About L'Aquila

Practical information on the city, its living costs, cafeterias, free-time and excursions etc.

About L'Aquila

The City of L'Aquila in brief

  • Reasonable cost of living
  • A town of artistic interest
  • Safe and quiet but also a lively university town
  • Direct buses to Rome in little more than 1 hour
  • Three popular ski resorts nearby as well as three national parks
  • Sandy beaches at a short distance

L'Aquila is an Italian city with about 70,000 inhabitants and around 20,000 university students. It is the capital of the Abruzzo region and it is conveniently located 100 km (62 miles) east of Rome. The city is on a hill at 720 m (2365 ft) above sea level and is surrounded by mountains, most notably to the north by the Gran Sasso range, which includes the highest peaks (up to 2,900 m) of the Apennines, with several small lakes, trails and mountain climbing routes as well as deep caves. Within the province of L’Aquila there are also two national parks (Parco Nazionale Gran Sasso Monti della Laga and Parco Nazionale della Majella).
The city itself is full of history, traditions, beautiful buildings (like the Spanish Fortress) and churches (most notably, the Collemaggio Basilica). There are also a lot of good restaurants, pubs and places where students get together at night (most remarkably, on Thursdays and Saturdays). The city is also the home of L'Aquila Rugby - this team won the Italian championship five times.
For more practical and historical information about L'Aquila, click here.

Living costs

A student will spend approximately 600 euros a month:

  • Around 300 EUR on average for accommodation in a single room (in a twin room you may save ~50 EUR or more); note that such an amount does not usually include utilities (heating, electricity, water, Internet).

  • About 300 EUR to cover: 

    • Meals (reduced fares for international students available for ~3 EUR or even free meals at the canteens in L'Aquila if you're awarded a Regional Grant).

    • Public transportation (a monthly bus pass in L'Aquila costs around 30 euros)

    • The costs for books, sports centres and other personal expenses.

Canteen at the Math Department (Coppito campus)

Location: between the "Coppito 1" and "Coppito 0" buildings, next to the University cafè.
Opening time: 12.30 pm - 2.30 pm Mon-Fri


Main university canteen

Open for lunch and dinner even at weekends
New location: via Dell'Arcivescovado 8, right in the old city centre, next to the main square Piazza Duomo

University canteens and cafeterias are managed by ADSU. You will need to register by ADSU to get a digital canteen card. This will entitle you to eat at reduced fares (~3 EUR) or even get a free meal if you're awarded a Regional Grant by ADSU.

Free Time


Aquilasmus is an official student association, part of ESN (Erasmus Student Network). Aquilasmus offers several services to Erasmus students, like organizing parties, trips, international dinners, cine forums and more. Take a look at their website, join their Facebook group and check out their Instagram page to get to know other international students and be involved in their activities.

Bars, restaurants, pubs & clubs, discos

Although several buildings in the old city are still to be reconstructed after the 2009 earthquake, dozens of bars and clubs have proudly reopened their doors. You will find lots of students hanging out mostly on Thursday nights (knonw as  university night) and Saturday nights. Just ask the taxi/bus driver to drop you at "Fontana Luminosa" (the big fountain near the castle) and walk into the main road "Corso Federico II". You'll see that most people gather in a small square a few steps ahead near "via Garibaldi". 


  • Movieplex Via Leonardo Da Vinci, Pettino, L'Aquila (25 mins walk from the Math Dept.)




Being L'Aquila ideally located in central Italy, you'll have lots of opportunities to visit Italy's top destinations: Rome, Naples, Pompei, Sicily, Florence, Venice, Verona, Milan, Turin, to mention just a few. The easiest and most convenient way to reach any of these destinations is from the bus/train stations in Rome, where you can get to by TUA/ARPA coach or Flixbus from L'Aquila (either from the bus station "Collemaggio" or from the Hotel Amiternum). Some destinations (Bologna, Venice, Verona to the North or the whole beautiful Apulia region in Southern Italy - most notably the Salento Peninsula) are more easily accessible from Pescara train station, where you can get to by TUA/ARPA coach from L'Aquila bus station or even by train (you'll have to change trains in Sulmona). Recently, most popular Italian cities have also been connected to L'Aquila by direct coaches (Flixbus).

And, if you're into art, don't miss out on the opportunity to visit Rome museums for free on the first Sunday of every month!

Short excursions around L'Aquila

Amiternum archeological site

amiternum siteOn the way to Pizzoli (west L'Aquila) you may stop by and visit the stunning archaeological site of Amiternum, an ancient Italic town founded by the Sabines and conquered by the Romans in the 3rd century B.C.!

The site features an amphitheatre, a theatre, public baths as well as an aqueduct. 

For more information and opening times, visit this link.

