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Top Rated Attractions in Sulmona

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La Grotta dei Piccioni

This was discovered by excavators examining a succession of strata at Roman, sub-Appennine and Neolithic levels. The value of this discovery is not only related to the fact that it is over 6500 years old. It is also that the cave was not a hunting shelter like so many other archaeological finds from the same period. This cave was a sanctuary. Studies have found remains of a child sacrificed in some rite, that was probably linked to the fertility of the land. It is near Bolognano, in a rocky landscape with waterfalls and green water from the Valley of Orta.

Aziende Vinicole Conti Zecca

Surrounded by rose beds and oleanders, these splendid vineyards are perfectly aligned by the hands of these expert wine growers. This noble family has been producing wine for centuries and this is in fact one of the best known wine cellars of the Salento. As you walk down the rows you can appreciate all the work that goes toward maintaining the vines: a combination of the latest technology as well as more traditional methods like those used to kill parasites which are in harmony with the surrounding habitat.

San Clemente Abbey

This monastery was built on the ancient Tiburtina Valeria, in an area which was popular for trade and where travelers stopped (Kasaura was the name of a nearby tavern-brothel). It is one of Italy's most significant examples of Benedictine art. Ludovico II had it built in 871; it was then improved between 1176 and 1182 by workers brought from the south. It is more significant that the monastery at Montecassino. The monks who lived here wrote the Chronicon Casauriense which is an important document for Italian history. The portico has three arches and features a sequence of ornaments and figures celebrating of the power of God, of the monastery and of the people who funded the monastery. Representations of the evangelists, the apostles and other biblical characters are featured together with patron emperors of the monastery and the abbot Leonate, who was in charge of the re-foundation in the 12th Century. The relief on the lintel explains the birth of the church.

Abbazia di San Liberatore a Maiella (Abbey)

At the foot of Maiella, surrounded by woodland is one of the most ancient proofs of the Benedictines in Abruzzo. It certainly existed since 884, but it was rebuilt after the earthquake in 990, to a more grandiose design by the monk Teobaldo. The facade is made from local stone and has semi columns. The central part is highest and there are three rounded arches and a circular window in the center. On the right is a square bell tower. The interior has three naves, with seven arches on pillars. At the beginning of the right nave are 16th-century frescoes, of San Benedetto, Carlo Magno who legend links to the Benedictine order and Bobaco Olivesi. The middle area has an opus floor and there are three semicircular apses in the presbytery. Frescoes from the twelfth or 13th Century have been found as a result of restoration in the middle apse, which were previously covered by a sixteenth century strata. The church is in San Liberatore, outside of Serramonacesca. From Piazza del Popolo take Via Roma and go to the right.

Oratorio di Santa Maria delle Grazie

According to legend, this place was built in 1498 on the site of a miraculous apparition. The frescoed portal of the Deposition is from 1505. On the left of the portal, is another Renaissance fresco of the Virgin, Child and two Angels. On the right side are remains of an old building which could have been a cloisters. The bell tower has little windows and finishes in a pyramid shape. The interior has one nave with a cross vault, decorations and ornaments. There is an arch by the apse and the main altar was made in 1642 with a great deal of golden stucco, decorated columns, allegoric statues and a 15th-century triptych. There are also frescoes by the school of Andrea de Litio. The church is found on the road between Alanno and Cugnoli. From Alanno, take the road for Cugnoli and turn left for Torre De Passeri. After 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) you find the church.

Taverna Ducale

This is one of the few examples of civil, medieval architecture in Abruzzo. It was built in the 14th Century for Giovanni Cantelmo. Built as a house-workshop for collecting and selling feudal, agricultural products, it became an inn and a hotel for people who stopped at Popoli to change horses. In 1574, Ottavio Cantelmo had a new tavern built next to this one, called the University. The old building has two floors, divided by a cornice which goes round the whole facade. The workshop was on the ground floor and had a large, pointed portal. The coat of arms of the Cantelmo family and other families are on the facade, as well as fantastic and allegorical subjects. Call for timings.

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