Celano travel guide

Celano is a small town of about 11,000 inhabitants in the province of L’Aquila in Abruzzo. Its main attraction is the Piccolomini Castle, which towers over the entire village.

Celano travel guide

Useful information

Piccolomini Castle Celano
Piccolomini Castle

Tourist information: Piazza IV Novembre, 1, 67043 Celano. Phone: +39 0863 79541. Hours: From 10:00 till 13:00. Closed: Sundays.

Town hall: Comune di Celano – Piazza IV Novembre – 67043 Celano. Police +39 0863 792450.

Railway station: The Celano-Ovindoli station is on the Roma-Pescara line.

Nearest airport: Pescara.

Tourist attractions

The Piccolomini Castle is located at the top of the hill on which Celano is built.

The Museo d’Arte Sacra della Marsica is a museum of religious art located inside the castle.

The Gole di Celano is a beautiful hiking trail through a ravine. It is about 12 kilometers long, starts at Celano and ends in Ovindoli.

The San Giovanni Battista Church was built in the 13th century and has a beautiful portal and a fresco painted by Andrea de Lito.

The Sant’Angelo Church was built in the 14th century and stands next to the castle.

The San Francesco Church also dates from the 14th century.

The 16th-century Madonna del Carmine Church was commissioned by the Piccolomini family.

The Madonna delle Grazie Church was built in the 11th century. It is the only church in Celano that was not razed to the ground by Frederick II in 1223.

The Sacro Cuore Church was built in 1962 by architect Augusto Angelici. Inside the church, the 14 Stations of the Cross are depicted by various contemporary artists.

The San Rocco Church (Piazza Aia) was built in the 16th century, by order of Costanza Piccolomini. It was constructed next to the hospital her father Innico Piccolomini had had constructed some years before.

A brief history of Celano

Celano is one of the most central towns in the province of L’Aquila in Abruzzo. After centuries of having been the property of a succession of feudal feudal lords, the town’s history was mainly defined by the reclamation of Lago Fucino.

Earliest history

The earliest known inhabitants of the territory of present-day Celano used to live there about 18,000 years ago. The oldest finds are remnants of stilt houses from the Bronze Age (just over 3,500 years ago) while a necropolis dating from the 10th century B.C. has also been found, with tombs surrounded by a circle of stones.

During Roman rule, the settlement was part of the sphere of influence of the city of Alba Fucens.

Middle ages

To escape the barbarian invasions and also the regular floodings of Lago Fucino, the settlement moved to the higher Monte Tino.

After 591, when the Lombards took power, the Roman administrative structures were replaced by so-called gastalds and duchies. The Marsica (the name of the region where Celano is located) became part of the Duchy of Spoleto. In 859 it was declared a County by Lothar II.

The Counts Berardi made Celano into an important city, and in the mid-11th century Cardinal Pandolfo, a descendant of the family, had the San Giovanni Church built. In 1223, this was the only structure that survived the fire and total destruction of the city at the hands of Frederick II.

Frederick II then had the city’s inhabitants exiled to Sicily and Malta. In 1227 they were allowed to return by order of Honorius II and build a citadel on the San Falviano hill around the new San Giovanni Battista Church.

In 1392, Count Pietro Berardi had a castle built on the top of this hill.

In 1463, Ferdinando d’Aragona gave the County to Antonio Todeschini Piccolomini, grandson of Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who was better known as Pope Pius II. The (Tuscan-born) Piccolomini gave Celano a Renaissance facelift. The half-moon depicted on several important buildings in the city was the family’s coat of arms.

In 1591, Costanza Piccolomini sold the County of Celano to Pope Sixtus V’s sister, Camilla Peretti. This family ruled the city until the end of the 17th century, a period marked by poverty, plague epidemics and popular uprisings.

In 1647, the people even managed to conquer the castle under Antonio Quinzi, only to be thrown out again by Spanish troops.

Later owners were the Savelli, the Cesarini and finally Francesco Sforza-Bovadilla, who was the last count of Celano, since the feudal feudal system was abolished in 1806 by Gioacchino Murat.

From the 19th century on, things went downhill for Celano. Climate change caused by the draining of Lago Fucino and the 1915 earthquake, which killed a third of the population and destroyed much of the city’s historic center, led to mass emigration.

In 1951, farmers became owners of the lands drained by Prince Torlonia and the city’s economic resurgence began.

How to get to Celano

Celano is located along the A25 highway between Torano and Pescara.


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2 thoughts on “Celano travel guide

  1. Margaret (Iezzi) Meyer says:

    I want to visit Celano when I come to Rome in October. I will not have a car and wonder if Celano has public transportation or tour guides? My grandparents Sante & Gaudenza (D’Andrea) Iezzi were from there. How would I look for family?

    1. vanhamenator@gmail.com says:

      Hello Margaret,

      The city seems to organize guided tours, but only on Saturdays, and only for groups of at least 20 and not bigger than 40 people. For more information, you can write to: ufficioturistico@comune.celano.aq.it.
      There are trains from Rome to the Celano-Ovincoli station, but these are not very frequent.
      For information about your family, you probably had best visit the town hall (Piazza IV Novembre, phone +39 0863 79541).
      Hope this is helpful,



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