The earliest monastic center was founded in the ninth century by order of the emperor Ludwig II and a few elements of this original structure were re-used in the monumental reconstruction started in 1176 under the direction of the abbot Leonate.
The monastery of Santo Spirito on Morrone, also called Badia Morronese, is the mother-house of the order of Celestinian Friars and rises at the foot of Monte Morrone, in the surroundings of Sulmona.
The origins of the Benedictine monastery are enveloped in mystery.
Outlying village of Pretola the monastery of Santo Spirito is the only extant example of Cistercian fortified architecture in the Abruzzi; it was founded by the hermit Placito from Roio who settled in a cave on Monte Circolo and in a short time received by the Counts of Ocre a donation intended for the building of a monastery in the surroundings of Pretola, near-by his former hermitage.
The Romanic church of Santa Maria del Lago (Holy Mary of Lake), built probably over Roman ruins, rises outside Moscufo, and is the only extant part of a twelfth-century abbey.
The foundation of the Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria ad Praetutiarum (later Propezzano), under the jurisdiction of San Salvatore Abbey in Rieti, is related to an apparition of the Holy Mary, occurred in 715, in that place. Today the aspect of the building is approximately the same that it was in the thirteenth century, with the addition of the fifteenth-century belfry. The faade of the church is divided in two parts of different height, both with horizontal coping adorned with brick arches.
The Cistercian Abbey of Arabona was most probably founded when, in the year 1197, Gentile and Manerio of Palearia bestowed a donation on the monk Pietro from Sant'Anastasio alle Acque Salvie and on Bartolomeo, procurator of the church of Santa Maria in Monte Vitulo. The golden age of the eleventh and twelfth centuries is followed by years of crisis, which hindered from accomplishing the area. At the end of the sixteenth century a Franciscan community settled in the monastery and remained there until the end of the eighteenth century.
The church of Santa Maria in Porclaneta Valley dates back in the time, though the earliest attestations refer to the XI century, when the monastery passed under the jurisdiction of Montecassino Abbey. The plan of the church consists of a single hall concluding in an apse; before the entrance there is a pronaos, which used to lead to the monks' rooms, now collapsed.
The existence of the monastery, supported by documentary evidence since the eleventh century, is attested as from1091, when the Abbey of San Vincenzo al Volturno donated it to the church of Saint Peter of Loreto. The dispute about its property continued in the following centuries, and finally in the fifteenth century the monastery was declared under the authority of Saint Peter; in the same period Queen Giovanna of Naples instituted a fair which had to take place in the square in front of the church.
San Giovanni in Venere Abbey, founded on the ruins of a Roman temple consecrated to Venus, was re-built with the addition of a monastery in1050 by order of Trasmondo I. The abbot Oderisio II gave it its present aspect in 1165 and provided it with a magnificent portal on the eastern side decorated with precious bas-reliefs. The church plan consists of a nave and two aisles with apses and a raised presbytery. Below it there is the crypt: two aisles with five cross-spans and frescoed apses.