of L'Aquila - Italy
In 1254 the inhabitants of the popular 99 castles
were reunited by Conrad IV thanks to an executive
diploma issued by Frederic II from Swabia: it
stated the construction of the city, which was
probably named after the village Acculi.
The population increased so much that it established
a very important settlement.
It was a prosperous city during the Angevin reign
thanks to the popular "Road of Abruzzi",
a trade and military route linking Neaples with
Florence. Around the XV century it was besieged
by Braccio from Montone.
It was a lively cultural centre too; it had the
first printing office in the region and any art
developed in this city, as it is proved by its
The rebellion against Charles V during the French-Spanish
war was the beginning of its decline. It was deprived
of a lot of privileges and it also underwent a
disastrous earthquake in 1703.
The consequent reconstruction encouraged a remarkable
development of both civil and religious building.
- The Castle (Spanish Fortress)
This marvellous example of military architecture,
unique for its features, by mistake called
"castle", is actually a fortress.
It was built in 1534 by order of the viceroy
of Neaples Don Pedro from Toledo "ad
reprimendam audaciam Aquilanorum",
i.e. in order to repress the inhabitants
of the rich town L'Aquila, which rebelled
against the Spanish and took sides with
the French. The Spanish Don Pirro Luis Escribà,
captain and military architect under Charles
V, designed the huge fortress.
- St Mary of Collemaggio
It is the most well-known basilica in Abruzzo,
thanks to its historical and architectonic
importance. Peter from Morrone, the Celestine
V-to-be who was designated as a pope inside
it in 1294, started building it in 1287.
The wide facade is original thanks to its
beautiful geometric-drawing ornament through
white and pink slabs on which you can see
interesting architectonic elements.
- Church of St Berardino
The Church was built in1454 thanks to St
John from Capestrano, a follower of St Berardino
from Siena. The cloister was built at the
same time. The original building had three
naves meeting in a wide poligonal area,
generated by the dome; four chapels overlooked
it. After the earthquake in 1461, on 17
May 1472 St Berardino's body was brought
there with a solemn ceremony.
- 99-tap Fountain
It is one of the most ancient and characteristic
monuments, almost a symbol of the city.
It was built, by order of the Tuscan governor
Lucchesino Ateleta, by Master Tancredi from
Pentima. It is original not only for its
trapezoidal shape and stone masks, each
one different from the others, but also
because the main spring feeding it is unknown.
According to the tradition the masks would
be a symbol of the lords of the manors who
contribu- ted to the foundation of the city.
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