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SULMONA, Abruzzo's city of Art in the province of Aquila, its second only to the chief town for its importance, which is tied to the position. The city overlooks the Peligna valley for those coming from Rome, hence the main road from Rome to the Adriatic Sea (the ancient Via Valeria), as well as the main communication road between L'Aquila territory, Sannio, and Naples.
The main thoroughfare of the city is Corso Ovidio, along which are positioned the outlet store Cult! Easywear and BigJoe's Showroom. It extends from the Cathedral to Naples door for a kilometer, wide and sorrounded by monumental buildings, with narrower side streets that often retained their medieval appearence. Opening up on the main street, we can find XX Settembre square and Carmine square. Facing the latter, under a porch, some stairs lead to the wide Garibaldi square that, with the beautiful fountain standing in the center, is home to a vibrant weekly market that gathers the resident of many neighboring towns. The main streets that externally embrace the city center are Western Circonvallazione and Eastern Circonvallazione where BigJoe's Boutique is placed, just near the Santa Chiara double-floor underground parking.
The city boasts a remarkable artistic heritage, reason for which is destination of many tourists. The main attractions are:
Other monastic building are worth mentioning in Sulmona: SANTA LUCIA and SANTA CHIARA, with a large cloister from 1518
Along with this remarkable artistic heritage, the city offers an equally great cultural heritage due to the great poet Ovidio who was born in Sulmona in 42 B.C. from a rich family. After completing his studies he went to Rome, where he began his career covering politics senior positions, although his passion for poetry prompted him to get in touch with the most important literary circles of the time where he met even the most well-known poets . Ovidio is the youngest among elegiac poets and rejects the rigid and fixed values of the old Roman society to open up to the trends of his time. During 8 B.C, fallen to disgrace among Augusto, the poet is relegated to the distant Tomi (odiern Costanza), a little town on the shores of the Black Sea. He won't ever return in the capital and dies between 17 and 18 AC. Many works of the poet are conserved and avaliable today, which can be easily divided into 3 groups: the opere giovanili o amorose, le maggiori or della maturità, and the opere dell'esilio.
Anyway, there are not only the ancient monuments and one of the most famous Latin poets to beautify a city as rich as sulmona , but even the "Giostra Cavalleresca" and the Saint Week ending “Madonna che scappa in piazza” manifestation bring life to the city tourism, gathering thousands of people every year.
The “Giostra Cavalleresca” of Sulmona is a reenactment of the Renaissance that takes place every year during the last weekend of July and collect the partecipation of the four “Sestieri” and 3 “Borghi” in which the city territory is divided, everyone facing each other in single combat on Piazza Garibaldi's stallage where the competition venue is made. The Event take place during 2 days in which every knight fights other 4 knights for a total of 14 encounters, followed by 2 semi-final and a final match, ending with the awarding of the prize that consists of a hand made portrait on canvas, froma a different artist every year. The two days of competition in Piazza Garibaldi are always preceded by a beautiful Historical Parade of high historical and artistic quality which is attended by about 500 actors. Afterwards there is the “Giostra dei borghi più belli d'Italia” which consists in a carousel with the participation of towns in Abruzzo region that have received recognition of the “most beautiful towns in Italy” on the national territory. At the very end of this wonderful manifestation, during the first days of august the “Giostra Cavalleresca d'Europa” takes place, where every partecipating European city is represented by a delegation in historical costumes and their own school ranging from flag-weavers to old style dancers, from actors to falconers.
From the Holy Week we'd like to remember “i Sepolcri” of the Holy thursday, the suggestive procession of “Cristo Morto” of the Good Friday and the procession of “Addolorata” on the Holy Saturday. A culmination of all the religious rites of Holy Week , on Easter Sunday , takes place the "Madonna che scappa in piazza", an event of national recall. After the celebration of the morning service attended by the Bishop of Sulmona, the procession with Christ's statue and those of holy Apostles Peter and John takes place in Garibaldi square. While Christ's statue stands under the aqueduct archs sorrounding the square, the Apostles go towards the overlooking san Filippo church bringing to Saint Mary the news of her son's resurrection. After some delay due to disbelief, the statue of the Madonna comes out and, after seeing Christ Resurrected, starts running at him loosing the black grief dress and uncovering the green vestments representing life reborning.
Another distinctive feature of the city are the sugared almonds, of which Sulmona is the homeland boasting a century old historical tradition of artisan families which made this product famous all over the world. The traditional dragee is a white and shiny sugar coated Avola's almond, altought different variations exists with others shapes and filling. it is typical to use dragee to create party favors and souvenirs such as flowers, butterflies etc..