The Renaissance town of Atri
Yesterday I visited a hill town of Atri in a company of an excellent guide Pietro. This town has been a real discovery for me. It is situated 442 m above sea level at a three-pointed hill looking over the Adriatic Sea to the east and the majestic peaks of the Gran Sasso to the west. The settlement had been founded by the Illiris in the XI century BC. Its name derives from Hatranus or Hadranus, an Illiric divinity. The city had annexed itself to the Roman republic at the beginning of the III century (289 AD) becoming a Roman town hall. The Romans called it Hadria. According to many historians the name of Adriatic Sea derives from this word.
The modern Atri disposes a number of well preserved Romanic sites such as the Romanic cistern, ruins of the Romanic theatre and fragments of mosaics. Nevertheless the most valuable cultural treasures have been inherited from the Renaissance epoch. One of the most important monuments is the magnificent Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, which was built in XIII-XIV centuries on the remains of an earlier Romanic church. The Cathedral has an impressive 56 meter high campanile, or bell tower, and a very handsome cloister. Inside the Cathedral you can admire frescoes of Andrea De Litio (XV century).