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    • The Country

      Celano is a town with approximately 11,500 inhabitants in the province of L’Aquila. Most of the town is situated within the territory covered by the Sirente Velino Regional Park, in a dominant position overlooking the Fucino Valley, along the State Road n° 696 which leads to the Rocche Plateau. With its industrial estate and agricultural area, it is currently the second municipality of the Marsica area. The town, situated at 860m above sea level, rests on the slopes of Mount La Serra at about 15 km from Avezzano and it can easily be reached by taking the A 24-25 Rome-Pescara motorway, the Tiburtina Valeria and Vestina Sirentina state roads as well as the Rome-Pescara railway line.

      The name Celano probably derives from the Italic “Cela”, Latin “Caela” or “Caelum”, the meaning of which is not certain, yet it is probably associated with either the sky or the verb “celare” (to conceal) but it definitely does not derive "from the L’Aquila personal name with the praedial suffix -anus, with the labial-velar palatisation + i "), given that a vicus Caela or Caelanum is documented in an inscription found in the forum of Marruvium (St. Benedetto dei Marsi) towards the end of the 2nd century A.D. and its ancient name is still preserved in the place where the Italic-Roman village was situated, in the district that today is still called "Cèle" di Aielli, beneath Mount Secine to the right of the Gorges.

      Human presence around the lake in the Celano area dates back to Prehistoric times (18,000 years ago).The finding of the pile-dwelling settlement in the “Paludi” (Swamp) district has brought to light a Bronze Age village (3,700-3,600 years ago) as well as a necropolis with grave mounds dating back to the 12th-10th century B.C. During Roman times, the Celano area was included in the “Ager Albensis” under the jurisdiction of the nearby Latin colony of Alba Fucens. During early Medieval times, following the barbaric invasions and the frequent overflowing of Lake Fucino, the original lakeside settlement was abandoned and so the town was moved to a safer and higher area on the slopes of Mount Tino. Following the Lombard conquest of the Marsica area, which took place in 591, the “gastaldia” (abode) of the Marsi was included in the Duchy of Spoleto and Celano became the political centre of the new administrative district. With the transformation of the “gastaldia” into the “County” of the Marsi, implemented by the Emperor Lothair II in 859-60, the entire Marsican history began to identify itself with the history of Celano. Under the domination of Counts Berardi, Celano became the hegemonic centre of the Country territory (Lake Fucino was called Lake Celano): towards the middle of the 11th century, the Church of St. Giovanni (St. John’s Church) was built, the only building that, in 1223, was saved from the destruction of the town ordered by Frederick II, who had previously came into conflict with Count Thomas of Celano. Apart from the destruction of the town, Frederick II also ordered the deportation of the Celano inhabitants to Sicily, Calabria and Malta: only in 1227 the inhabitants could return to their homeland and re-build a “Citadel” on St. Flavian’s hill, around the new Church of St. John the Baptist. On the top of that hill, in 1392, Count Pietro Berardi began the construction of the Castle, the work of which was continued in 1451 by the last descendant of the Berardi family, Countess Jacovella and her third husband Lionello Acclozzamorra, who gave a Renaissance-style look to both the fortress and to the Churches in the local area. The Castle was completed in 1463 by Antonio Todeschini Piccolomini, the new owner of the County of the Marsi following the assignment of such by Ferdinand of Aragon. During the domination of the Sienese Piccolomini family, which lasted about a century, Celano was restored and embellished with forms of Tuscan Renaissance art as well as churches and monuments that were marked with a half-moon shape, the heraldic family emblem. In the 17th century, the county of Celano, which was now governed by the Peretti family, went through a difficult period, struck by poverty, illnesses and the popular uprising associated with the Masaniello’s Neapolitan revolts, only repressed, with great difficulty, by the Spanish troops. The Peretti family was succeeded first by the Savelli family, then by the Cesarini and finally by the Sforza-Bovadilla families, until the fiefs were abolished by Gioacchino Murat in 1806. During the second half of the 19th century, the great works relating to the draining of Lake Fucino carried out by Alessandro Torlonia, which had already been attempted in Roman times, caused a drastic environmental and social change, worsened by the disastrous earthquake which struck on 15th January 1915 that brought about the destruction of most of the historic town centre and the death of a third of the population of Celano. The 20th century was characterised by the phenomenon of emigration and the peasants’ struggles which ended in 1950 with the implementation of the agrarian reform: with the assignment of the land which had emerged from the draining of the lake to the farm labourers, also the economic boom of the 1960s arrived also in the Fucino Valley. Currently, the economy of Celano is based on the agricultural activities of the Fucino Valley, the industrial and advanced tertiary sector, the sports infrastructures (the Stadium, the Palazzetto dello Sport (sports centre) and the Swimming pool) and on tourism, which is encouraged both by the rich historic-artistic heritage of its historic town centre and by the high natural value provided by the landscape of Mount La Serra, Mount Sirente and the Gorges which are present in its territory.


