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Castel di Sangro

A town rich in history, home of the artist Teofilo Patini


22 maggio 2023

Reading time:

4 min

  • Comuni d’Abruzzo
  • Mountain resorts
Veduta di Castel di Sangro


Descrizione lunga

You are in the main service and commercial centre of the wide Alto Sangro area which is well connected to the ski resorts of Roccaraso, Pescocostanzo and Rivisondoli. In the province of L'Aquila, Castel di Sangro sits on the right bank of the Sangro River and is the seat of the “Comunità Montana dell’Alto Sangro e dell’Altopiano delle Cinquemiglia”. 

Set partly on the slope of a cliff, it offers a view of a modern area topped by a historic core consisting of old houses and dominated by the imposing and magnificent bulk of the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo.
Castel di Sangro has an ancient history and preserves typical medieval and Renaissance architecture and remains of megalithic walls on the mountain on which the Samnites defended themselves.

The presence of settled populations in the area dates back to the 7th century B.C., as evidenced by the vast necropolis of Campo Consolino discovered in the late 19th century near Alfedena. Probably, this pre-Roman settlement was located on the mountain where the highest and oldest part of Castel di Sangro was later built. 
Frequent earthquakes along with wars influenced the existence of this centre over the centuries. Being on the "Gustav Line”, Castel di Sangro was bombed and destroyed in 1943, although it retained a valuable historic centre.
In the highest part of the town, its medieval castle – built in the 11th century on the remains of pre-existing fortifications – testifies to its chivalric past. The tower called "nova" (of very ancient construction) was used as a watchtower.

As you walk through the village you will have a chance to feel its evolution. Not only an artistic and cultural transformation, but also a historical and religious one. A passage of centuries that documents the great richness of Castel di Sangro. Two examples are the Church (and ex convent) of Maria Maddalena and the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta
The church – built on the site of a former Pilgrim Asylum – may date from the mid-15th century. It is built on two levels around a square cloister with a portico with round arches and a central well. The portico has frescoes on the lives of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony of Padua. The former convent is home to the Aufidenate Civic Museum, the International Fly Fishing Museum, and the War Museum.

The Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta is the town's main church. Of medieval origins, it was rebuilt in Baroque forms between 1695 and 1725. It retains its original semi-octagonal basilica plan with three naves and two orders of arches. It has a majestic façade of exposed stone, embellished with loggias of saints and twin side bell towers. Inside it holds a 14th-century Pietà and canvases by Francesco De Mura and Domenico Vaccaro, belonging to the 18th-century Neapolitan school.
But Castel di Sangro became nationally famous thanks to the figure of Teofilo Patini, a cornerstone of Italian realism, whose works are in the Pinacoteca Patiniana, located in the Palazzo De Petra – also called Casa Del Leone – that is a particular and famous historic house of the village.

Extending your walk and heading out of Castel di Sangro, we suggest a visit to the hamlet of Roccacinquemiglia, a pretty medieval village perched on a rocky outcrop, with a valuable historical past due to its strategic location as well as its religious aspect. 
After this long tour, it is time to sit down, rest and refresh yourself. An ideal lunch or dinner could consist of “carrati” that are local “maccheroni alla chitarra”, or gnocchi, to which you could add lamb, cooked in various ways, or the traditional sheep “arrosticini”. To end on a sweet note, we suggest “pigna” – a traditional doughnut-shaped dessert – or the fragrant “mostaccioli”.

What else to see:

  • The Church of St. Nicholas of Bari
  • The Church of St. John the Baptist
  • The Church of Saints Crispinianus and Crispinus
  • The Neviera (ice house)
  • The Roman Domus  
  • The Church of St. Lucy 
  • The Church of Saints Cosmas and Damian 
  • The Scodanibbio forest
  • The Church of Oration and Death


  • Comuni
  • Mountain resorts

Location of the Destination


41.786609047139, 14.109170436859

Last updated

15/02/2024, 14:32

Published by AbruzzoTurismo