From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Coordinates: 42°4′0″N 14°27′0″E / 42.06667°N 14.45000°E / 42.06667; 14.45000

Atessa Val Di Sangro
Comune di Atessa Val Di Sangro
Atessa (CH).jpg
Coat of arms of Atessa Val Di Sangro
Coat of arms
Atessa Val Di Sangro is located in Italy
Atessa Val Di Sangro
Atessa Val Di Sangro
Location of Atessa Val Di Sangro in Italy
Coordinates: 42°04′N 14°27′E / 42.067°N 14.450°E / 42.067; 14.450
Country Italy
Region Abruzzo
Province Chieti (CH)
 • Mayor Nicola Cicchitti
 • Total 111 km2 (43 sq mi)
Elevation 435 m (1,427 ft)
Population (1 January 2008)[1]
 • Total 10,655
 • Density 96/km2 (250/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 66040
Dialing code 0872
Patron saint St. Leucius of Brindisi
Saint day 11 January
Website Official website

Atessa (locally L'Atésse) is an Italian municipality of 10 558 inhabitants [1] of the province of Chieti in Abruzzo. It is part of the Valsangro mountain community. It is the largest municipality in the province by extension and eighth by population.

In addition to economic development with the opening of the Honda-Sevel industrial complex, the city boasts a great historical and artistic heritage, being a very flourishing city during the Middle Ages, also favored by Queen Giovanna II of Naples in the fifteenth century. The fame of the city is linked to the legend concerning a dragon killed by San Leucio of Alessandria, the patron saint of the city, whose rib is kept in the Cathedral of San Leucio, in a predominant position in the village.


Loated in the lower valley of the Sangro river. Its area, with its 11.003 hectares, is the largest in the province and includes a small part decentralized from the rest of the territory, an extermation south of the town of Tornareccio. The promontories gently degrade to reach the vast floodplain of the Sangro.

The minimum altitude is 55 m above sea level, which is reached on the banks of the river, while the maximum is 876 m asl, near the locality Fonte Campana, with a difference in altitude of over 800 meters: a passage from the plain to the low, medium and high hills. The altitude of the municipal residence is 435 m s.l.m.

The village of Atessa winds on top of a relief from the crescent-shaped plant, isolated on the surrounding countryside, whose highest point is 473 meters, at the Villa Comunale.

The watercourses that run through the municipal territory are numerous, mostly tributaries of the main rivers, the Sangro to the west and the Osento to the east. Among the main tributaries of them we can mention the Appello Torrent, the Fosso Santa Barbara, the Fosso San Carlo, the Rio Falco and the Ceripolle Torrent.

The subsoil consists of one of the last ridges where there are ancient stratified sandy deposits, visible in the numerous outcrops of the escarpments, with a typical ocher yellow color. These sediments, evidence of the permanence of the coastline in this place and the following regression of the sea between the end of the Pliocene and the beginning of the Quaternary, rest on clayey soils (blue-gray clays), the result of the sedimentation in the open sea of terrigenous materials . The large hills are thus constituted, on which are found the majority of the districts, connected by a dense network of secondary roads to the most important ones of the valley bottom.


Origins of the name[edit]

The name derives from the union of two inhabited centers: Ate and Tixa.

Town History[edit]

The origins of Atessa according to some sources date back to the fifth century AD. after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

Later it was a fief of various lords including: the Courtenay or Cortinaccio, Filippo di Fiandra, the Maramonte, the Count of Monteodorisio, the king Ferrante and the Colonna.

After the subversion of feudalism, the land was in misery.

Then there was a brief recovery under the Bourbon family, but a subsequent cholera epidemic that hit the country between 1816 and 1817 again led the country into misery.

In 1860, citizenship participated with great enthusiasm in the unification of Italy, but later had to deal with banditry.

In the first half of the twentieth century the country participated in the two world wars losing 135 villagers in the first and 79 soldiers and 21 civilians in the Second World War.

Later, in the seventies and eighties of the twentieth century, the area underwent a radical economic-social transformation due to the industrial development of the Val di Sangro

Sights and Monuments[edit]

La colonna di San Cristoforo di notte

The city perfectly preserves the historical center of Renaissance-seventeenth-century, with few remains of the ancient medieval walls in the urban gates of San Michele, San Giuseppe, San Nicola and Santa Margherita. The city is divided into two sections: the first is the oldest, represented by the bulk of the Cathedral of San Leucio, and at its end, towards the plain of the Sangro, from the fortified church of Santa Croce; while the second section is crossed by the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, and passes through the Arch 'Ndriano (former Porta San Nicola), from Piazza Garibaldi to the hill of San Cristoforo, from the votive column raised on the top, where there is also the town villa .

Religious Builsings[edit]

Duomo di San Leucio (XIII century) - main church, characterized by a gothic exterior with a pointed portal and beamed rosette. The Baroque interior has works by Nicola da Guardiagrele, as well as the relic of the rib of the Dragon.

Church of Santa Croce (XIV century) - medieval church founded on a chapel of the year 1000. After eighteenth-century restorations, the church today has a gothic exterior with a pointed portal, a sturdy bell tower, and a stuccoed interior with a basilica plan.

