Abbazia di Santo Spirito Al Morrone


It’s hard to miss this massive 13th-century Celestine abbey in Badia, close to the sheer western slopes of the Morrone mountains. Notable for its monumental staircase, religious frescoes and old pharmacy, its main sights can be seen on English- and Italian-language tours. Damaged in an earthquake in 1706, it has been restored several times, done time as a prison and now houses local government offices, the HQ of Majella national park, and regular art expos and music concerts.

Like many religious sites in the area, the abbey owes its existence to the hermit who became Pope Celestino V (aka Pietro di Angelerio), whose ‘great refusal’ (abdication) caused political furore in the late 13th century.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Abruzzo attractions

1. Santuario di Ercole Curino

0.63 MILES

Sitting below the Sant’Onofrio hermitage, this sanctuary was originally thought to be the house of Sulmona-born poet Ovid when it was first uncovered in…

2. Eremo di Sant’Onofrio al Morrone


This cliff-clinging hermitage with its 15th-century ceiling, 13th-century frescoes, narrow oratory and arched porticoes cowers under a massive rock face…

3. Cattedrale di San Panfilo

2.39 MILES

Slightly out of the centre, the Gothic-meets-baroque cathedral is like many things in Sulmona: understated and underrated. The fantastically restored…

4. Museo Civico

2.69 MILES

Inside the Palazzo dell'Annunziata is the four-in-one Museo Civico, with sections dedicated to archaeology, religious art, Abruzzese-Molisiano culture and…

5. Piazza Garibaldi

2.79 MILES

The large town square is home to Sulmona's extensive Wednesday and Saturday morning market: you'll find fresh fish, veg, fruit and flowers, as well as the…

6. Museo Diocesano di Arte Sacra

2.83 MILES

On Piazza Garibaldi, housed in the refectory of the former Santa Chiara convent, this small museum has an eclectic collection of religious and…

7. Museo dell'Arte Confettiera

3.44 MILES

This museum is housed in the Fabbrica Confetti Pelino (established 1783), Sulmona's most famous manufacturer of confetti (the confectionery product, as…

8. Castello Caldora

4.53 MILES

The defining symbol of Pacentro, this unusual castle with its three oversized towers guards the foothills of Monte Morrone and is visible for miles around…