View of the Gran Sasso
Talk about sad. This was a wonderful city with plenty of old palaces, with a vibrant market square containing the cathedral, with two spectacular churches and the castle. I still can't contemplate the scale of the destruction. I know that the beautiful church of santa Maria della Mortarana has suffered substantial damage, that at least some parts of the University have yet to re-open (our friends are working from home) and that the castle was significantly damaged. At the time of the earthquake it was said that Spain was bearing the cost of the restoration of the castle. It was originally built by local people for their Spanish overlords to use it for their suppression!
Our friends' sons are all in the swimming club of L'Aquila and we went with them to collect the boys after swimming.
near the castle
We were luccky enough to meet someone who worked at the castle and we were offered a trip round some parts not open to the public. Who could decline such an offer? It was so interesting. I had no idea that long pre-electricity it was possible to set a kind of acoustic alarm that could bring out defenders at the merest touch to the walls and t was great to look at the steps that the horses used to climb. The dungeon seemed a pretty ghastly place to languish but the gallery gave a splendid outlook out towards the Gran Sasso d'Italia where german pilots once rescued Mussolini.
Another interesting sight was what are called the 99 fountains. Legend has it that 99 settlements combined to form L'Aquila, each having its own church.