Convent of San Pasquale and Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli (1408-1431) - a monastery frequented by pilgrims from the tratturo of Fara San Martino, also used in the seventeenth century as a wool mill. It has a large façade with a pediment. A large arch introduces the medieval portico, with a Renaissance cloister. The baroque interior has a decorated wooden coffered ceiling.

Church of the Madonna della Cintura (14th century) - church divided into two distinct bodies, one upper and the second lower, more ancient. The interior has a characteristic dodecagonal lantern.

Church of San Pietro (1467) - now deconsecrated, the church is very simple, in rough stone with a small bell gable.

Church of Our Lady of Sorrows (1952) - 17th century church, restored after the war. It has a rectangular system with a single nave. The façade is very decorated with bas-reliefs, on the lower level of the pilasters supporting four decorative columns.

Church of San Vincenzo Ferrer (1847) - church of the district Montemarcone, built in neo-Gothic style, with a large central bell tower.

Church of San Rocco (XVI century) - church of Piazza Garibaldi, built in the seventeenth century, with restored façade in neo-Gothic style. The interior has polychrome altars.

Church of Sant'Antonio (XVIIth century) - small church with a rectangular brick façade, and inside very well plastered by Renaissance-style frescoes, of the four Evangelists.

Church of San Michele (18th century) - 7th century church, completely restored in the 18th century. It has a simple baroque façade, with a turreted lateral bell tower.

Duomo di San Leucio

Church of San Domenico (1566) - church with an unfinished Baroque façade, with rich frescoed interior. There are scenes of the Apostles.

Church of St. John the Baptist

Church of San Benedetto (1975)

Church of San Luca (1986)

The Cloister of the Poor Clares, consisting of some remains of the arches of the cloister of the monastery of San Giacinto (1667)

Civilian Architecture[edit]

Casa De Marco (14th century), supposed to be the medieval castle, later expanded and later transformed into a noble residence in the 18th century. It has a fortified exterior, with Renaissance bifore windows, and today houses the Ethnographic Museum.

Porta San Michele - simple arched urban door of the old city.

Convento di San Pasquale

Arco 'Ndriano - Great gate of the Corso Vittorio Emanuele III, from the XIII century. It has a very wide thickness, and has a higher rise for the apartment of the guards. Porta Santa Margherita - is in the Santa Croce district, and dates back to the 6th century. It is a simple stone arched structure, where nearby is the church of Santa Margherita.

Santa Croce

Porta San Giuseppe

Walls of the ancient village - are visible along the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, and date back to the 13th century.

Palazzo Coccia-Ferri - dates back to 1569 and is an elegant structure, modified in the 18th century, losing part of the original Renaissance style of the art.

Palazzo Spaventa - is located in Piazza Garibaldi, built in brick and clem, as well as the frame of the portal. It dates back to the seventeenth century, the work of the relatives of the famous Silvio Spaventa.

Palazzo Marcolongo: located in Largo Castello, embellished by a Renaissance portal, although the structure dates back to 1724.

Archeological sites and other places of intrests[edit]

Above the Monte Pallano, on the border with Tornareccio and Bomba, are the Cyclopean Walls of the Pallanum site, recovered in the 90s for an equipped archaeological park.

Colonna di San Cristoforo: It is located on the top of the homonymous hill near Piazza Garibaldi, the city center. It was built in honor of St. Christopher to invoke protection from the plague in 1657. It was restored in 1955 due to the serious damage suffered during the Second World War. It is made of bricks and consists of two floors with four sides, each of which has round arches, on which the statue of the saint rests.

War Memorial

The medieval tower.

The big fountain. It dates back to 1460. The fountain is made of limestone blocks and is about three meters high. In four openings the bucket or the basin could be placed to withdraw the water.

Various examples of rural architecture in the surrounding countryside.

Archaeological excavations of Porcari

Folklore and myths[edit]

San Leucio

The Dragon rib

The origins of Atessa can be traced back to the legend of San Leucio and the giant dragon. The latter would live in the Rio Falco valley, which separated the two hills on which the Ate and Tixa dwellings stood. According to legend, the dragon sowed the terror in the area, so that even the wolves dared to frequent the places of his home, and demanded from the inhabitants of the two countries a tribute of human flesh for his daily meal, or else he will wreak devastation on the population . Only the arrival of Leucio, bishop of Brindisi, ended the sacrifice of many innocent lives. Supported by the power of faith, the bishop succeeded in killing the beast and taking it out of the cave in which it was buried. The two cities of Ate and Tixa were thus united in Atessa. The people were given the black blood of the dragon to exorcise the ills and to cure diseases. Of the body of the beast, San Leucio left only a huge rib, which he wanted to be kept forever inside a church to be built and named in his name. In fact, the cathedral of the city is named right in San Leucio and there is a relic that popular devotion holds to be the dragon's rib.

