to be genuinely happy to hear one try to speak Russian.. 😊😊 (although I know Russian a bit more than I know other non-Indian languages)
        And if nothing works, the sign language always helps.. 😉

      8. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        I think if you decide to living in a different country to your own, then yes, speaking, reading, and writing at a basic level should be learnt. Although when travelling, speaking enough to be involved in a conversation is sometimes all we can ask for as some languages are difficult. So, speaking a few words at lease breaks the ice. I don’t think that anyone in any country ‘expects’ foreigners to speak their language fluently, but they do expect foreigners to speak a few words and not go up to a local and speak English. 😉
        Wow, that’s impressive as I imagine that Russian is a difficult language to learn. Of course, sign language delivered with a smile (not a smirk) always works…

      9. Abirbhav Avatar

        You are very much right Nilla.. 😊😊 The efforts one makes to speak a few words is appreciated.. And it does no harm.. 😊
        And yes, sign language or any language sans the smirk helps.. 😊😊 Smile is obviously a great catalyst to break the ice.. 😊😊
        I would however emphasize on the ability to read a foreign language because most of the times, you will encounter written advice, signs, directions, hoardings etc while traveling. Understanding what’s written on them is thus crucial.. Again, I can vouch for this from my experience of Russia.. 😊😊

      10. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Ha, ha, very true about understanding how to read signs, but when it’s an Asian language, I’ve no hope!
        Like I said, I’m impressed wth your Russian language skills! 🙂

      11. Abirbhav Avatar

        Well, Russian script is quite easy to understand, and being a European language itself, it has similarities in many aspects with English and some other European languages. Of course, large differences are there as well.. 🙂

        You are right. Understanding Asian languages is a different ball game altogether..

      12. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Interesting point, which I never knew.
        Well for me, Asian languages are a little tricky. 😉

  5. Dave Ply Avatar

    Cool looking town. Although the perspective of the Apennine Mountains looks like they’re well set up to dump an avalanche on the town, come the winter months. Still, I bet it’d be hard to leave without a confetti colored smile.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Yes, it’s a gorgeous area.
      The mountain are very close. Not knowing about snow that much, how far can an avalanche travel?
      The confetti are soo addictive, especially the ones containing chocolate.
      Hope you and your family are well. 🙂

  6. the eternal traveller Avatar

    If we can’t go there for real, this post is the next best thing! Beautiful.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      What lovely feedback Carol! Sulmona is such a beautiful city and would love to return one day…

  7. Mohamad Toutounji Avatar

    This part was awesome Nilla
    Keep going

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you Mohamad for the great feedback!

  8. Poorwa Vishwakarma Avatar

    I was waiting for Sulmona, Part 2. Lovely!!!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you Poorwa and hope that this post didn’t disappoint…

  9. Librarylady Avatar

    Wow, what a great article. I’d love to visit here. Your photo of the tower of the San Fresesco. Church is nice. I can’t believe how they built huge things so close together.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Geanie, thanks for the great feedback – much appreciated!
      Have you checked out Part 1 of Sulmona?
      It is amazing how such beautiful architecture was built so close together and centuries later, still standing. Wonder if our modern buildings will be standing in centuries to come…

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