Sulmona, Abruzzo (Italy): Ancient history and colourful sweets
I’m sure you have heard by now of the Central Italian Region of Abruzzo and its hidden gems from hermitages to roman ruins, but have you ever heard of the capital of “confetti”? Sulmona, Abruzzo (Italy) is a charming town located at the foot of the Majella, surrounded by mountains, where ancient history and a strong tradition of colourful sweets live together making it one of the most famous villages in Abruzzo.
Indeed, it is famous for being the capital of sugared-coated almonds, known as “confetti” in Italian. Its streets are adorned with colourful confetti bouquets, which you can buy in any imaginable flavour – Nutella, tiramisu, ricotta and pear, fruits of the forest, hazelnut, and anything you can think about.
Sulmona, abruzzo (Italy) has a huge piazza with a medieval aqueduct above it and a view of the mountains beyond, Baroque monuments and even Roman remains.
Once you have entered the gates, its splendid palazzos, historical monuments and antique piazzas are all just waiting to be discovered.
The main street, Corso Ovido, runs across the centre of town from the aqueduct to the cathedral and it’s lined with flowers–not real ones, but colourfully covered sugared almonds that have been turned into anything from floral bouquets to beetle bugs and butterflies.
Sugared almonds (known as confetti) are produced in the town and they are now distributed at most Catholic weddings across Europe. You will see many shops selling these in Sulmona. There is even a museum dedicated to confetti – the Museo dell’Arte Confetteria in Sulmona.
Did you know? The tradition of throwing confetti at weddings started with the Italian habit of throwing the small almond sweets produced in Sulmona. About 100 years ago a variant on this practice – throwing small pieces of coloured paper that represent the original coloured sweets – took over in many other countries from a longstanding tradition of throwing rice at a wedding.
Sulmona’s market is the largest in the area and is well frequented by locals and visitors alike. It’s held on Wednesday and Saturday mornings.
You’ll find the usual stalls of clothes and bags (often with some great bargains) plus furniture, household items and handicrafts, fresh produce and local speciality products. Many stall holders will allow you to sample the produce before you buy so don’t be shy! Sulmona is also famous for its red garlic, amongst other things, so this often makes a good gift or souvenir to take home.
Sulmona, Abruzzo (Italy), is also the perfect place to discover the Abruzzo, from its food and culture to small towns and spots of natural beauty that can be visited as day trips.
For outdoor enthusiast:
- The Maiella National Park, a very scenic, hilly-mountain region with many walks also through the wooded valleys and opportunities for nature lovers.
- The popular ski-resort of Roccaraso is nearby.
- Scanno, about 45 minutes to the south, is one of the most charming, traditional mountain villages of the Abruzzo.
How to Get to Sulmona, Abruzzo (Italy)
Sulmona is on the rail line between Rome and Pescara (on the east coast), about 2.5 hours by train from Rome. The station is a little way out of town, but there is a bus service into town or you can call a taxi. We suggest to hire a car.
Sulmona Hotels – Where to Stay
Best luxury hotel: Palazzo Salini
Best for historic charm
Set in a former noble home dating back to the 1600s, Palazzo Salini is in central Sulmona. It offers free Wi-Fi.With antique furnishings, rooms here come with a flat-screen TV and a balcony. The private bathroom includes a hairdryer and free toiletries.An à la carte breakfast is served in your room, consisting of croissants and coffee.
Apartment from € 102/night
Best mid-range hotel: B&B Il Marchese del Grillo
A few steps from the main square in Sulmona, B&B Il Marchese del Grillo offers air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi. Housed in an 18th-century building, it features a panoramic terrace and free private parking for motorbikes. Enjoy a great breakfast on the rooftop terrace.
Rooms from € 90/night
Best budget hotel: Albergo Stella 1*
Albergo Stella Ristorante is set within the medieval walls of Sulmona, next to the town’s main square, Piazza XX Settembre. Its restaurant serves food and wines from the Abruzzo region. Parco Nazionale della Maiella is around 15 minutes’ away by car, and the ski slopes of Monte Pratello are a 20-minute drive.
Rooms from € 70/night
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