Sulmona is an elegant and magical town. Nestled in the mountains of Abruzzo it was white from a recent snow fall when we visited it a few days ago. We were shown around by the lovely Susanna and Katy, who run Welcome to Sulmona, the only English language insider’s guide to visitors to Sulmona.
Katy is English and moved to Sulmona with her family a few years ago, attracted to the area because it is not only close to Rome (so close to a flight to the UK), but a beautiful and relatively unspoilt part of Italy. She and Susanna, who is Italian but speaks perfect English, are passionate about their town and the whole of the Paligna valley. We had a long walk through the streets of Sulmona, past the beautiful Piazza Garibaldi which has what I am told has a wonderful farmer’s market on Saturdays.
Susanna described the medieval Easter procession, which involves life-sized wooden statues of various religious characters such as St John, St Peter and the Madonna, being paraded around the 13th century piazza. The performance culminates when the Madonna’s black cloak falls and white doves are released when she realises her son has risen from the dead. Read here for more about this amazing performance, which Susanna watches every year together with thousands of other people.
Sulmona is well known for its confetti (sugared almonds), which we tasted when we went to the pretty-as-a-picture Rapone Panfilo confetti shop. Here the confetti are made in small batches, from local ingredients and seasonally, using not only almonds but dried fruit and spices such as figs, cherries, ginger and cinnamon and either covered in a hard coloured sugar shell or chocolate.
We also had a sweet and delicious concoction called a ca’ffetto, which is an espresso coffee with a sweet creamy concoction on top made with William Di Carlo confetti at Caffè Ovidio in Corso Ovidio.
We only spent a brief half day in Sulmona (the rest of the day was spent in snow-laden Scanno and beyond) as part my time in Abruzzo that Giulia from Casale Centurione had arranged (I wrote about Giulia in my last blog post). I loved the elegance and beauty of this town that up until the day I saw it, I knew nothing about. Katy and Susanna certainly know their town and if you plan to visit, you should definitely look them up. You can find them on instagram (@welcometosulmona) and on their Facebook page of the same name. I will definitely make Sulmona part of my next Italian trip, perhaps returning in early summer when it is warm and the trees are green and lush.