official_name = Comune di Sulmona
province = L'Aquila (AQ)
elevation_m = 405
area_total_km2 = 58.33
December 31, 2004
population_total = 25419
population_density_km2 = 433,8
timezone = CET, UTC+1
coordinates = coord|42|02|N|13|56|E
frazioni = Abazia di Sulmona, Albanese, Arabona, Badia, Bagnaturo, Banchette, Case Di Censo, Case Lupi, Cavate, Colle Savente, Fonte d'Amore, Marane, Monte Morrone Scavi, Pietre Reggie, Ponte Nuovo, San Rufino, Torrone, Vallecorvo
telephone = 0864
postalcode = 67039
gentilic = Sulmonesi or Sulmontini
mayor = Luciana Crisi (Commissario prefettizio)
website = [http://www.comune.sulmona.aq.it www.comune.sulmona.aq.it]
Latin: Sulmo; Greek: polytonic|Σουλμῶν) is a city and comune of the province of L'Aquilain the Abruzzo, Italy, with around 25,000 inhabitants. It is situated in the valley of the Gizio, in a spacious basin formed by the junction of that river with several minor streams. In ancient times, it was one of the most important cities of the Paeligniand is known for being the native town of Ovid, of whom there is a bronze statue in the square known as Piazza XX Settembre located on the town's main road also under his name.
There is no doubt that ancient Sulmo was one of the principal cities of the Peligni, as an independent tribe, but no notice of it is found in history before the Roman conquest. A tradition alluded to by Ovid and
Silius Italicus, which ascribed its foundation to Solymus, a Phrygian and one of the companions of Aeneas, is evidently a mere etymological fiction (Ovid, "Fast." iv. 79; Sil. Ital. ix. 70-76.) The first mention of Sulmo occurs in the Second Punic War, when its territory was ravaged by Hannibalin 211 BCE, but without attacking the city itself. ( Livyxxvi. 11.) Its name is not noticed during the Social War, in which the Paeligni took so prominent a part; but according to Florus, it suffered severely in the subsequent civil war between Sullaand Gaius Marius, having been destroyed by the former as a punishment for its attachment to his rival. (Flor. iii. 21.) The expressions of that rhetorical writer are not, however, to be construed literally, and it is more probable that Sulmo was confiscated and its lands assigned by Sulla to a body of his soldiers. (Zumpt, "de Colon." p. 261.) At all events it is certain that Sulmo was a well-peopled and considerable town in 49 BCE, when it was occupied by Domitius Calvinuswith a garrison of seven cohorts; but the citizens, who were favourably affected to Julius Caesar, opened their gates to his lieutenant Al. Antonius as soon as he appeared before the place. (Caes. "B.C." i. 18; Cic. "ad Att." viii. 4, 12 a.)
Nothing more is known historically of Sulmo, which, however, appears to have always continued to be a considerable provincial town. Ovid speaks of it as one of the three municipal towns whose districts composed the territory of the Paeligni ("Peligni pars tertia ruris", "Amor." ii. 16. 1): and this is confirmed both by Pliny and the "
Liber Coloniarum"; yet it does not seem to have ever been a large place, and Ovid himself designates it as a small provincial town. ("Amor." iii. 15.) From the "Liber Coloniarum" we learn also that it had received a colony, probably in the time of Augustus(Plin. iii. 12. s. 17; Lib. Colon. pp. 229, 260); though Pliny does not give it the title of a Colonia. Inscriptions, as well as the geographers and Itineraries, attest its continued existence as a municipal town throughout the Roman Empire. ( Strabov. p. 241; Ptol. iii. 1. § 64; Tab. Peut.; Orell. "Inscr." 3856; Mommsen, "Inscr. R. N." pp. 287-289.)
The chief celebrity of Sulmo is derived from its having been the birthplace of Ovid, who repeatedly alludes to it as such, and celebrates its salubrity, and the numerous streams of clear and perennial water in which its neighbourhood abounded. But, like the whole district of the Paeligni, it was extremely cold in winter, whence Ovid himself, and Silius Italicus in imitation of him, calls it "gelidus Sulmo" (Ovid, "Fast." iv. 81, "Trist." iv. 10. 3, "Amor." ii. 16; Sil. Ital. viii. 511.) Its territory was fertile, both in corn and wine, and one district of it, the
Pagus Fabianus, is particularly mentioned by Pliny (xvii. 26. s. 43) for the care bestowed on the irrigation of the vineyards.
Middle Ages and Renaissance
Traditionally, the beginning of the Christian age in Sulmona is set in the 3rd century AD. The city was part of the
diocese of Valva, while a Sulmonese bishop is known from the 5th century.
