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Atri (Greek: Ἀδρία or Ἀτρία; Latin: Adria, Atria, Hadria, or Hatria) is a commune in the Province of Teramo in the Abruzzo region of Italy. It has a population of over 11,500 (2001). Atri is the setting of the story The Bell of Atri.
Ancient Adria was a city of Picenum, situated about 10 km miles from the Adriatic Sea, between the rivers Vomanus (modern Vomano) and Matrinus (modern La Piomba). According to the Antonine Itinerary it was distant 15 Roman miles from Castrum Novum, and 14 from Teate (modern Chieti). (Itin. Ant. pp. 308, 310, 313; comp. Tab. Peut.) It has been supposed, with much probability, to be of Etruscan origin, and a colony from the more celebrated city of the name, now Adria in the Veneto region (Mazocchi, Tab. Heracl. p. 532; Müiller, Etrusker, vol. i. p. 145), though we have no historical evidence of the fact. It has also been generally admitted that a Greek colony was founded there by Dionysius the Elder, at the time that he was seeking to establish his power in the Adriatic, about 385 BCE; but this statement rests on very doubtful authority (Etym. Magn. v. Ἀδρίας), and no subsequent trace of the settlement is found in history. It belonged to the Praetutii for a time.
The first certain historical notice we find of Adria is the establishment of a Roman colony there about 282 BCE. (Livy Epit. xi.; Madvig, de Coloniis, p. 298.) In the early part of the Second Punic War (217 BCE) its territory was ravaged by Hannibal; but notwithstanding this calamity, it was one of the 18 Latin colonies which, in 209 BCE, were faithful to the cause of Rome, and willing to continue their contributions both of men and money. (Liv. xxii. 9, xxvii. 10; Polyb. iii. 88.) At a later period, as we learn from the Liber de Coloniis, it must have received a fresh colony, probably under Augustus: hence it is termed a Colonia, both by Pliny and in inscriptions. One of these gives it the titles of Colonia Aelia Hadria, whence it would appear that it had been re-established by the emperor Hadrian, whose family was originally derived from hence, though he was himself a native of Spain. (Lib. Colon. p. 227; Plin. H. N. iii. 13. s. 18; Orell. Inscr. no. 148, 3018; Gruter, p. 1022; Zumpt de Colon. p. 349; Spartian. Hadrian. 1.; Victor, Epit. 14.)
The territory of Adria (ager Adrianus), though subsequently included in Picenum, appears to have originally formed a separate and independent district, bounded on the north by the river Vomanus (Vomano), and on the south by the Matrinus (la Piomba); at the mouth of this latter river was a town bearing the name of Matrinum, which served as the port of Adria; the city itself stood on a hill a few miles inland, on the same site still occupied by the modern Atri, a place of some consideration, with the title of a city, and the see of a bishop. Great part of the circuit of the ancient walls may be still traced, and mosaic pavements and other remains of buildings are also preserved. (Strabo v. p. 241; Sil. Ital. viii. 439; Ptol. iii. 1. § 52; Mela, ii. 4; Romanelli, vol. iii. p. 307.) According to the Itin. Ant. (pp. 308, 310) Adria (which may have been the original terminus of the Via Caecilia), was the point of junction of the Via Salaria and Via Valeria, a circumstance which probably contributed to its importance and flourishing condition under the Roman Empire.
After the fall of Rome, the region was subjected, along with most of northern and central Italy, to a long period of violent conflict. Ultimately, in the 6th century, the Longobards succeeded in establishing hegemony over the area, and Atri and other parts of Abruzzo found themselves annexed to the Duchy of Spoleto. The Longobards were displaced by the Normans, whose noble Acquaviva family ruled for decades from about 1393 before merging their lands into the Kingdom of Naples. The rule of the Acquaivivas marked the highpoint of Atri's greatest power and splendor.
It is now generally admitted, that the coins of Adria (with the legend "HAT.") belong to the city of Picenum, not that of the Veneto; but great difference of opinion has been entertained as to their age. They belong to the class commonly known as Aes Grave, and are even among the heaviest specimens known, exceeding in weight the most ancient Roman aeses. On this account they have been assigned to a very remote antiquity, some referring them to the Etruscan, others to the Greek, settlers. But there seems much reason to believe that they are not really so ancient, and belong, in fact, to the Roman colony, which was founded previous to the general reduction of the Italian brass coinage. (Eckhel, vol. i. p. 98; Müller, Etrusker, vol. i. p. 308; Böckh, Metrologie, p. 379; Mommsen, Das Römische Münzwesen, p. 231; Millingen, Numismatique de l'Italie, p. 216.)
Many historians say the city's ancient name is the source from which the Adriatic Sea derived its name. Others maintain the Sea was named for the city now called Adria, an Etruscan city in Veneto region.
Today, Atri is one of the most important historical, cultural and artistic centers in the Region of Abruzzo.
The most important monuments in modern Atri include the 13th century Duomo - the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta (see WS), which was built on the remains of an earlier Romanesque church, and the Palazzo Ducale, the palace of the Acquaviva's which is built on the highest point of land in the city.
The Cathedral incorporates an impressive 56 meter high campanile, or bell tower, and a very handsome cloister. Inside is a very impressive frescoe cycle by the 15th century Abruzzi painter Andrea de Litio (or Delitio). The Diocesian museum is also located in the Cathedral. The crypt of the cathedral of the modern town was originally a large Roman cistern; another forms the foundation of the ducal palace; and in the eastern portion of the town there is a complicated system of underground passages for collecting and storing water. The Palazzo Ducale now houses offices of both the municipal and Provincial (Teramo) governments.
There are remnants of the medieval walls with three gates, the Porta Macelli, the Porta San Domenico and the Capo d'Atri. Also worth seeing is the Museo Capitolare, the Chiesa San Francesco which features a flight of stairs in the Baroque style, and the Chiesa San Domenico which contains two good 17th century paintings by Giacomo Farelli.
There are many other things to see in Atri as one explores the precincts of the centro historico - or historical center. These include an array of old churches among them San Agostino (14th century); San Nicola; Santa Chiara (13th century); San Spirito (12th - 18th century); and San Andrea Apostolo (14th century). Among the fountains in the centro are the Fonte Pila and the Fonte della Strega. There are a number of very ancient and still unexplored grottoes, and not surprisingly, there are remains of a Roman theatre.
The Villa Comunale, a municipal park and garden provides a place to stroll and rest under its shade trees. The Belvedere off the Viale Vomano offers panoramic views of the valleys and sea below.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Additional Photos by Silvio Sorcini (Silvio1953) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 13535 W: 132 N: 27412] (162240)
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