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The Borghi of Sulmona
In the early Middle Ages Sulmona still retained its ancient city walls with six gates, located at either end of the main street and at the four corners of the defensive circle, with a further gate at Postierla di Sant'Andrea, now known as Porta Molina, along the western side.
The arrangement of the city entrances also influenced the internal settlement, which was divided into six districts (sestieri) that from the names of their gates, were called:
At the beginning of the 14th century, due to the population growth, urban migration from the countryside and the massive immigration of foreigners, the old medieval center became too small and the newcomers began to build their houses outside the walls, thus creating the new "borghi": Borgo Magnaporci, later simply called Borghetto, outside the Porta Manaresca; on the opposite side, Borgo Sant'Agata, named after the church-hospital, built on the site of today's Madonna del Carmine; the Borgo of Santa Maria della Tomba; the Borgo of Santa Margherita, known as Borgo Pacentrano. On the northern side, outside the Porta Sancti Pamphili three small borghi were formed at first: San Panfilo, San Lorenzo and Santa Maria dei Grimaldis, and Pinciaro, later all merged into the large Borgo San Panfilo.
These new entities did not have their own autonomy, but were aggregated to the old districts: Borgo Santa Maria to Porta Salvatoris, the Borghetto and the Borgo Pacentrano to Porta Manaresca, Borgo Sant'Agata to the Porta Filiorum Amabilis, and Borgo San Panfilo to the Porta San Panfilo which was called, from the 16th century onwards, Porta di Sant'Agostino.
The new settlements required an enlargement of the original city walls, so some of the old doors came to be located inside this second circle of walls, losing part of their original function, while others were opened along the new city walls to serve the new Borghi. Therefore, at the end of the 14th century there were fourteen doors, then during the 16th century a fifteenth small gate was opened at the end of the present Via Mariano Probo, known as Porta Saccoccia or Porta Pecorillo.
Of the original 6 Sestieri four still exist:
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