Sulmona became a free commune under the Normans. Under
Frederick II of Hohenstaufenthe town received an aqueduct, one of the most important construction of the era in the Abruzzo; the emperor made it the capital of a large province, as well the seat of a tribunal and of a fair, which it however lost with the arrival of the Angevines. Despite that, it continued to expand and a new line of walls was added in the 14th century.
In the 16th century a flourishing industry of paper was started.
In 1706 the city was nearly razed to the ground by an earthquake. While, much of the medieval city was destroyed by the earthquake, some remarkable buildings survive such as the Church of Santa Maria della Tomba, the Palazzo Annunziata, the Aqueduct and the Gothic portal on Corso Ovidio. Much of the city was then rebuilt in the prevailing elegant Baroque style of the 18th Century. Sulmona experienced an economic boom in the late 19th Century due its railway hub and strategic geographic position between Rome and the Adriatic coast. This strategic position also made it a target for air raids during
World War II. The railway station, the industrial sections and parts of the old town were damaged, but today they have been mostly restored.
Campo 78 at Sulmona served as a
POWcamp in both world wars. During World War I, it housed Austrian prisoners captured in the Isonzo and Trentino campaigns; during World War II, it was home to as many as 3,000 British and Commonwealth officers and other ranks captured in North Africa.
The camp itself was built on a hillside and consisted of a number of brick barracks surrounded by a high wall. During World War II, conditions in Sulmona, as in many Italian camps, were good, especially in the two officers’ compounds. Regular rations of macaroni soup and bread were augmented by fresh fruit and cheese in the summer, and food parcels from the
International Committee of the Red Crosswere distributed regularly. For recreation, the prisoners laid out a football field, and they also had equipment for cricket and basketball. There was a theater, a small lending library, at least one band, and a newspaper produced by a group of prisoners.
September 1943, as the Italian government neared collapse, the inmates of Sulmona heard rumors that the evacuation of the camp was imminent. They awoke one morning to discover that their guards had deserted them. On 14 September, German troops arrived to escort the prisoners northwards, to captivity in Germany, but not before hundreds of them had escaped into the hills.
Main sights for Tourism & History
Sulmona has various piazzas, churches and palaces of historical and tourist interest. Some of these include:
*"Cattedrale di San Panfilo". The city's cathedral, sitting on the northwest side of the old city and was built on the site of a Roman temple. It contains a crypt which retains its Romanesque appearance despite the 18th Century renovation of the main church.
*"Piazza XX Settembre". One of the main squares of the city, including a bronze statue of the Roman poet
*"Corso Ovidio". The city's main thoroughfare connects the cathedral and the major piazzas and is lined by elegant covered arcades, shops, cafes, palaces and churches.
*"Palazzo Annunziata "and [http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immagine:Sulmona0003.jpg"Chiesa della SS. Annunziata"] . The Palace contains a fine museum showing the Roman history of the city as well as various artifacts. The church is a fine example of Baroque architecture and has a beautiful interior and bell tower.
* [http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immagine:IMG_Sulmona.piazza.jpg"Piazza Garibaldi"] is the largest square in town with a large baroque era fountain. A Palio style medieval festival and horse race known as the [http://www.giostracavalleresca.it"Giostra Cavalleresca"] takes place here every year in the Summer. At Easter, crowds gather to witness the [http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immagine:PasquaSulmona2007.jpg"Madonna che Scappa"] . This ceremony involves the procession of a statue of the Madonna who is carried across the square while the bearers run to encounter a statue of the resurrected Christ on the other side of the square. On the south side of the Piazza is the 12th Century Gothic aqueduct. The square hosts a market twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The remains of the ancient city are of little interest as ruins, but indicate the existence of a considerable town; among them are the vestiges of an
amphitheatre, a theatre, and thermae, all of them located outside the gates of the modern city. About 3 km from here, at the foot of the Monte Morrone, are some ruins of reticulated masonry, probably belonging to a Roman villa, traditionally believed to be Ovid's.
Sulmona is the home of the Italian confectionery known as "". These are delicious sugar coated almonds and are traditionally given to friends and relatives on weddings and other special occasions. Confetti can be eaten or simply used as decoration. The local artisans also color these candies and craft them into flowers and other creations. There are two main factories in town and several shops that sell these items.
* [http://www.inside-abruzzo.com/ Inside Abruzzo... insider tips uncovered]
* [http://comune.sulmona.aq.it/ Official website]
* [http://www.giostracavalleresca.it Medioeval Giostra Cavalleresca of Sulmona]
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