    • Art and Culture

      Piccolomini Castle and the National Museum of Marsica

      The Castle in Celano rises on the highest part of the town, which dominates, due to its spectacular position, the Fucino Valley. Due to its compact size and elegance as well as its stylistic characteristics, it is a building that is one of a kind in the Abruzzo region, representing a combination of the Medieval castle having marked military features blending with those of a Renaissance style noble residence. It was built around 1392 by Count Pietro Berardi who also constructed the town walls as well as the elevation up to the second floor cornice. The construction was continued by Count Leonello Acclozamora who, in 1451, had the main floor and the four corner towers built, which give the structure its current appearance, with its protruding complex and characteristic battlements. As from 1463, Antonio Todeschini Piccolomini, nephew of Pope Pius II, made a great architectural contribution to the castle structure, transforming it into a Renaissance-style residential building. Piccolomini Castle hosts the National Museum of Marsica, which is divided into two valuable sections: on the main floor there is the "Sacred Art Collection " which includes important examples of Marsican art dating back from the 6th to the 18th century, while on the first floor, there is the "Torlonia Archaeological Collection of Fucino Antiquities ", which contains the material that was discovered during the draining of Lake Fucino carried out by Alessandro Torlonia, as well as many interesting temporary exhibitions. Moreover, inside the Museum there are educational services that have been especially established for schools and groups of visitors.


      The church of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist

      The church, the building of which started during the second half of the 18th century was only completed two centuries later. Following the damage caused by the earthquake in 1703, the building was substantially changed: the central nave was covered with a barrel vault, the side aisles with cloister vaults and stucco, paintings, faux marble and artificial altars were added; only the first two bays with ogival cross vaults situated towards the entrance remain of the original structure. Later, the 1915 earthquake caused the collapse of the Baroque elements and the added vaults, revealing the original ceiling of the aisles decorated with valuable frescoes. The most recent restoration, carried out in 1969-70, has restored the original church plan, the polygonal columns, the ogival arches, the column bases. The gabled façade, divided into a central cornice which in its lower part it has a Romaneque-Lombard style splayed portal, with small columns, capitals, tendrils, leaves, animals that frame two valuable 16th century wooden doors (divided into six panels portraying: Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, the family coat of arms belonging to the Aragonese kings, the Duchies of Amalfi and Piccolomini, two rose windows) and a lunette in which the Virgin Mary is depicted with a child situated between St. John the Evangelist and Pope Boniface IV. In the upper part of the façade, there is a fine gothic rose window , adorned with the same decoration as the portal, in which the face of Christ is portrayed. The church interior is divided into three naves with ogival arches resting on octagonal columns. In the first four bays of the right aisle there are precious frescoes from the Sienese school dating back to the first half of the 15th century. Particularly worthy of note are also the 18th century wooden choir stalls, the ciborium made from carved and painted wood dating back to the 18th century, the confessionals as well as the 16th and 18th century paintings on canvas. During the restoration works carried out following the earthquake which struck on 6th April 2009, frescoes dating back to the 15th century were discovered inside the sacristy. Inside St. Johns’ Church the relics of the martyr saints Simplicius, Costantius and Victorinus, the patron saints of Celano are preserved.


