SULMONA, or SOLMONA (anc. Sulmo), a city and episcopal see of the Abruzzi, Italy, in the province of Aquila, 40 m. by rail S.E. by E. of that town, and 107 m. E. by N. of Rome (75 m. direct). Pop. (1901), 13,372 (town), 18,247 (commune). Sulmona is situated at a height of 1322 ft. above the sea on the Gizio, a tributary of the Pescara, which supplies water-power to its paper-mills, fulling-mills and copper-works. Its cathedral of San Panfilio has a 14th-century portal. The interior has been modernized, but in the crypt are some medieval sculptures.
Sulmona has also in S. Maria deUa Tomba a good example oi pure Gothic. S. Francesco d'Assisi occupies the site of an older and larger church, the Romanesque portal of which still stands at the end of the Corso Ovidio, and forms the entrance to the meat market. Opposite is a picturesque aqueduct of 1266 with pointed arches. S. Agostino has a good Gothic portal. The Ospedale Civico, next to the church of the Annunziata, begun in the first half of the 15th century, shows an interesting mixture of Gothic and Renaissance styles. The window of the Palazzo Tabassi is similar, and both are due to Lombard masters. In the court of the grammar school is a fine 1st century statue of Ovid, the most celebrated native of the town, whose memory is preserved among the peasants in songs and folk-lore. The Porta Napoli is an interesting gate of the early 14th century. Innocent VII. was a native of the town. In the vicinity of the town is Monte Morrone where Pietro di Morone lived (c. 1254) as a hermit and founded a monastery for his hermits, who after his elevation to the papacy as Celestine V. took the name of Celestines; the monastery (S. Spirito) remained till 1870, when it was transformed into a prison. There are some ruins of the imperial period, attributed, groundlessly, to the house of Ovid near it. The church contains a Gothic tomb of 1412 by a German master, in which Renaissance influence is, according to Burckhardt, traceable for the first time in south Italy in the realistic characterization of the portrait figures.
Sulmo, a city of the Paeligni, is first mentioned during the Second Punic War (211 B.C.). It was the second town of the Paeligni in importance, Corfinium coming first. It became a Roman colony probably in the reign of Augustus, and as a munitipium it continued to flourish throughout the empire. It was situated 7 m. south-east of Corfinium on the road to Aesernia, and was famous for its ironsmiths. Hardly any remains of the ancient city exist above ground, owing to frequent earthquakes. A number of discoveries of tombs (both archaic and of the Roman period), etc., have however been made (cf. A. de Nino, in Notizie degliScavi, passim). Charles V. erected it into a principality, which he bestowed on Charles Lannoy, who had captured Francis I. at the battle of Pavia. It ultimately passed to the Corno and Borghese families. The bishopric is known as that of Valva and Sulmona.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)