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The solemn landscapes of the Apennines have for thousands of years approached the human being to the mysteries of faith. The caves, theater of pagan rites, witnessed the birth of the Christian hermiters and churches built everywhere in the early Middle Ages. The mountain, for those who visit these places, before being a physical height represents a spiritual symbol.

Basilica of S. Maria di Collemaggio in L'Aquila

Just outside the city walls there is the symbol of the sacred architecture of L’Aquila, built at the behest of Pietro da Morrone between 1275 and 1288. In 1294 the future Pope Celestino V received his pontifical vestments here. He was the first Pope to exercise his ministry outside the confines of the Papal State and one of the few to abdicate after only 5 months. This inspired Dante to place him in the hell of the Divine Comedy as the one who did the great refusal for cowardice. The love of the people for him, however, was not extinguished and in 1313 Fra’ Pietro was sanctified. Every year on August 28th and 29th the ritual of Perdonanza is renewed here, the perpetual plenary indulgence that Celestine V, just named pontiff, granted to the faithful people. The 723 year-old Celestial Forgiveness is an invitation to Peace, a value that takes shape through the Holy Door of the Basilica. The name derives from the Bolla del Perdono, preserved in the chapel of the civic tower of the Palazzo Comunale until the earthquake of 2009.

Shrine of Giovanni Paolo II in San Pietro della Ienca

The town of a few houses, once residence of shepherds, develops around the medieval church of San Pietro della Ienca. The church houses, since 2011, the first Shrine of Blessed Giovanni Paolo II in Europe, in memory of the beloved Pope who has come here several times to pray on these mountains. The village includes another sacred place: the hermitage of San Franco, from which the water that springs from the fountain of San Pietro seems It seems it can heal from skin diseases. The Giovanni Paolo II summit at 2425 m can be reached through a beautiful path starting from the hotel of Campo Imperatore. Upon arrival there is a cross in iron, 2.30 m high, built in memory of the Pope and of the four patron saints of L'Aquila: San Massimo D'Aveia, San Pietro Celestino V, San Bernardino da Siena and Sant’Equizio Amiternino.

Shrine of the Saint Nunzio Sulprizio in Pescosansonesco

On the slopes of Mount Picca is situated the charming village of Pescosansonesco, where the Shrine dedicated to San Nunzio Sulprizio was built. He was a young boy born into a humble family, in 1817. It is said that the young man was the victim of an incurable wound. While praying, he used to wash his wound at the source of Riparossa. In Vatican Council II of 1963, Pope Paolo VI enrolled Nunzio Sulprizio among the blessed. However, before that, Pescosansonesco had built a shrine near the miraculous source of Riparossa, where the faithful went to ask for protection. The Shrine preserves the remains of the Saint, considered as the protector of the disabled and of the victims of labor. The celebration in his honor takes place on May 5th. You can also visit the workshop of San Nunzio and the Art Gallery of Sacred Art.

Shrine of San Gabriele in Isola del Gran Sasso

At the foot of the Teramo side of the Gran Sasso, the Shrine, visited every year by over 2 million of faithful, is among the most famous sacred places in Abruzzo. It is dedicated to San Gabriele dell'Addolorata, who was born in Assisi in 1838. He died very young from tuberculosis in Isola del Gran Sasso. Thanks to many miracles attributed to him, in 1920 he was sanctified. In the Shrine, in addition to the sepulcher of San Gabriele, patron saint of the young and of the Abruzzo region, there are the Sala dei Doni and the Staurós Museum of Contemporary Sacred Art. Throughout the year, many pilgrims come to the sanctuary, above all when the anniversary of the Saint's death falls and late summer when young faithful come and stay there in a tent.

Scala Santa (Holy Stairs) in Campli

It was built in 1772 thanks to a Papal Privilege by Clement XIV. It is made up of 28 wooden steps. In order to receive the Plenary Indulgence, as it happens at the homonymous Scala in Rome, pilmgrims climb the steps on their knees. The shrine has also a cultural value. On this Scala, the pilgrims revisit the Passion, the Death and the Resurrection of Christ through the images painted on large canvases. On top of the Scala you can enter into the Sancta Sanctorum, where some splinters of the Cross of Christ and relics are preserved inside artistic reliquaries from the Neapolitan school of artists. Descending the Scale it’s possible to admire brighter colors, which recall the Resurrection and symbolize the purification of the faithful after the Indulgence obtained. Since 2000, Giovanni Paolo II granted a new Papal Bull, granting Indulgence every Friday of Lent.