Chieti is the capital town of the Province of Chieti. The city has a population of about 55.000, divided up in Chieti Alta (top Chieti) and Chieti Scalo (down Chieti), the most modern and industrial part. Chieti takes its name from the Greek and Latin “Teate”. The historical part is situated on a hilltop 330 metres above sea level. It dominates the Pescara river valley northward, the Alento river Valley southward.
The foundation of Chieti is legendary. The legend has it that mythical Achilles, who appears in Chieti’s coat of arms, founded the city in honour of his mother, Thetis. Chieti was the capital of the warlike Marrucins, who allied with the Romans in 304 BC, and became Roman municipality in 91 BC. Destroyed by Visigoths and Heruli after the breakdown of the Roman Empire, it rose again under the Lombard rule. Chieti had a leading role under the Normans first, Angevins and Aragoneses later. It fiercely opposed the French domination in early ‘800s, while it had an active cultural role in promoting the unification of Italy. During World War II, Monsignor Giuseppe Venturi, archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, wanted Chieti to be proclaimed “open city” to preserve Chieti’s population and monuments. The main monuments in Chieti are: San Giustino’s Cathedral (1069), San Francesco al Corso’s church (1239), the Archbishop’s Tower (XV century), Civitella (about I century AD), the Roman Theatre and Baths (II century AD) and the Roman temples (III century AD). Corso Marrucino is the high street that crosses the historic centre from St. Giustino Square.
Chieti is also known for the D’Annunzio University Campus, its museums (Civitella Archaeological Museum and Villa Frigerj National Archaeological Museum) and cultural events. It is connected to Pescara and the coast (just 15 km faraway) by bus, trains and the Chieti-Pescara freeway, to Rome and the major cities by bus, trains and A14 and A25 motorways. See the map of Chieti.