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Chieti is an ancient and medium-sized town (2015 pop. 51,945) on the Pescara River, near the Adriatic Sea, in the Abruzzo region of South Central Italy, 200 km northeast of Rome. It's a commercial and industrial center.


Chieti is the capital of the Province of Chieti. The town lies on a crest along the Pescara River a few kilometers away from the Adriatic Sea, with the Maiella and Gran Sasso mountains in the background. It has a fine Romanesque cathedral (11th century), a 14th-century tower, and a university. The order of the Theatine Brothers (founded 1524) takes its name from the ancient Roman town.

The town is divided into two parts: Chieti Alta (that means “Upper Chieti”) and Chieti Scalo. Chieti Alta is the old hill town, while in Chieti Scalo, there are business activities, factories (items manufactured locally include textiles, clothing, fabricated metals, and construction materials), a station and the local university. In addition there also interesting little rural frazioni, such as Brecciarola.


The town occupies the site of the Roman Teate Marrucinorum, the chief town of the Marrucini, of which ruins remain. Chieti was part of the duchy of Benevento (7th century), fell to the Normans (1078), and thereafter belonged to the kingdom of Naples. During World War II, declared an open city (like Rome), Chieti was not bombed, and welcomed many refugees from the near towns and villages.


  • San Giustino, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, 2. The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Justin of Chieti (died 540). Bishop Atto I consecrated it in 1069, but its appearance has changed through the centuries. In the crypt there are the relics of Saint Justin.
  • Chiesa di San Francesco al Corso, Corso Marrucino. Franciscans founded this church in 1239. It is considered the second most important one after the cathedral. It is not open for visitors due to damage from the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake.
  • Chiesa di San Domenico, Corso Marrucino. This baroque church was built in the 17th century thanks to Archbishop Sauli. In the oratory there is the Diocese Theatine Museum and religious artefacts are exposed.
  • Chiesa di Sant'Agostino. The church dedicated to Saint Agustin was founded in 1300, almost completely destroyed by a fire in 1562 and totally rebuilt in the 18th century.
  • Villa Comunale. It became the civic park when Baron Frigerj sold his mansion to Chieti in 1864. The neoclassical Villa Frigerj is now the home of the homonymous museum.
  • Ancient Roman ruins. There are some archeological ruins of ancient Teate Marrucinorum, including a theatre, an amphitheatre, thermae and a temple (which was used as a church with the name of SS. Pietro e Paolo). However people are rarely allowed to see also the interior spaces of these monuments.
  • Subterranea. At Chieti Alta there are ancient Roman cisterns and other underground spaces. This mysterious heritage was partly explored by Speleoclub, a no-profit organization. In some occasions they organize visits.
  • Palazzo De Mayo, Largo Martiri della Liberta, 2, ☏ +39 0871 359801. The first part of this building was made in the 16th century and it was also restored in the last years of the 18th century by De Mayo, a powerful aristocratic family. The Carichieti Foundation bought this palace and founded an art museum, but unluckily it was closed after the local bank had been declared insolvent.


  • National Archaeological Museum of the Abruzzi, "Villa Frigerj", Via G. Costanzi, 2. The rooms of the museum are dedicated to: Burial cults in pre-Roman Abruzzo, Italic sculpture, the Capestrano Warrior, the Pansa collection, the Sanctuary of Hercules Curinus at Sulmona, the Numismatic collection, and Roman Iconography in Abruzzo.
  • National Archaeological Museum of Abruzzo La Civitella, Via G. Pianell, ☏ +39 0871-63137, fax: +39 0871-404658. The museum is in an important archaeological site, where the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre were found.
  • Barbella Museum, Via De Lollis, 10, ☏ +39 0871-330873. The 16th-century Martinetti-Bianchi Palace is the home of an art museum, which takes its name from the sculptor Costantino Barbella (Chieti, 1852-1925).
  • University Museum of History of Biomedical Science, Piazza Trento e Trieste, ☏ +39 0871 410927. The local university manages a museum at the former building of the National Recreational Club, an example of fascist architecture.


Under the church of SS. Pietro e Paolo and the adjoining houses are extensive substructures (in opus reticulatum and brickwork) of the 1st century CE, belonging to a building erected by M. Vectius Marcellus (probably mentioned by Pliny, H.N., II., 199) and Helvidia Priscilla. There are also remains of large reservoirs and of an ancient theatre. New excavations are under way on the site of the former Campo Sportivo.

  • Marrucino Theatre, Via Cesare de Lollis, n. 1, ☏ +39 0871 321491. The civic theatre was built in 1818 to become a cultural symbol of the town.
  • Good Friday Procession. From historical documented sources, the origins of the procession in its current form date back to the 16th century. It is organized by the Mount of the Dead Brotherhood.






Go next

  • The beach tourism is developed in the seaside resorts of coastal towns, such as Pescara and Francavilla Al Mare. In the second one a lot of inhabitants of Chieti have their vacation properties.
  • In Abruzzo some old villages, places of worship and castles are well-known touristic attractions.
  • Abruzzo is appreciated for the mountain tourism and the ecotourism. In the region there are 17 active ski resorts, three national parks, a regional park and 38 protected areas.

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