Gran Sasso and other ski resorts

Gran Sasso is Italy's second highest mountain (2,912 m asl). From the bus station in L'Aquila you can catch a number M6 bus (free shuttle buses at weekends!) bound for Assergi/Fonte Cerreto (1150 m above sea level), which is the base of the cableway that will take you to Campo Imperatore (around 2100 m asl). Campo Imperatore is a ski resort where you'll also find an astronomic observatory, a hotel (where Italian dictator Mussolini was held captive), an alpine garden, lakes and several breathtaking trails. The cableway may not be available all year round (it's usually closed in summer). Anyway, if it's closed, you may still decide to get to Fonte Cerreto to go on a hiking trip: there are several amazing hiking paths starting there! 

If you are into skiing, there are another 2 popular ski resorts at a short distance from L'Aquila, with better facilities than Campo Imperatore:

- Campo Felice: see here
- Ovindoli: see here


Stiffe Caves (Grotte di Stiffe)

Another place worth visiting in the neighbourhood is Stiffe (the nearby village is called San Demetrio dei Vestini), located at only 18 km from L'Aquila. The tour of these spectacular caves takes about one hour, but do not go there between November and April, as they may be closed because of the high water level inside. According to its official website, there are two buses going there every day from Collemaggio bus station in L'Aquila: one leaving at 8.15 am, the other one at 2 pm. Click here for details. 

Lake Campotosto (Lago Campotosto)

Located at about 1,300 m asl, this lake is part of the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park. It was created back in the 1940s to produce electric power. In winter the lake gets almost completely frozen, while in spring and summer, lots of people get there for canoeing, windsurfing, bird-watching, fishing (a permit is usually required) or just for picnicking. The road around the lake is ideal for walking or cycling. Several hiking paths connect Campotosto to nearby villages like Capitignano, Montereale and Amatrice. Click here for more information. The easiest way to get there is by catching an ARPA bus from Pizzoli to the village of Capitignano, then walk up to the lake, but it is going to be a 1-hour hike up to the lake and could be a bit strenuous for some. If you wish to get straight to the lake, you'll have to first get to the bus station in Collemaggio (L'Aquila city centre), then catch a TUA/ARPA bus to "Lago Campotosto".

Marmore Waterfalls (Cascata delle Marmore)

marmore waterfallsMarmore waterfalls are a man-made waterfall created in ancient times by Romans. Its total height is 165 m (541 feet), making it the tallest man-made waterfall in the world. Its source is a portion of the waters of river Velino (the rest of the river flows into a hydroelectric power plant), after flowing through Piediluco Lake near the community of Marmore. It pours into the valley below formed by the river Nera. Its flow is turned on and off based on a specific schedule, to satisfy the needs of tourists and the power company alike. Tourists try to be there the moment the gates are opened to see the powerful rush of water.
How to get there: catch a train from L'Aquila to Terni (a town in the nearby region called Umbria), then board a special bus called "Marmore link" which will take you from the Terni train station to the waterfalls in 20 minutes. 

Adapted from Wikipedia

Gran Sasso National Laboratory

screenshot 2013-08-18 at 23.26.35From the official web-site
The Gran Sasso National Laboratory is one of the four INFN laboratories. It is the largest underground laboratory in the world for experiments in particle physics, particle astrophysics and nuclear astrophysics. It is used as a worldwide facility by scientists, presently over 900 in number, from 29 different countries, working at about 15 experiments in their different phases. It is located between the towns of L'Aquila and Teramo, about 120 km from Rome. Go to www.lngs.infn.it for more details and guided tours.

Beaches on the Adriatic coast

There are many amazing sandy beaches on the Adriatic coast at only 1 hour-ride from L'Aquila. The easiest one to get to is Giulianova. All you have to do is get to the bus station in L'Aquila and buy a ticket at the TUA/ARPA office on the -2 floor. Get off at Giulianova Stazione (train station) and walk to the beach, it's just a few steps away. Alternatively, you can catch a Gaspari bus to another well-renowned seaside resort: San Benedetto del Tronto.

Other popular places are Alba Adriatica, Pineto, Pescara and Vasto. Pescara is by the way Abruzzo's largest city, with lots of shops, clubs and great nightlife, too. Just get to the main train station (Pescara Centrale, 2 hours away from L'Aquila, change trains in Sulmona; or just get there by TUA/ARPA bus). Outside the train station, you'll find yourself in the city centre with lots to do and see on the promenade that will take you right to the beach!

Calascio Fortress (Rocca Calascio)

rocca calascio


How to get there: get to the bus station in Collemaggio (L'Aquila city centre), then catch a TUA/ARPA bus to Calascio (check out the TUA/ARPA website)


Sporting facilities

CANADA' Fitness Club [link]

WHERE. Coppito, campus of the Math Dept., just 2 minutes walking distance from our teaching buildings. MAP
DETAILS. Access to the area with weights machines ("sala pesi") costs only 25 euros/month (the average fare in other gyms is 40 euros) - a free trial pass is usually available. You can join extra courses like pilates, yoga, zumba, fitbox, and body pump, as well as reserve the outdoor fields. Check timetables and fares from the url.

