A little over two years ago, I had a Skype interview and accepted a teaching position in a town called Sulmona. I had never even been to Italy before. My new boss warned me that Sulmona was pretty small but I had no idea what I was in for.
Sulmona is a town in the Abruzzo region of Italy, a little over 2 hours from Rome and just under an hour from Pescara, on the Adriatic coast. It’s in a valley and surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Its most famous resident would be the Roman poet Ovid, of whom the inhabitants are very proud. There’s even a bronze statue of him in Piazza XX Settembre.
Anyway, if you want to know more about the history of Sulmona, you can always Google it. Plenty of people have written much better articles than I ever could. 😉
Moving to Sulmona was a bit of a culture shock. I have lived in other small towns but this one really takes the biscuit. As of the 30th June 2013, there were 24 854 residents. You may think that is quite big but a lot of the residents live in areas outside of the centre. The town centre itself consists of one main street. It is, however, one of the most beautiful towns I have ever lived in. One of my favourite views is Piazza Garibaldi, the main square in Sulmona. Every Wednesday and Saturday morning the place is filled with the market. Many people are surprised at the variety of fresh products you can find there at incredibly cheap prices.
Sulmona really comes alive in summer. Many tourists come to enjoy the Giostra Cavallaresca – an ancient jousting tournament where jockeys have to ride around the track and collect rings of varying points. The town prepares for weeks in advance. The town is split into various sections and they deck themselves out in their own colours and flags. There are parties and parades and a genuine euphoric atmosphere. They take it very seriously though. In fact, at this year’s giostra, a fight broke out between rival zones. It is a lot of fun though and I will document the festivities nearer the time.
Sulmona is also known for confetti – sugar-coated almonds. Colourful displays line the streets and most people have a preference for one brand or another. I just eat them all, to be honest.
I will leave it there for now. I will be writing more about this special town very soon.