L'Aquila is the regional capital of Abruzzo and is situated 800 metres above sea level, just a short drive from Gran Sasso, the highest mountain in the Appennines in central Italy.
It was a city with a fantastic artistic and cultural tradition in sharp contrast to the rough terrain on all sides.
The aftermath of the recent earthquake is still testing the ability of the city to recover and preserve a unique patrimony. The local inhabitants are not too optimistic, but time will tell.
But after two years the historical center was still a no man's land, despite such wonderfully reassuring mages of President Obama, George Clooney and even the Giro d'Italia cycle race all making an appearence in the city.
Do watch the video below and do get depressed at the apparent lack of political interest from all sides.
To put things into context , this is what we wrote a few years before the earthquake (nb, note that of the two links we chose below. One no longer works and the other is a sad reminder of what was and is no more):
In fact, this mix of toughness and refined spirit means L'Aquila is today noted for both its fine university and equally fine rugby team.
The city was also been nominated the capital of digital cartography and capital of mathematical modelling during recent events.
Worth noting are the 'Chiesa di S.Giusta', the 'Spanish Castle' and the 'Basilica di S.Bernadino'.
The Civic Tower is one of the most interesting of all the sights as it contains the Celestine Bull and the 'Fountain with the 99 Taps'. This is said to represent the villages which co-operated in the building of the town for Frederick II of Swabia in 1254.
It is from here that the 'Perdonanza' takes place every year on the 28th August. This ancient procession features the carrying of the Celestine Bull to the Basilica di Collemaggio.
Once arrived, a cardinal elected by the Vatican opens the holy door and a week of concerts, shows and related events gets underway.
The interior of the Basilica contains an urn with the remains of Saint Peter Celestino who abandoned the Papacy after five months to return to living the life of a hermit.