Atessa travel guide

Atessa is a mountain town in the province of Chieti in Abruzzo. Although the town has only a little over 10 thousand inhabitants, it is the largest municipality in the province in terms of surface area. Remarkably, the town has 25 churches, which means that there is one church for every 400 inhabitants.

Atessa travel guide

Tourist information


There is no tourist office in Atessa. The town hall is located at Piazza Municipio, 1 . The area code is 0871. The zip code is 66041.

Public transportation: There is no train station in the city itself. The nearest station is in the coastal town of Fossacesia-Torino di Sangro, 24 kilometers away. From here there are buses (Autolinee “Sangritana”, 40 minutes travel time) to Atessa.


Among the many churches, the San Leucio Cathedral stands out. The Santa Croce Church, on the edge of the historic center, is also very beautiful.
Little has been found of the Roman period.
Some of the medieval city gates are worth seeing.

A brief history of Atessa

Atessa, thanks to its location between two rivers, has always been an agricultural community. The history of the town begins around the 5th century. Thanks to the industrial development of Val di Sangro, the current community no longer depends solely on agriculture.

Earliest history

Of Atessa’s history before Roman times, few traces remain.

The name of the town is an amalgamation of the ones of two hamlets, Ate and Tixe.

It is thought that the first settlement on the site dates back to the 5th century. The name was first used in the 10th century, when the Benedictines came to inhabit the area and gain dominion over the hamlet.

From the 10th century till the present

With the arrival of the house of Anjou, the town became the property of ever-changing families.

In the 12th century, Philip of Alsace, count of Flanders and Zeeland among others, was the feudal lord of Atessa for a time.

In the 14th century Atessa was so badly ruled by Ademazio Maramonte that a bloody revolution took place.

In the 16th century, the powerful Roman Colonna family gained control of the town.

After the feudal system went into decline, the area around Atessa fell into poverty.

After a brief revival under the Bourbons, a cholera epidemic in 1816 brought the town to the brink of ruin.

In 1860 Atessa became part of the new state of Italy. At that time the area was made unsafe by highwaymen.

Nowadays, Atessa is primarily an agricultural community, which is largely due to its location between the two rivers the Sangro and the Osento. Thanks to the development of the Val di Sangro, Atessa also became an important industrial center in the 1970s.

Events and festivals Atessa

The most important festival in Atessa is the Festa Patronale di Atessa. It takes place between August 15 and 18, when through music and folklore the patron saints of the town (Maria Assunta, Rocco, San Leucio and Emidio) are honored.

By car to Atessa

By car: From the coastal road A14 take the exit Val di Sangro, continue in direction of Villa Santa Maria, then follow the SS652 to your final destination. From Chieti take the A14 towards Bari and then the Val di Sangro exit.

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