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Chieti sits on top of a hill with the older, historical centre, Chieti Alto at the top of the hill and the newer city and university, Chieti Scalo, at the bottom of the hill and in the valley of the river Aterno-Pescala. It has incredible views over the mountains of Majella and Gran Sasso.
Chieti is one of the oldest cities in Italy and legend says that it was founded by Achilles and named Teate (its ancient name) in honour of his mother Thetis. Achilles features on the coat of arms of Chieti.
The city has known a volatile history as it has been attacked, destroyed and rebuilt by various groups throughout the ages.
Walking around the city today you can admire a large number of palazzos and churches which offer some diverse and attractive architecture. Amongst the religious monuments the Cathedral of San Giustino is the largest and most important.
It has a pretty circular dome over the transept with eight circular skylights letting in light. It also has an interesting vaulted crypt.
The San Francesco church has a distinctive dome but was badly damaged during the earthquake of 2009 and was closed afterwards. The San Domenica church has a distinctive bell-tower and is also home to the 'diocesan museum of sacred art'.
Various of the towns institutions are homed in impressive former palaces. The Palace of the Bank of Italy has impressive tall arches; the Palace of the Savings bank has an attractive classical facade; and the Palace of the Chamber of Commerce, zas built in the 1930s in the style of a medieval town hall.
The Palazzo OND is an example of fascist architecture whilst the Palazzo Majo resembles a Neapolitan villa. These and other palaces ensure there is always something interesting to see as you walk around the city.
Amazingly there is an underground city directly below the modern city, this is the ancient city of Teate but unfortunately it is rarely open to the public.
Also to see in Chieti is the Villa Communale whose gardens are now the main public park in Chieti. As well as the attractive gardens this is a great place to admire the views over Mount Majella. The villa itself is a neo-classical building and is home to the National Archaeological Museum of Abruzzo.
For artworks head to the Martinelli Bianchi Palace which is home to the Art Musuem 'Costantino Barbella', containing frescoes, ceramics and paintings.
There are also some Roman ruins and a Roman ampitheatre to see in the old town.
Places to Visit Nearby
The historical city of Lanciano is not far away and has various monuments and churches to explore.