Abruzzo: The Green Heart of Europe.
The Abruzzo region is situated along the Adriatic Coast, extending
129 km. from the Tronto River in the north to the Trigno River
in the south. Inland, the Region is mainly mountainous covering
a territory of 10.947 sq. km.
Although there are no plains in the costal area, a few can be
found inland, such as the “Piana del Fucino” (Fucino
Plain) which was obtained through the draining of a lake bearing
the same name.
Province of L’Aquila is a mountainous area, while hills prevail
in the Province of Chieti. Pescara and Teramo instead are characterized
by both mountains and hills.
The Capital city of the Abruzzo region is L’Aquila, although Pescara remains
the financial and administrative heart of the Region and its most populated city.
Pescara is a distinctly modern city, founded in 1927 thanks to the union of Castellammare
Adriatico and Pescara. The city boasts a new railway station, airport and one
of the largest and most important tourist harbours of the Mediterranean Sea.
With its inland natural beauty defined as “Europe’s Green Region”,
famous for its beautiful parks and nature reserves, Abruzzo is an area rich in
history, art and gastronomy specialities.
The region’s most important inland areas of development are situated in
extensive valleys, namely L’Aquila, Sulmona and Avezzano.
During the Age of the Roman Empire the city of Teramo was called “Interamnia” (meaning “between
two rivers”) and was both a colony and municipality.
Under the Emperor Augustus and later the Emperor Adriano, Teramo underwent a
golden age, proof of which stand temples, baths, an amphitheatre and a wide array
of other monuments, today buried under the new city.
After a long period of prosperity the Roman city was destroyed in 410 by the
Goths and Alaric causing its downfall. Later, under the rule of the Longobards
it was annexed as a County to the Duchy of Spoleto.
Norman and Angevin rules followed until the mid 15th century when the city became
part of the Kingdom of Naples. Following Austrian occupation during the War of
Spanish Succession (1701-1714) and a brief period of French rule in 1798, Teramo
shared the vicissitudes of the Kingdom of Naples until the year 1860, when, together
with the whole Abruzzo region, it became part of Italy.
Today, Teramo has become an important agricultural and financial centre with
a number of small and medium-sized enterprises. It has also become a lively tourist
location, thanks to its “mid-way” position – only 20 km away
both from the mountains and the seaside.
Teramo offers 50 km. of splendid golden-sand beaches and non-polluted waters
together with some of the most spectacular snow-capped mountain peaks of the
Central Apennine Chain.
Cathedral : “Il Duomo”
Situated in the centre of the main square, The Cathedral is the most important
monument of the city, built in 1158,
Inside a nave and two aisles, divided by round columns and pillars can be admired.
Works such as “Paliotto D’argento by Nicola da Guardiagrele and the
Polyptych of Saint Agostino (15th century) by Jacobello del Fiore together with
frescoes dating back to 15th-century are of noteworthy importance. Next to the
Cathedral stands the bell-tower completed by Antonio da Lodi in the XV century.
The Roman Theatre, whose ruins occupy a wide area of the city centre, dates back
approximately to 30 B.C. The tiers, 78 meters in diameters, are made of travertine
and stand upon 20 arches.
Reserved for spectators, the tiers seated approximately 3,000 people. To the
right stand the remains of the Amphitheatre, dating back to XIII century.
Ancient Cathedral: “Sant'Anna”
In the old town centre stand the ruins of the ancient Sancta Maria Interamnensis
Cathedral, today known as Sant’Anna. Built during the Byzantine Age on
a Roman temple and subsequently rebuilt in the 12th century, it was burned down
by the Normans in 1155.
Of this ancient Cathedral, Romanesque arches and a presbytery with numerous Roman
remains and a three pane window on marble columns (triforio), still stand.
In the nearby square a Roman bastion dating back to 2nd-century B.C. can be admired;
known as “La Torre Bruciata” (the burnt down tower), around it there
are several buildings in liberty style. Next to Sant’Anna, there is an
area in which various homes dating back to the Roman Age have been discovered
and recently opened to the public as part of an archaeological “walking
tour” project under way at the moment. Re-opened to the public a short
time ago, the Domus Leone, next to Sant’Anna, is an ancient building dating
back to the 1st-century, containing a noteworthy mosaic.
Other noteworthy sites include the Sant'Antonio Church which, according to the
legend of San Francesco D’Assisi, was built in 1227 and enlarged a century
later, its facade has a beautiful Romanesque portal; the Convent of San Giovanni
with its lovely cloister; the 14th-century buildings of Palazzo Vescovile and
of the town hall Loggia; San Domenico Church and Casa Capuani
(Capuani Residence). Outside the city centre, Madonna delle Grazie, built in
1153, presents a beautiful wooden statue of the Virgin dating back to the XV
century together with a very original cloister.
This is medieval Castle with its own surrounding village adorned by merlons and
windows. Conceived as a “single work of art”, it was created by the
painter Gennaro Della Monica.
The Astronomical Observatory
On the top of one of the many hills surrounding the city, The Astronomical Observatory
of Collurania is of noteworthy importance, containing the instruments bought
by its founder, Vincenzo Cerulli in 1917. Today, the scientists employed here
study stellar astrophysics. There are two projects under way in co-operation
with the University of Teramo concerning degree- courses in astrophysics, communication
and scientific divulgation.
In the suburban area the most beautiful Romanic monument is Santa Maria di Ronzano
in Castel Castagna, an important site revealing the influence of Apulian art.
Its presbytery boasts a series of noteworthy frescoes. In the town of Atri, the
Cathedral of Santa Maria is of great interest, characterized by marvellous Romanic
structures and splendid frescoes by Andrea De Litio. At the feet of the Gran
Sasso peak, not far from to the village of Isola, the Sanctuary of San Gabriele
Dell’Addolorata (Patron Saint of young people and of the whole Abruzzo
Region), attracts visitors all year round. Next to the small conventual church,
a modern building able to hold 10,000 people was built in 1970 and is visited
annually by over 2 million devoted worshippers. It is also a centre for many
important religious events such as the International Festival of Sacred Art.