Sulmona is a secluded and somewhat overlooked small city in Abruzzo. Surrounded by imposing mountains at about four hundred metres above sea level, it doesn't feel like it has 25,000 inhabitants. It is close to the ski resorts of Roccaraso and the beaches around Pescara. Sulmona is one of the oldest towns in Abruzzo, with many buildings from the middle ages or earlier. It is well known for being the native town of the poet Ovid.
The train across the mountains from Rome (via Tivoli and Avezzano) is spectacular and slow, perfect for checking out the scenery. There are about six trains daily from Rome Tiburtina station (first at 07.51, last at 18.38) which take about 2 hours 45 minutes.
About ten Trenitalia trains run daily from Pescara Centrale station (first at 04.50, last at 21.00) which takes about an hour. .
Driving from Rome takes about 1.5 hours along the Autostrade A24 and A25. The roads are excellent and traffic is usually light, but be prepared for delays getting out of Rome. The toll will cost around €13 all the way. Pick up a ticket at the barriers at Lunghezza (just east of Rome) and pay when you leave the Autostrada at the Sulmona-Pratola Peligna exit.
It's possible to drive from Pescara in less than 1 hour for a cost of around €4.
When parking it's best to avoid the old town and park just outside. There is a free car park next to the fire station (follow signs to the 'Vigili del fuoco') from where it is a short walk up to the old town. There is also a covered multi-storey car park at Santa Chiara on the ring road, from where it is possible to cut through to the main square. Parking here costs around €1 per hour.
There are local buses that go to and from the station into town, and to the surrounding towns (buy tickets in the tabacchi outside the station or in the centre). Buses don't run on Sundays.
When arriving by train is possible to walk to the centre in about 15 minutes (turn right out of the station). There is usually a taxi or two waiting for the train, if there is not then try phoning from the taxi phone outside the station. It's not unusual to be offered (or to ask for) a lift in someone's car up to town.
For private car or bus hire there is a friendly and English speaking company called Vedaviaggi that can take various sizes of groups around the area.
Cafe's, restaurants, bars. The old town is full of cafes and bars and is great for hanging out during the morning and late afternoon, and especially in the evening.edit
Passeggiata, Corso Ovidio. Between 6-8PM and after dinner at about 11PM. The disappearing tradition of walking the main street is alive and strong in Sulmona. Corso Ovidio gets very busy with the daily passeggiata, but especially at weekends and on holidays. Great for people watching.edit
Giostra Cavalleresca, . In the last week of July there is a reenactment of the classic Renaissance jousting competition with lots of period costumes, music and hearty food. The whole town is taken over and everyone gets involved. It is an international event, with medieval societies coming from all over Europe to take part.edit
Camerata Musicale Sulmonese, Via dei sardi, 9 (Concerts usually held in L'Annunziata), ☎ +39.0864.212207, . The Camerata Musicale Sulmonese organise a series of concerts from classical to opera to jazz.edit
Sulmona film festival, Via Aragona, 14 - 67039 Sulmona, . A yearly event in November, takes over the Cinema Teatro Pacifico and a few other venues to show local, Italian and international film.€10 for all films. edit
Pacifico cinema, Via Roma 27, ☎ +39.0864.210953. Usually shows popular Italian films.edit
“Confetti of Sulmona” and the Pelino House, . Lots of shops along the main street sell Confetti, the local speciality of highly colourful sugar coated almonds. The Pelino museum and factory can be visited for free on Via Stazione Introdacqua 55.edit
Boutiques of Corso Ovidio. The main street is lined with fashion boutiques, from large names such as Sisley and Benetton to local brands like Carpisa and Chagall. Plenty of shoe shops. edit
Markets, Piazza Garibaldi. The weekly markets sell vegetables, meats and local produce, as well as a hit-and-miss selection of furniture and antiques. Look out for local farmers and their families with a couple of jars of honey or a few cloves of garlic for sale on an upturned crate.edit
Cantina Di Biffi, Via Barbato, 1, 67039 Sulmona, . A very family run affair, Biffi won't usually give you a menu, offering instead daily specialities cooked by his mum. Excellent selection of local wines. Closed on Mondays€30-60 per head. edit
Osteria del tempo perso, Vico del Vecchio 7, 67039 Sulmona. An excellent pizzeria (with fantastic tasting dough) popular with a young crowd, with local wines and some exotic beers. €15-30 per head. edit
Il Vecchio Muro Ristorante Pizzeria - good pizzas at a reasonable price - Via Manlio D'Eramo, 20bis, 0864 50595.
Ristorante Clemente - the 12 samples of Abruzzo antipasto is a meal in itself, friendly service, no English spoken - Vico Quercian 5, 0864 52284.
B&B Sogno d'amore, ☎ +39 3283726489, . An elegant new villa surrounded by olive trees and a natural oak-grove with more than 100 trees.edit
Bed & Breakfast Sei Stelle, Piazza Minzoni No. 8, ☎ +393204823347, . A historic property built along a functioning medieval aqueduct. €80-€85 Double. edit
Bed and Breakfast Santa Chiara, ☎ +39.0864.52794, . Set in a villa slightly outside the old town, with a garden, nicely decorated rooms.€70-€120 Double. edit
L'annunziata affittacamere, Via Paolina, ☎ +39.338.9494940, . Simple but comfortable rooms with kitchen, in the centre of the old town. Giuseppina is extremely friendly and speaks excellent English.€35 Single -€45 Double. edit
La Dimora, Corso Ovidio, 238, Sulmona, ☎ +39 0864 567759, . Centrally located near to L'Annunziata. Rooms are well appointed and very quiet. €55-€90 Double. edit
MonteViste Self Catering Holiday Apartment, Torre dei Nolfi, ☎ +393383085006, . A beautiful self catering holiday apartment in the nearby village of Torre dei Nolfi€64 Double. edit
Hotel Rojan di Sulmona, Via degli Agghiacciati, 15 67039 Sulmona, ☎ +39 0864 950126 / +39 0864 950127, . A neat little four star hotel in the centre of the old town, very friendly staff.edit
Santacroce Hotel, Viale di Metamorfosi,67039, Sulmona 67039, Italy, . Largeish four star hotel just outside the old town with reasonable but somewhat soulless rooms.edit
Hotel Stella Enoteca Bono, Via Mazara, 18, ☎ +39 0 86452653, . checkin: 19.00; checkout: 10.00. Inside the medieval walls of Sulmona, next to the town's main square, Piazza XX Settembre. Its restaurant serves food and wines from Abruzzo. All rooms come with TV, fan, and a private bathroom. Free Wi-Fi is available in public areas. Transfer services are available to Pescara and Rome airports but must be booked 48 hours in advance.70.00. edit
Regular local buses to Bugnara, Introdacqua, Pacentro and Scanno for exploring other hilltowns and hiking - timetables at the Info Centre, tickets from the tobaccanist, find out which side of the main park the bus will leave from - there are two bus-stops one on each side.
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