The vibrant L’Aquila, Italian Capital of Culture 2026

L’Aquila, capital of the Abruzzo region, boasts a rich historical and architectural heritage.

The artistic and cultural vibrancy of L’Aquila have led the city to be declared the Italian Capital of Culture for 2026. L’Aquila is full of historic wonders, including maginificent places of worship such as the Basilica di Santa Maria di Collemaggio where the Perdonanza Celestiniana celebration, recognised as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, takes place. The Basilica di San Bernardino, the Church of the Anime Sante, and the Santa Maria del Suffragio church with its rich pictorial and sculptural repertoire, the Fontana Luminosa, represent some of the city’s other architectural treasures.

The Spanish Fort, a superb example of 16th-century military architecture, is another one of L’Aquila’s wonders. In the halls of the East Bastion visitors can admire the castle’s majestic guardian: an Elephas Meridionalis Nesti, known as the Mammoth.

In addition to visiting the city’s monuments, visitors can view a selection of artistic works ranging from the Middle Ages to modern day at the Museo Nazionale d’Abruzzo, and visit the National Museum of 21st Century Art (MAXXI), for a blend of contemporary art and history. For ancient history, visitors can travel a short distance from the city centre to the archaeological sites of Amiternum, Peltuinum, Aveia and the Necropolis of Fossa.

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Photo: © Matteo Ciommi

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