Chieti - Cathedral, interior
The Province of Chieti is also called the Teatine Province, from the ancient name of 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 (2,793 m), 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 natural reserves that safeguard the area's natural patrimony.
The southern part of the province is mostly covered with firs; near the coast are holly woods that also run into the Natural Reserve "Lecceta di Torino di Sangro." The flora of the Maiella zone is rich in precious trees especially, such as Lobel Maples, birches, the black pines of Fara di San Martino and beeches.
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 which 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 biggest 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 of the province based on number of inhabitants and, like Chieti, has pre-Roman origins. The city comprises two parts: Vasto town, the old city centre, and Vasto Marina, the new residential and commercial center. Vasto coastline is a favorite 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, on 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: the Coccia-Ferri Palace, the Spaventa Palace, Casa De Marco and the Marcolongo Palace.
The province also offers the Roman thermae, the Municipal Archaeological Museum and the Diocesan Museum of Lanciano. In 2002 the Museum of the Battle Ortona-MUBA '43 opened its doors: it consists of a thematic itinerary that recreates the battle of Ortona, to commemorate the 1314 civilian victims, and the Canadian and German soldiers who died in December, 1943.
The variety in the Teatine landscape can inspire different outdoor activities in every season.
In winter, the ski season is in high gear on the slopes of Pizzoferrato and Gamberale, among the rocks and woods of the Pizzi Mountains. Furthermore, the northern border of the Majella crest shows off its ski runs like Passolanciano and La Majelletta. Everywhere it is possible to go downhill and cross-country skiing.
The mountains of Majella are full of lodges and those who love walking can organize real expeditions to reach them in every season. Parks and natural reserves are favorite destinations for birdwatchers and nature lovers.
Those who love trekking and mountain biking can choose among three different destinations: the Majella, the Sangro and the Trigno. Here it is possible to come into contact with nature, admire archaeological and artistic ruins, discover and photograph everything the province can offer, and taste the local products, both from the sea and the inland areas.
Many city centers big and small will put visitors in close contact 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.
The coastline is not just sea and suntans. Coastal cities offer amenities such as beach volleyball and tennis courts, football pitches and swimming pools, and water skiing, windsurfing and sailing are always possibilities. High numbers of people also fish near the trabocchi. Pinewoods are ideal for refreshing walks, and 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.
The spaghetti alla chitarra is the most famous main course, as in the rest of Abruzzo. Then, the 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, don't forget the torrone with dried figs and the famous sanguinaccio alla chietina, with filtered pork blood, must, cinnamon, chocolate and pine-nuts. Among the most famous kinds of cheese are those typical to Guardiagrele: the provolone, both mild and strong, the ricotta and the pecorino (made with sheep milk). The major fish dishes are the anchovies all'ortonese and the cuttlefish alla sanvitese. The city of Lanciano produces a very succulent and spicy hot pepper.
Sweets are based on simple ingredients: the pizzelle, the tarallucci, the cicerchiata and the fiadoni, traditional Easter sweets.
And not to forget the typical wines of Abruzzo, such as the red wine Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, and the white wines Trebbiano d'Abruzzo and Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo. Local liqueurs are also very famous, such as the well-known Amaro Abruzzese.
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