L'Aquila

L'Aquila, in central Italy, is laid out within medieval walls on a hill in the valley of the Aterno River. The city is surrounded by the Apennines. L'Aquila sits upon a hillside in the middle of a narrow valley. A maze of narrow streets, lined with Baroque and Renaissance buildings and churches, open onto elegant piazzas. The city is home to the University of L'Aquila and has many cultural institutions, including a repertory theatre, a symphony orchestra, a fine-arts academy, a state conservatory and a film institute. The city also has a tradition in winter sports with four ski resorts lying around the city, including Gran Sasso d'Italia to the north east. In the highest part of the town is the massive Spanish fort (Forte Spagnolo), which is home to the National Museum of Abruzzo. Other sights in L'Aquila include the Church of San Bernadino di Siena and the Church of Santa Maria di Callemaggio. The surrounding area boasts Roman ruins (the important Roman city of Amiternum), ancient monasteries and numerous castles. The best known of these is Rocca Calascio, which is the highest castle in Italy and one of the highest in Europe.

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