San Martino

Ancient traditions and legends are also linked to the other protector of Atessa, San Martino Abruzzese, a native of this city. According to legend, Martino became a friar and decided to go and preach in a small convent in Fara San Martino. However, in the name of the love that bound him to the city of origin, the saint promised to the people of Atessa good weather or rains, if necessary, if they had invoked his name with faith and had visited his hermitage every year, bringing you into oblation with a big wax torch. After having blessed the people with an olive branch, San Martino climbed quickly up the mountains towards Vallaspra, crossing through woods and forests, turning twice more to bless the people and the city. The saint finally arrived in a cave of the Majella, near the source of the river Verde near Fara San Martino, and died there. The Athenians were devoted and grateful to Martino: to impetrate the grace of good harvests and in memory of the journey of the hermit, every year they retraced the saint's itinerary on foot, pausing to pray in the very places where San Martino had turned to bless his countrymen. This tradition is called 'ntorcia (which means "torch"). It is still today particularly felt among the farmers, who retrace the ancient itinerary on foot or by bus.


Municipal Libraryies

"F. Cicchitti - Suriani" Municipal Library

High Schools

Liceo Scientifico e Liceo Scientifico Scienze Applicate

Istituto Tecnico Commerciale

Istituto Professionale per i Servizi Socio Sanitari (since 2013)


Sassu Museum: art gallery dedicated to the painter Aligi Sassu, at the Palazzo Ferri in corso Vittorio Emanuele.


The oldest event takes place from 15 to 18 August. It is one of the most awaited festivals of the Atessa community: it consists in the celebration of the saints Maria Assunta, Rocco, San Leucio and Emidio, protectors of the city, through a series of folklore and musical performances.

A jazz festival takes place every year in three evenings in mid-July, in the Town Hall Square: there are musicians of national and international fame.

Third week of July: National festival of band concerts.

Between July and August: International Folklore Festival.

First and last Sunday of May: La Ntorcia (Torch brought up to Fara San Martino with a march that can last up to 17 hours).

November / March: Regional Review of Dialect Comedy Theater "Drago d'Oro" - Municipal Theater "A. Di Iorio"

Anthropic geography[edit]


Piazza Garibaldi

Atessa has a vast territory, included in the historical core of the center, and in the industrial area of the city. The historic center is the result of the union of the two Longobard villages of Ate - Tixia, and has the shape of a deformed boomerang ellipse, whose oldest part of the town, where the Cathedral is located, shows the most elliptical aspect marked; while the area of the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, which starts from the outside of Piazza Oberdan, outside the walls, has the appearance of a freshly flattened circle. The main street of the center is the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, which leads to Piazza Garibaldi, from where the ascent to the town hall rises above the San Cristoforo hill. Towards the Cathedral instead the main accesses are via Salita Castello, Via della Vittoria and the Via Menotti De Francesco ring road.

Just outside the medieval town, the modern part of the city winds its way through the streets of Via Benedetto Croce, Via Rimembranza and Viale Antonio Gramsci, where the "San Camillo De Lellis" Hospital is located.

Piazza Garibaldi

However, the real modern and industrial area is located near Piazzano-Montemarcone, two districts in the center of the plain of Sangro, overlooking the Saletti Industrial Zone, where there are the Honda-Sevel industry. The area of the Val di Sangro workforce is concentrated in this area, while from the entrepreneurial and artisan point of view, where small and medium-sized private enterprises of any kind are located, Montemarcone is the area of greatest economic development since the 1960s. , also a place of supply in the pharmaceutical sector for the Atessa hospital. Currently the entrepreneurial sector points to a new project of building fabric in the Atessa districts, with the construction of condominiums and private villas on the Montemarcone-Piazzano d'Atessa route.

Frazioni (fractions)

Aia Santa Maria, Boragna Fontanelle, Boragna San Paolo, Campanelle, Capragrassa, Carapelle, Carriera, Casale, Castellano, Castelluccio, Ceripollo, Colle Comune, Colle d'Aglio, Colle delle Pietre, Colle Flocco, Colle Grilli, Colle Martinelli, Colle Palumbo, Colle Quarti, Colle Rotondo, Colle San Giovanni, Colle Sant'Angelo, Colle Santinella, Colle Santissimo, Cona, Coste Iadonato, Croce Pili, Fazzoli, Fontegrugnale, Fontesquatino, Forca di Iezzi, Forca di Lupo, Fornelli, Giarrocco, Ianico, Lentisce, Mandorle, Mandrioli, Masciavò, Masseria Grande, Molinello, Montecalvo, Montemarcone, Monte Pallano, Monte San Silvestro, Osento, Passo del Vasto, Passo Pincera, Piana Ciccarelli, Piana dei Monaci, Piana dell'Edera, Piana Fallascosa, Piana La Fara, Piana Matteo, Piana Osento, Piana Sant'Antonio, Piana Vacante, Pianello, Piazzano, Pietrascritta, Pili, Querceto, Quercianera, Rigatella, Riguardata Scalella, Rocconi, Saletti, San Giacomo, San Luca, San Marco, Sant'Amico, San Tommaso, Satrino, Sciola, Scorciagallo, Siberia, Solagna Longa, Solagna Rigatella, Sterpari, Vallaspra, Varvaringi.


External links[edit]