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Touring L'Aquila During the Reconstruction

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posts: 8
reviews: 7
Touring L'Aquila During the Reconstruction

Ciao, tutti,

I am lucky enough to be studying abroad this coming semester in Italy, and luckier still to be able to travel for a spell after the semester. I will be in Firenze for my studies, so I will have plenty of time to visit the most popular sites up north, and plenty of cities and towns to busy myself with up there even after covering the basics. However, I have long felt that the south of Italy gets a bad rap, or at least ignored, by travelers. In an effort to form my own opinions, I am hoping to be able to cover from top to toe of the boot (and heel besides) while I'm abroad, with the probable exception of Sardegna. Sorry, Sardegna.

In an effort to make sure I stick to my word, I have been seeking out at least one city or town per region. I have had the most trouble in the corridor down from Le Marche through to Calabria, if you can imagine the curve that would make. I am sure I'll be seeking help from various other people in these locations, but I have my heart set on L'Aquila when I get to Abruzzo, probably in early June. I haven't ruled out other towns as well, but L'Aquila has, conceptually, captured my heart.

I know about the earthquake, though in typical American fashion I am not sure I knew about it as it happened. Mi dispiace. Honestly, the earthquake is part of the reason I want to go to L'Aquila. I want to see the beauty in the city despite the wreckage: in its people, places, food, everything. My research thus far shows a city which was well-loved before the disaster. I want to get to know it, even though it's dramatically different.

What this does mean, however, and why I am contacting you fine people, is that while I can research the other places I'm considering quite easily in old or new travel guides, sites all over the web, past travelers, etc, I really need locals and recent visitors to keep me informed as to what the landscape is like for a visitor. What are the can't-miss locales that are still accessible to visitors? Are there areas which are still unsafe to traverse? I hate having to ask these questions, but I want to be prepared without being -too- prepared. I don't want to know every last thing waiting for me, as tempting as it is to simply google-earth every town in the country, nor do I want the impact of any city, but especially this one, to be dulled by too many photographs by other people. But I also want to be able to make the most of my time in the city and not just marvel at the tragedy, but to revel in the surviving and restored elements, and glimpse the city I would have seen only a few years ago.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated, from old standbys (I don't want to only do museums and churches, but I will not want to pass up a great one) to local gems (I love things that feel unlike anything else). I do not know how long I'll have in the city yet, but I would love to get a feel for how I can best savor it, whether it be for a day or a few. Mille Grazie.

Teramo
Destination Expert
for Abruzzo
posts: 350
reviews: 69
1. Re: Touring L'Aquila During the Reconstruction

Ciao! It was really interesting reading your post and upliftng that you wish to visit this once fine city. Whilst we are based just on the other side of the Gran Sasso in the Teramo province of Abruzzo,we visit L'Aquila when we can and hope that each time we do things have improved a little. Sadly, not much has changed since that fateful day in April 2009 and still almost 3 years on, large parts of the centro storico are still cordened off. That's not to say there is nothing else to see there and we would encourage you to go.

We have a friend who is based in New York who has been very much involved in fund raising for the restoration of L'Aquila and she is due to visit again this coming spring. She will undoubdtedly have a more up-to-date picture of the situation and we'd be happy to put you is touch with her if you wish. Either send a private message to us or email directly and we'll pass on your details.

This area is truly spectacular, so if you get the opportunity, try and stay a little longer. We're sure Abruzzo will not disappoint you.

UK
posts: 4,601
reviews: 6
2. Re: Touring L'Aquila During the Reconstruction

I think as many people as possible from all over the world should visit l'Aquila, so that everyone can see how very little has been done, despite lots of money being raised for the victims of the earthquake and the reconstruction. Those responsible for 'doing nothing' should be shamed into doing something....

How good is your Italian ? This is from La Repubblica (today)

"E se il dolore non si è affievolito, lo ha fatto la speranza di riavere in tempi brevi la città ricostruita. Nel terzo anniversario del sisma il centro storico è completamente fermo. La ricostruzione del cuore del capoluogo non è ancora partita e le cifre relative all'assistenza della popolazione sono impressionanti: 21.731 persone ancora assistite, secondo i dati della Struttura per la gestione dell'emergenza, di cui diecimila alloggiate a carico dello Stato e 11.312 che godono dell'autonoma sistemazione. E ancora: 173 aquilani sono ospitati negli alberghi e 141 nelle strutture di permanenza temporanea (come la caserma della Guardia di finanza). Le macerie, poi, sono quasi tutte lì da 36 mesi: solo il 5% è stato rimosso."

Teramo
Destination Expert
for Abruzzo
posts: 350
reviews: 69
3. Re: Touring L'Aquila During the Reconstruction

We totally agree with your sentiments Nolanda and yes, it is disgraceful that so little has been done in the past 3 years since the earthquake. We do as much as we can in promoting tourism, but it is hard when the people with the power and the money to do what is really necessary, do so very little.

If you get 5 minutes, have a look at this from a local photographer. Stunning and saddening images from L'Aquila, with commentary on each photo. He and many others (including us) are involved in campaigns to revive this once vibrant and beautiful city. http://www.giancarlomalandra.it/

Anyone else who reads these post, please, please do not be put off from visiting... the people of L'Aquila need you.

Many thanks.

UK
posts: 4,601
reviews: 6
4. Re: Touring L'Aquila During the Reconstruction

bump

Pittsburgh...
posts: 1
reviews: 2
5. Re: Touring L'Aquila During the Reconstruction

We too are traveling to Abruzzo in late September and early October 2012. We were in L'Aquila and Sulmona in 2008, and fell in love with the area. For our upcoming trip, we're returning to Sulmona for a week, and would like to stay in L'Aquila for a week as well, though we're having a difficult time finding a self-catering apartment and figuring out what restaurants are still open, and where some have relocated? Is there a particular area outside of the city that we should look into? We are probably going to rent a car this time to be able to better access hiking trails and the smaller towns, but would still like to stay somewhere where we can walk to restaurants, etc...any suggestions? And/or is L'Aquila really ready for tourists?

6. Re: Touring L'Aquila During the Reconstruction

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