      The church di St. Francis

      The original church and the adjacent convent dedicated to St. Francis were commissioned to be built on the slopes of Mount Tino in 1256 by Ruggero Count of Celano. Instead, the present church was built in the town itself, close to the Medieval town walls, in the 14th century. The building, which was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1915 was subsequently restored. The façade, typical of the Abruzzo Romanesque style, has a horizontal crowning structure with hanging arches and it is divided by a string-course cornice. The sprayed portal, made of limestone and polychrome marble, has an extremely detailed structure that is repeated in both the piers and the archivolt; the lunette is decorated by a 15th century fresco portraying the Virgin Mary between St. Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony of Padua, which is said to have been painted by Andrea Delitio and his circle. Above this a simple circular rose window can be found. The church interior consists of a single nave with lowered cross vaults and it contains Baroque-style altars and paintings.


      The Church of St. Angelo

      The church, situated on the left of the entrance to Piccolomini Castle, was commissioned to be built by Count Pietro Berardi at the end of the 14th century. In fact, in 1392, he donated his own palazzo to the Celestine order of monks and he ordered the construction of the church of St. Michael Archangel close to the convent. The building was completed in 1451 by Lionello Acclozamora. During the 17th century, the church interior was modified according to Baroque-style canons while the façade maintains its original appearance. The 1915 earthquake caused severe damage to the building while the architectural elements of the main elevation were spared; in 1932, the restoration of the monument was carried out. The façade, with its horizontal crowning structure, is adorned in the upper part by a series of pointed arches, upon which stands a stone sculpture of the Archangel Michael dating back to the 15th century. In the lower part, it has a Romanesque portal which consists of jambs flanked by columns, resting on columniferous lions and by an archivolt adorned with large radial leaves, above which there is a simple blind rose window, which is also decorated with radial leaves. The church interior has a single nave with a lowered Baroque-style barrel vault and it contains paintings dating back from the 16th to the 19th century, as well as a precious church organ by Raffaele da Camerino created in 1757. In the church of St. Angelo, during the period of Lent the rite of the “Desolata” (Our Desolate Lady) and the Via Matris (The way of the Mother) in honour of the Virgin Mary.


      The Church of Santa Maria in Valleverde (Our Lady of the Valley)

      The church and the adjacent Franciscan convent were established in the second half of the 15th century by Lionello Acclozamora, Count of Celano and they were completed in 1509, as the date engraved on the portal can certify. Three small chapels dating back to the 16th century are situated in the left wall and the crypt which was ordered to be built by the Piccolomini family. During the Baroque era, the church was embellished by a portico on its façade. After the 1915 earthquake, the church underwent restoration in 1931, which eliminated the severely damaged portico, it re-opened the large central window on the façade and it renovated the vaults and the roofing. The façade, with its horizontal crowning structure, is divided by a central cornice: in the lower part the Romanesque splayed portal with a round arch archivolt decorated with vine shoots, introduces a frescoed lunette with the image of the Virgin Mary with Child between St. Francis and St. John of Capistrano, dating back to the 16th century; in the upper part, in line with the portal, is the wide arched window with the Piccolomini family coat of arms. The church interior, with a single nave with a cross vault, has three chapels decorated with frescoes and two important paintings on wood depicting "Cristo porta-croce" (Christ bearing the Cross) and the "Natività" (Nativity scene), dating back to the 16th century. In the centre of the nave there is a wide balustrade staircase which leads to the crypt, called the “Paradise Chapel “due to its fresco portraying Paradise which can be seen in its vault. The stone altar with the family coat of arms of the Piccolomini family as well as a sepulchral monument that contains the mortal remains of the Archbishop of Sorrento Bernardino Silveri Piccolomini are both worthy of note.


    • Gallery

    • Contact

      MUNICIPIO :  Centralino 0863.79541



      CASTELLO PICCOLOMINI :  Ufficio tel. e fax 0863-792922

                                                            portineria tel. 0863-793730



Via XXIV Maggio, snc

Rocca Di Mezzo 67048 (AQ)


C.F. 01894910668