Here’s how to bus, eat, and sleep in Abruzzo’s spectacular Sulmona…
Where is Sulmona?
Have you heard of Italy’s Sulmona?
Before the invitation to spend a few days in this stunning city, I’d never heard of Sulmona.
Meeting a friend from the volunteering days in Thailand and his family in Sulmona for a few days. It’s Easter, so hoping that the travel there won’t present too many glitches.
So, I’m including loads of details as there are several ways of arriving:
- Train or bus to Rome, then an onward train or bus to Sulmona.
- Bus to Naples (or Salerno) then another bus to Sulmona.
Today, I’m catching the bus to Naples and then another to Sulmona. The reason? The train from Cosenza Centrale starts too late to connect to the Paola train and on to Naples.
Cosenza to Naples
It’s Easter week so everything is booking up fast and so are buses.
Booking the Flix Bus from Cosenza to Naples at the office costs €15. Returning a couple of hours later to book the return journey, the price increases to €31 as “only a couple of seats left“. This is around a 4-hour journey.
The bus arrives early and leaves on time at 06:55 am. It’s not the flashy green Flix bus, but an IAS Srl bus with a Flix sticker slapped on the side.
Part 1 of the journey
Settling into the ever-changing panorama, we veer off the highway and arrive at a bus depot in an industrial area of Firmo – around 50 minutes north of Cosenza. Swapping buses at this depot with our luggage, we finally continue to Naples.
A glass of water and a small packet of snacks are provided on the bus. Take your own food for the journey.
The highway cuts through surrounding towering hills providing wonderful Italian countryside on which to ponder, while the hours slip away.
Arriving at the busy Metropark Centrale in Naples, it’s a 3.5-hour wait until the bus to Sulmona. There isn’t much at this Metropark, No toilets, just a ticket office and a takeaway bar.
Wander the 300-metres through the car park to Stazione di Napoli Centrale (train station) where you’ll find many shops, bars, and public toilets to help you wallow away the waiting hours.
You need €1 to use the station’s toilets as none of the bars have a toilet any more, which is quite strange for Italy.
Shops and food
If you’re spending loads of time between the Metropark and the train station, then these couple of suggestions may help.
Check out La Strega at the train station for amazing chocolate products, sweet delights, and local liqueurs.
Terminal Coffee SRL
A stand-up coffee at this tiny bar in the Metropark costs €1+ and it’s convenient if you don’t want to walk the 300-metres to the train station.
Naples to Sulmona
Unable to book the return SATAM bus trip from Naples to Sulmona online using a foreign credit card, I phone the Biglietteria Vecchione office (+39 081 5630320) in Naples.
The super helpful and efficient Marco messages the payment link and tickets (€34 return) via WhatsApp.
Part 2 of the Journey
Driving out of sultry and bustling Naples – always warm in Naples – the highway pushes you northwest to Abruzzo’s coolness and tranquillity.
The last hour of the trip travels through lush-green farmland whilst absorbing the majestic Apennine mountains as a spectacular backdrop. The bus arrives at Via Mazzini Ospedale in Sulmona’s outskirts, ten minutes later.
An easy stroll of only 1.5 kilometres sees you confronted with the imposing medieval Porta Napoli. This gate marks the entrance into the old city.
Pass through Porta Napoli to experience an ancient Medieval world. Read about this gate in my Abruzzo: Spectacular Sulmona, Part 1 post.
Where to eat
With all the suggestions, you must be thinking that all I do when in Sulmona is eat. Well, that’s not far from the truth. After all, this is Italy and it is the Easter break, so there’s loads of scrumptious food around.
Panetieria Audreotti Pasticceria
Just near the Porta Napoli, this busy small local bakery serves traditional Abruzzese fresh bread, pastries, and cakes. All at local non-inflated prices.
The warm aromas arresting your senses force you to detour and beckon you to enter this patisserie.
Trattoria Don Ciccio
The lady in the Panetieria Audreotti Pasticceria recommended trying Don Ciccio on Corso Ovidio 79/81, as one of the more authentic in Sulmona.
Despite stopping by this cosy restaurant a couple of times, rammed with locals and fully booked, decide to venture further as the hunger pangs are too great. Will definitely give this place a sample next time as I’m sure it’s great.
Buonvento Vino e Cucina
On Piazza Plebiscito 21/22, this is by far my favourite restaurant. The ambience is wonderful within funky surroundings. Paraphernalia adorns walls, window sills and also the restroom, in this very busy restaurant.
The food is amazing (€8+ Primi, €10+ Secondi, €1pp cover charge), wine is good (€4/glass), and at affordable prices.
For expensive drinks, check out this bar on Piazza Annunziata 4. Expect to pay €7 for a straight Gin & Tonic, which is considered a cocktail’s price in Italy.
Bar Piazza Maggiore
Check Piazza Garibaldi NR. 37, for your breakfast coffee (€1.30) and pastry (€1+). Sit back and enjoy the mountain views, while soaking up everyday life in the piazza.
Morsi Di Gusto
On Piazza Annunziata 9, this gourmet panini shop is excellent. At €5 for a massive panini with your choice of delicious filling, it’s well worth a stop.
Bella ‘Mbriana Pizzeria
Excellent service and good food on Via Ciofano 39. The menu is in English so geared for tourists.
Caffe’ Di Marzio
On Corso Ovidio N. 166, you’ll enjoy a well-earned Aperitivo (€3.50) after your long walk. The Aperitivo is served with loads of nibbles.
This cafe serves excellent coffee as confirmed by several awards gracing the walls. Why not indulge at home with some freshly ground coffee from this cafe?
Sulmona is world-famous for the very-addictive Confetti – sugar-coated almonds. Streets and alleyways are bursting with colourful Confetti.
These days Confetti also contain chocolate, of course, and includes many types of delectable berry and gourmet flavours. Works of art.
Check out Abruzzo: Spectacular Sulmona, Part 2, for more information on the luscious Confetti.
Where to sleep
As it’s Easter weekend, accommodation is filling up fast. Especially, as Sulmona hosts many great activities that attract locals from neighbouring villages and towns.
B&B Del Teatro
Tucked away along via Angeloni 44, the homely B&B Del Teatro provides everything you need in a self-contained apartment in a medieval building. Enjoy climbing the ancient stone steps to your room each night.
Check Booking.com and other reviews before booking any accommodation. I find these reviews more genuine than TripAdvisor reviews.
In a quiet location yet close enough that all the major sights and activities are within walking distance, the B&B Del Teatro is a great choice. Lovely accommodating hosts, one of which wrote a book on Sulmona: Sirente.
Visit the Sulmona Tourist Office for extra information on alluring Sulmona. Why not pick up a copy of Migrazioni, which recounts the story of why people left Abruzzo decades ago.
More Sulmona chapters
Check out more of my Abruzzo posts for great free travel tips and fabulous photos!