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.
In Italian, the adjectival form is teatino and inhabitants of Chieti are called teatini. The English form of this name is preserved in that of the Theatines, a Catholic religious order.
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.
According to some historians, Good Friday procession, which is considered Italy’s oldest religious procession, has taken place in Chieti since 842. From historical documented sources, the origins of its current form date back to the 16th century. It is organized by the Mount of the Dead Brotherhood, an old local fraternity, with different sacred symbols, such as a wooden figure of Christ and a mourning Virgin Mary. Hooded adults and children, a choir and an orchestra playing Miserere by Saverio Selecchy (a local composer of the 18th century) takes part in the event.
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.
Vastois 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.
Overlooking the Aterno valley, Chieti is a sprawling hilltop town with roots dating back to pre-Roman times when, as capital of the Marrucini tribe, it was known as Teate Marrucinorum. Later, in the 4th century BC, it was conquered by the Romans and incorporated into the Roman Republic.
- The National Archaeological Museum of Abruzzo is surrounded by an urban park and is located in the former 19th century Neoclassical residence of the Frigerj family. The rooms of the museum, which hosts the ancient Warrior of Capestrano, are dedicated to: Italic sculpture, Roman sculpture, a numismatic collection, a collection of antiquities created by Giovanni Pansa, the Vestini, the Peligni, the Marrucini and the Carricini.
- The Archaeological Museum La Civitella is close to the Roman amphitheatre and is focused on the Marrucini and the ancient history of Chieti.
- The University Museum of History of Biomedical Sciences is managed by the University of Chieti-Pescara and exposes prehistoric finds, rocks, minerals, a malacological collection, medical devices of the early 20th century and a collection of contemporary art. The museum is located in the former local house of the Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro, an example of fascist architecture.
- The art museum dedicated to Costantino Barbella is located in an 18th-century palace and houses frescoes, sculptures, paintings, and pottery from the 15th to the 20th centuries, including a collection of Maiolica from Castelli.
- The Museo Diocesano Teatino (Italian for “Diocesan Museum of Chieti”) is located in the 17th-century Church of Saint Dominic and hosts frescoes from the 14th to the 16th century, wooden statues and paintings.