Located in the Upper Valley of the river Sagittario, on the summit of Mount Argoneta, Villalago, in the province of L'Aquila, is a beautiful and charming fortified town, founded around the year 1000 by the Benedectine monk San Domenico Abbot and belonged to the Monastery of San Pietro de Lacu. The monastery and the surrounding lands, in fact, were endowed by the Counts of Valva with privileges that attracted a large number of people, that decided to settle here permanently. With time, to secure a certain defense, perched on Mount Argoneta, where some Lombard watch towers already stood, a new fortified village was built and named Villalago. In 1479 the monastery was abandoned by the Benedictines and became seat of the Villalago University.
Sites of Interest:
- the characteristic Old Town center, with its narrow streets and houses clinging to the surrounding cliffs;
- the Church of Our Lady of Loreto, mentioned in records of the XIV century with the name of Santa Maria della Villa. It features a beautiful portal with a bezel, while inside it is possible to admire a painting of the Madonna del Rosario depicted in 1561, a plank of the bed of San Domenico Abate, Patron Saint of the town, while a splendid XV century reliquary in the Sacristy preserves one of his teeth;
- the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, situated at the top of the town, in the courtyard of Palazzo Lupi and preserves inside a beautiful miniature of the Madonna dating from the XVIII century;
- the Church of San Michele Arcangelo, which probably dates back to the period of the Lombard domination;
- the Monastery of St. Dominic, surrounded by a landscape of rare natural beauty. Perched on a rocky outcrop and surrounded by dense forests and the emerald water of a lake and inhabited by many species of birds;
- the medieval Tower, which had the function of a watch tower;
- the Old Town Hall, built in the late XIX century, where once stood a Church entitled to St. John the Baptist, of which the Bell Tower was converted into the Civic Clock Tower.