L'Aquila: A Guide to Local Culture, Traditions & Festivals

L'Aquila: A Guide to Local Culture, Traditions & Festivals



Welcome to L'Aquila, a charming city nestled amidst the majestic mountains of central Italy. Known for its rich historical heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant local culture, L'Aquila is a destination that will captivate your senses. This guide will introduce you to the unique traditions, festivals, and cultural experiences that await you in this enchanting city.

Local Culture

The people of L'Aquila are warm, friendly, and deeply proud of their local heritage. The city is renowned for its fine craftsmanship, particularly in metalwork, ceramics, and textile production. Strolling through the winding streets, you will encounter numerous artisan workshops where you can witness the skill and dedication that goes into creating these exquisite crafts.

Architecture is another prominent aspect of L'Aquila's culture. The city is home to a wealth of medieval and Renaissance buildings, including the impressive Basilica di Santa Maria di Collemaggio, which is a prime example of Romanesque architecture. Make sure to visit the Fontana delle 99 cannelle (Fountain of the 99 spouts), a symbol of the city, and marvel at its unique design.

Music plays an integral role in the cultural fabric of L'Aquila. The city's music scene is famous for its folk traditions and lively performances. Traditional instruments like the zampogna (bagpipe) and organetto (accordion) are often heard during local festivities and celebrations.


L'Aquila has a deep-rooted tradition of culinary excellence. The local cuisine combines traditional Abruzzese flavors with unique regional specialties. Indulge in dishes such as arrosticini (grilled lamb skewers), maccheroni alla chitarra (homemade pasta), and confetti (sugared almonds) that make for a truly delicious experience.

Another fascinating tradition in L'Aquila is the annual Palio delle Contrade. This historic horse race takes place in the city center, where neighborhoods compete against each other. It's a thrilling event that showcases the strong community spirit and fierce competition among the locals.

Santo Stefano, L'Aquila's patron saint, is celebrated with great fervor on December 26th. The city comes alive with processions, fireworks, and traditional religious ceremonies. It's a time when locals and visitors alike gather to honor their beloved saint and experience the unique atmosphere of this festive occasion.


L'Aquila hosts several vibrant festivals throughout the year, each with its own unique charm and significance. One of the most anticipated events is the Gran Sasso d'Italia Jazz Festival. Jazz enthusiasts from around the world gather to enjoy mesmerizing performances by renowned artists against the backdrop of the stunning Gran Sasso mountain range.

For art lovers, the Festival Internazionale di Arte Contemporanea (International Festival of Contemporary Art) is a must-visit. This event showcases cutting-edge art installations, exhibitions, and performances that push the boundaries of creativity and expression.

The Festa del Perdonanza is a religious festival that dates back to the 13th century. Held in August, it involves a pilgrimage to the Basilica di Santa Maria di Collemaggio, where forgiveness and reconciliation are at the heart of the celebrations. The event culminates in a spectacular fireworks display, symbolizing the forgiveness of sins.

Plan Your Visit

L'Aquila is easily accessible by train or car, with regular connections to major Italian cities. The best time to visit is during the spring or autumn when the weather is pleasant, and the city is less crowded.

It is recommended to explore the city on foot to fully appreciate its architectural wonders and hidden treasures. Don't miss the chance to savor the local delicacies at traditional trattorias or shop for souvenirs at the local markets.

For outdoor enthusiasts, L'Aquila offers a myriad of adventure opportunities. Go hiking in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park, or ski on the slopes of Campo Felice. The breath-taking natural landscapes will leave you in awe.


In L'Aquila, you will be immersed in a rich tapestry of culture, traditions, and festivals that will leave a lasting impression. Whether you are exploring the architectural marvels, indulging in the local cuisine, or experiencing the vibrant festivities, L'Aquila promises an unforgettable journey into the heart and soul of Italy.