CUS - Centro Universitario Sportivo [link]

WHERE. Statale 17 Bis (aka "Centi Colella", on the way from L'Aquilone Shopping Centre towards the My Suites Hotel - around 20 minutes walking distance from our department, but mind the traffic! Or just get on an AMA bus no. 2 or 19 from our department)
DETAILS. Large university sports centre with several halls and rooms for most popular sports (fitness, spinning, judo, climbing etc.), including outdoor fields (football, volleyball, rugby, tennis, etc.). Reduced fees for university students.

Piscina Comunale L'Aquila [link]

WHERE. Viale Ovidio 3 - L'Aquila (city centre, close to the castle)
DETAILS. City pool offering reduced fees for university students.

Circolo Tennis L'Aquila [link]

WHERE. Viale Ovidio 1 - L'Aquila (city centre, close to the castle)

SKI Resorts

Campo Imperatore [link]
Campo Felice [link]
Ovindoli [link]

L'Aquila Rugby [link]

WHERE. Strada Statale 17 Ovest, Centi Colella, L'Aquila (opposite the main Post Office)

L'Aquila football (soccer) Team [link]

There are quite a few private gyms (and swimming pools too) across the city, just google "palestra l'aquila" or "piscina l'aquila"


Library in Coppito

(biblioteca in Italian), ground floor, Coppito1 building, DISIM (Math Dept.)
Open: Mon-Thu: 8.30 am – 7 pm, Fri: 8.30 am - 2 pm
The first time you enter the library you will be asked to register. So, bring with you an ID document and your student card.
More details can be found here

Library in the Department of Humanities (downtown, old city centre, address: viale Nizza 14)

Opening hours:
Mon - Fri: 8.30 am - midnight!
Sat: 9 am - 5 pm
Sun: 3 pm - 8 pm

Study & Computer rooms

You can find study rooms in the Canadà centre, which is at 2 minutes' walk from the main teaching building (aka Coppito1), (Math Dept).
There you'll also find a bar, a gym and a computer room, too.
Click here to view a map
Click here for their Facebook page 

Find your nearest open pharmacy

Looking for an open pharmacy nearby?

Doctor-on-call (Guardia medica)

Out-of-hours (on call) doctor.
Address: Ex ONPI, via Capo Croce 1 ("Torrione" neighbourhood).
Available Mon-Fri from 8pm till 8 am, and from 10 am on Saturday till 8 am on the following Monday.


In case of a real emergency, dial 118
Don't forget to contact your insurance too, which provides a 24/7 emergency helpline.
To check the status of the local emergency room (Pronto Soccorso), see here

Psychological support

Psychological support and help provided to UAQ students.

How to get to L'Aquila

Ideally located in central Italy, L'Aquila is around 110 Km (68 miles) east of Rome and 100 Km (62 miles) west of Pescara. Choose one of the following means of transport to find out more.
The closest international airports are:

Rome Fiumicino

main hub, aka Leonardo Da Vinci Airport

Rome Ciampino

aka G.B. Pastine Airport
Both airports are connected to L'Aquila by express coach service operated by Gaspari or Flixbus. Read the section below ("By Bus") for further information.
Additional coach services (operated by T.U.A., aka as A.R.P.A. and Itabus) are available from the "Tiburtina train station" (Stazione Tiburtina) located in East Rome.  But that means you'll have to first get on a train/bus/undeground from the airport to get to the "Tiburtina train station", which will take you one hour or so, at least. So, we strongly suggest you use the other option above, as those coaches will be departing right from inside the aiport parking area.
Lastly, be informed that a bunch of European cities are also connected to the Abruzzo Airport in Pescara, located at about 100 km to the east of L'Aquila.

Getting to campus

The University of L'Aquila is made up of several campuses spread over the whole city, each of which with its own focus and identity. To get an overview, check out this interactive map.

Our programmes are coordinated and hosted by D.I.S.I.M. (Department of Information Engineering, Computer Science, and Mathematics) located on the Coppito campus in via Vetoio - West L'Aquila. The Coppito campus also hosts other faculties: biology, chemistry, physics and, most importantly, the main city hospital ("ospedale" in Italian). Keep that in mind whenever you'll be asking for directions, as everybody knows where the main hospital (ospedale) is.

Transfers within the city of L'Aquila are operated by A.M.A. From the links below you may get bus schedules and routes

The webpage is in Italian, but all you need to do is enter the word "ospedale" or "Università - Polo Coppito" in the right search box (indirizzo di arrivo).

Number 1 or 2U buses are very likely the ones you'll need most, as they connect our campus to the bus station at the My Suites Hotel (aka Hotel Amiternum), the "L'Aquilone" shopping centre, as well as the main bus station (known as Collemaggio or Terminal) in the old city centre.

As AMA routes are not available on Google Maps yet, we recommend

Travel Links

InterMaths Network
A network of 12 European Universities, coordinated by Department of Information Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics (DISIM) at University of L'Aquila in Italy (UAQ)