Address: Annunziata, Corso Ovidio

Orari: Chiusa a seguito del sisma del 2009

Ingresso: Libero


The medieval-modern collection, located on the first floor of the building, in the rooms of the main building overlooking Corso Ovidio, spreads over five halls and in the 1990’s, during the renovation, was reorganized according to chronological and typological exhibition criteria. Along the stairway and in the first "Knight’s"  room - so called as it was here that the Jousting amour was kept - there is a large and diverse exhibition of stone artefacts from the 12th to the 16th centuries consisting of reliefs, round sculptures, architectural and decorative elements and liturgical furnishings.

Among the exhibits is a head crowned with laurel, from the 15th century representing the Latin poet Ovid, two images of Pope Celestine V, a saint in meditation from the 14th century and the statue of Santa Caterina from the late Gothic period.

The next room, named after "Giovanni da Sulmona", houses an important collection of paintings on wood and wooden sculptures typical of 15th century Abruzzo. Among the artists on display, in addition to the illustrious Sulmonese to whom we have attributed and dated the 1435 Tabernacle, there are the Masters of San Silvestro - otherwise known as the Beffi Triptych - and those of the Caldora Chapel, to whom the Diptych with Sant’Onofrio and Mary Magdalene and the Crucifix from the apse at Ortucchio have been attributed.

In the wooden sculpture section, of particular note are the Virgin of the Annunciation from the nearby church of SS. Annunziata and the Saint John the Baptist, by the same Giovanni da Sulmona, who would at that time have also worked as a sculptor.

The following "Fresco Hall" has a display of jewellery as well as another small group of wooden statues and an exemplary polychrome terracotta dating from the 15th to the 17th century.  There is also a series of frescoes recovered from the city’s churches and buildings which document the mural painting of the Middle Ages.   Among these are the Madonna and Child with Saints - from the portal of the ruined church of St. Augustine - and another painting with the same subject removed from the staircase of the Palazzo Sanita, both from the 15th century.

In the central display case is a significant collection of jewellery from Sulmona alongside later Neapolitan Baroque artefacts. To the treasures of the Casa Santa dell’Annunziata belong, among others, the 14th-century silver cross with enamel of the Sienese school and two reliquaries of the 15th century stamped with SVL - the distinctive mark of the prestigious local goldsmith workshops which were active between the 14th and 16th centuries.

The “Sala dei Catasti” contains some handwritten land records, including the precious Catasto onciario cittadino from 1376 - the oldest still in existence from the southern provinces.

Here there are also reliquary busts and angel candlestick holders, wooden furniture from the 12th to the 13th centuries, a walnut wood lectern which belonged to the monastery of Santa Chiara and choir stalls and benches from the sacristy of the nearby Abbey of Santo Spirito al Morrone together with some portraits of the Celestinian abbots.

The tour ends in the "Celestine room", where there are on display, along with two 16th century works, the important group of paintings which again come from the Abbey, including the two large, arched altarpieces which were placed opposite each other in the abbey’s church.  These are of St. Benedict writing the rule by the neoclassical painter Antonio Raphael Mengs and the Apotheosis of St. Peter Celestine by Giovanni Conca, both signed and dated in the mid 18th century, which document the growing artistic relationship between Abruzzo and Rome at that time.

Historical Notes

It was Antonio De Nino, a distinguished Abruzzese researcher and archaeologist, who was responsible for the founding of the Museum of Sulmona in the late 19th century, which was housed initially in a hall of the Palazzo Cattaneo in Via Corfinio, and consists essentially of archaeological remains found in various areas of the city. The continued growth of the museum’s collection and the acquisition by the municipality of furniture from the Abbey of the Santo Spirito al Morrone led, in 1894, to the transfer of the civic collection to the former convent of Santa Caterina where they were displayed together with works from the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods which had been donated in the meantime. At the beginning of the 20th century the museum’s collection was further increased by frescoes from churches and city buildings and the group of paintings on wood and wooden sculptures recovered by the art historian Pietro Piccirilli from the ruined church of Sant'Orante Ortucchio, which had collapsed in the earthquake of 1915. Finally, in 1927, under the direction of Guido Piccirilli, the museum found its final and most suitable location in the Palazzo della Santissima Annunziata. Restored after 1960 - when the town’s hospital which had been located there for centuries was moved - and again following the earthquake of 1984 - the prestigious building underwent a further restoration, which also covered almost all of the paintings and wooden statues.