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San Pietro della Ienca: the Town, the History, How to get there

San Pietro della Ienca is a smallest village in Province of L'Aquila (Abruzzo,Italy), near  the towns of Camarda and Assergi, on the Provincial Street of Vasto (SP 86).
The town sits on the top of a mountain, at an altitude of 1166 meters above sea, in front of the majestic summits of the Gran Sasso Mountain, which seems to defend it with its breathtaking grandeur.

San Pietro della Ienca village is composed of very little stone houses, ancient shepherds’ homes, who guided their sheep to the high ground pastures. These houses surround a beautiful small stone church, called "The Pope's Church", because it often accommodated Pope Karol Wojtyla, who fell in love with this stone town and loved praying between these high mountains. So, today,  the small stone church is the Official Pope John Paul II's Sanctuary. Because of this, many pilgrims have made this their destination.
The History of San Pietro della Ienca

Probably, the San Pietro della Ienca town was built before 1000 AD, but its first attestation was 1178, in the Pope Alexander III's Certificate. So, this town is more ancient than L'Aquila, which was founded in 1254. In fact,  San Pietro della Ienca is was one of the founding towns of L'Aquila, with Assergi, Camarda and Filetto.

Many people think the name of San Pietro della Ienca originates from Pope Celestino V's name (the Pope "who by his cowardice made the great refusal" as Dante Alighieri describes him in Divine Comedy, in Inferno III). His name, in fact, was Pietro da Morrone.

Others think the name of San Pietro della Ienca originates from Saint Pietro's name, the Christ's Apostle, who founded the Church. The coat of arms of San Pietro della Ienca, in fact, resembles the First Apostle's symbols. It describes two crossed keys, linked by a red bandage, on a yellow bandage.
The red color is a sign of  "robbia" (a wild red plant) and the yellow color is a sign of saffron, a typical product of L'Aquila Province.

Later on, San Pietro della Ienca was abandoned by it’s people, who went to the city of L'Aquila.

Today, San Pietro della Ienca has been restored and is a beautiful small stone town, which many pilgrims visit to find the Pope John Paul II' Spirit. This is His Sanctuary.

Where to sleep in San Pietro della Ienca: Hotel, Farm House, B&B, Camping
  • La Grotta del Papa (Holiday House): San Pietro della Ienca (L'Aquila) - Tel: +39 0862 408059 - Mobile: +39 328 8644264

How to get to San Pietro della Ienca
  • By car: To reach San Pietro della Ienca, leave the A24 Railway through the exit of Assergi and keep driving on the Provincial Street of Vasto (SP86) in the direction of Teramo. After 3 km, you can see the San Pietro della Ienca town from the street, on the left.

Map of San Pietro della Ienca