L’Aquila is the capital of the Abruzos region, in the center of Italy. With a population of around 73.000, is also the capital of the L’Aquila Province. Despite being less than one and a half hour away by car from Rome this city, surrounded by medieval walls, has not yet been affected by massive tourism.
It holds many electronic and pharmaceutical industries. Some places of interest are: La Rocca, a XVI Century Spanish fortress erected under the direction of the Valencian Engineer Pedro Luis Escriva; the romanic Basilica of St. Mary of Collemaggio, where the Pope Celestino V was crowned and buried; the St. Bernardino Basilica and the middle age fountain of the 99 waterjets (still unknown from where its water comes), that honours the 99 regional communities believed to have founded the city.
The luminous Fontana is another attraction: a sculpture of two women holding several jars, built in the 1930s. In the city outskirts there are Roman ruins (Amiternum), ancient monasteries and several castles, the best known of which is the Rocca Calascio, the highest castle in Italy and one of the highest in Europe.
There are also skiing strips in Gran Sasso d’Italia, the highest elevation in the Apeninos and the italic peninsula with 9.540 feet high. It also has one of the most important rugby teams in Italy. Finally, close to the city, the National Nuclear Physics Institute, with laboratories located in the heart of the Gran Sasso.
During the dawn of April 6, 2009, a 6.3 degree earthquake centered in this place killed 308 people, leaving 1.500 injured and damaged part of its historic buildings patrimony. In July 2009 the city was seat to the 35th G8 meeting.