Fossa, Province of L'Aquila, Abruzzo

About 10 km. south of L'Aquila in a charming location, Fossa is dominated by Mount Ocre. A confectionery called Dolci Aveja continues the tradition of bakery for which the village has always been so popular.


  • Altitude: 644 m a.s.l
  • Distance from L'Aquila: 25 km
  • Population: ca. 600 inhabitants
  • Postal code: 67020
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0862
  • How to reach it: by road, S.S.n° 5bis, S.P. Monticchio.


Mount Ocre (2204 m a.s.l.), which with its huge profiel offered protection and security to local populations, has given its name to ancient religious and lay buildings, all erected in the Middle Ages. From Mount Ocre, according to tradition, San Massimo, the patron saint of the city of L'Aquila, was precipitated in 210 AD. Another great figure of Christianity, St. Cesidio from Fossa, went missionary to China in the years 1898-1900 and was burned alive in front of his mission during a reprisal of the Boxers.

On a rocky spur in the 13th century the Convent of St. Angelo d'Ocre was built, originally for Benedictine nuns. Inside the church, restored in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Blessed Bernardino of Fossa is buried; according to the tradition, he was born in a medieval house in the Via del Palio.

Of the ancient fortified enclosure the ruins of the tower at an altitude of 933 m are extant. In an area from which it is possible to admire all the main mountain ranges of the territory, the imposing Castle of Ocre was rebuilt after the destruction by the Aquilans in 1280, but now almost destroyed again.


What to see

  • The church of Santa Maria ad Cryptas: built in the latter half of the 13th century on a gentle hill near Fossa, a village a few km from L'Aquila, this unique church has a very simple facade with a sextiacute portal with a lion at the top and two more lions lying on the two side columns. The interior, consisting of one aisle divided into three sections, is completely covered with frescoes which represent one of the most typical examples of Gothic-byzanthine art in Abruzzi. The frescoes follow a logical sequence starting from the right wall and are dedicated to the creation, a calendar with the months of the year symbolized with their typical rural activities; a cycle of Christ, with the stories of the Passion, the Crucifixion and the Sepulture of Christ, and finally 12 episodes from the Life of the Virgin Mary by a much later artist.
  • The Parish Church of the Assumption, built in the 18th century on a previous 13th-century church has a beautiful eighteenth-century coffered ceiling by B. Ciferri, in addition to a fine Madonna and Child.
  • The Bonanni Palace, where important, valuable crafts of Abruzzo are preserved, among them valuable Castelli majolicas, and paintings by major Abruzzese artists as Teofilo Patini, Francesco Paolo Michetti and the Cascellas.
  • The ruins of the city of Aveia
  • The Monastery of Santo Spirito d'Ocre, a 13th-century building, with a church in the Burgundian style, which, for its architecture and interiors is very much reminiscent of the Oratory of San Pellegrino and the nearby Church of St. Maria delle Grotte.

Events and Festivities

  • July: Wine Festival
  • Second week in August: Steak Festival.

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