Chieti - Cathedral, interior
The Province of Chieti is also called the Teatine Province, from the ancient name for the city (Teate); it borders on the Province of Pescara (at its northwest), L'Aquila and Molise (to its west and south, respectively), and the Adriatic Sea (to the northeast).
The territory is predominantly hilly and mountainous, with many parallel valleys that run along rivers and creeks. The northern part of the territory presents a rough and desolate landscape, while the southern part is tamer and dotted with numerous tiny villages. The major valleys are in the areas of Pescara and Sangro.
The Province also includes a large part of the Majella Massif (9,163 ft), the second-highest mountain in the Apennine Mountains.
The major rivers are the Alento, the Aterno-Pescara, the Aventino, the Sangro, the Sinello and the Trigno.
Most of the terrain is covered with woods, including in the reserves that safeguard the area's natural patrimony.
The southern part of the province is mostly covered with fir trees, while near the coast holly woods run into the Natural Reserve "Lecceta di Torino di Sangro." The flora of the Maiella zone is also rich in valuable tree coverage, such as Lobel Maples, birches, the black pines of Fara di San Martino and beechwoods.
The Teatine coastline is called the Costa dei Trabocchi because of the trabocchi, picturesque wooden fishing installations that line the coast. The shoreline is characterized by an alternation of low and sandy or pebbly beaches, and high, rocky cliffs that gently slope into the sea.
Chieti is the fourth municipality in Abruzzo for number of inhabitants, and over time it has been dominated by the Angioini family, the Aragonesi family and the French, in the 19th Century. It stands on a hill that separates the Aterno-Pescara waters from those of Alento. The city consists of two parts: Chieti Alta (the higher part) including the old city center, and Chieti Scalo (the newest part), including the university campus.
The Cathedral of San Giustino is the largest and most important church in town. The communal villa, a Neoclassical residence, hosts the National Archaeological Museum of Abruzzo. The frescoes, paintings and ceramics at the Museum of Art "Costantino Barbella," housed inside the Martinelli-Bianchi Palace and the Museum of Sacred Art of Ortona, are also impressive.
Vasto is the second-largest town in the Province, based on number of inhabitants and, like Chieti, has pre-Roman origins. The city comprises two parts: Vasto proper, the old town center, and Vasto Marina, the new residential and commercial center on the sea. Its coastline is a perferred seaside destination in the region. The Cathedral of San Giuseppe dates back to the 18th Century, while the D'Avalos Palace stands on the ruins of a 14th-Century building and takes its name from the last family who ruled the city. It hosts the Archaeological Museum and the picture gallery. During the 19th Century, the Caldoresco Castle was also used as a private residence.
Atessa is part of the Mountain Community of Valsangro and is the town with the largest territory of the province. Here you can see the Column of St. Christopher, at the top of the hill of the same name, rising up behind the city center; the statue of the saint was built to invoke protection from the plague of 1657. After the column, we see the Cathedral of San Leucio and the Santa Croce Church, as well as many noble palaces: Palazzo Coccia-Ferri, Palazzo Spaenta, the Casa De Marco and Palazzo Marcolongo.
The Province also boasts the Roman thermae, the Municipal Archaeological Museum and the Diocesan Museum of Lanciano. Also in Lanciano, site of the Lanciano Eucharistic Miracle, visitors can see the Borgognona-Cistercian Church of Santa Maria Maggiore and its beautiful rose window, but not only: the Cathedral, partly constructed over a Roman bridge from the 2nd Century, is also in the heart of this charming Medieval borgo.
Finally, the Museum of the Battle Ortona-MUBA '43 opened its doors, in 2002: it consists of a thematic itinerary recreating the Battle of Ortona, to commemorate the 1,314 civilian victims, as well as the Canadian and German soldiers that died in service in December, 1943.
The variety in the Teatine landscape accommodates a variety of outdoor activities in every season.
In winter, the ski season is in high gear on the slopes of Pizzoferrato and Gamberale, over the crags and through the woods of the Pizzi Mountains. Furthermore, the northern border of the Majella crest boasts ski runs like Passolanciano and La Majelletta. Everywhere it is possible to go downhill and cross-country skiing.
Mountain shelters are abundant in the mountainous zone of Majella, and those who love trekking can organize authentic expeditions in every season. Parks and natural reserves are favorite destinations for birdwatchers and nature lovers, as well.
Those who love trekking and mountain biking can choose from three different destinations: the Majella, the Sangro and the Trigno. Here it is possible to come into direct contact with nature, admire archaeological and artistic ruins, and discover, photograph and experience everything the Province offers, including tastings of the local products (both sea and inland fare).
Many city centers big and small will put visitors in touch with history. Chieti, the Provincial capital, is famous for its Cathedral and museums; Vasto for its Palazzo d'Avalos; and Lanciano, for its numerous historic and archaeological offerings. On the coast of Chieti, in the zone of Fossacesia, we can admire the historic Abbey of San Giovanni in Venere, in Cassino. Meanwhile, Lanciano is a destination for tourists seeking out things Medieval, thanks to its old city dotted with architecture from the Medieval and Renaissance eopchs, as well as with a few glorious, late-Romanesque churches.
Finally, the coastline is not just sea and suntans. Coastal cities offer activities such as beach volleyball and tennis courts, football pitches and swimming pools, and water skiing, windsurfing and sailing. Large quantities of people fish near the trabocchi, and pinewoods are ideal for refreshing walks, while in the evening, several clubs, pubs and bars animate the coastline.
The inland zones offer a range of enogastronomical experiences, from festivals to performances in the piazzas.
Due to the continuous flow of products from the sea and from inland zones, Teatine cuisine is a concoction of varying dishes, all rich in flavor. Many of these dishes feature the traditional olive oil. Truffles, honey and jams made with seasonal fruits are the most noteworthy products.
Spaghetti alla chitarra is the most famous main course, as in the rest of Abruzzo, and lamb arrosticini, a typical inland dish, is also widespread near the coast. The turcenelle with tomato sauce, stewed kid entrails cooked with heavy amounts of hot pepper, and rabbit alla chietina, stuffed with ham slices, seasoned with rosemary and then cooked in the oven,are also very tasty. Among the sweets are torrone with dried figs and the famous sanguinaccio alla chietina, with filtered pork blood, must, cinnamon, chocolate and pine-nuts. Among the most famous cheeses are those typical to Guardiagrele: the provolone, both mild and strong, the ricotta and the pecorino (made with sheep's milk). The major fish dishes include anchovies all'ortonese and cuttlefish alla sanvitese. Finally, the city of Lanciano produces a very succulent and spicy hot pepper (peperoncino).
Sweets are based on simple ingredients: the pizzelle, the tarallucci, the cicerchiata and the fiadoni, traditional Easter sweets.
And not to forgotten are the typical wines of Abruzzo, such as the red Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, and the whites like Trebbiano d'Abruzzo and Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo. Local liqueurs are also very famous, particularly the Amaro Abruzzese.
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