Italian culture and history: Teramo

Jun 23, 2024 289

Teramo, a splendid town in the Region of Abruzzo, is an ideal destination for nature lovers, given its setting: the Gran Sasso Mountain Range and the Laga Chain on one side, the Adriatic Coast on the other. Located in a basin at the intersection of the Tordino River and the Vezzola Tributary: essentially the site of the ancient Roman Colony, Interamnia. 

First existent in its Medieval version, which we can recognize in its tortuous streets, porticoes and wall remnants, Teramo was actually at the height of its splendor in those Middle Ages, notwithstanding bitter feuds between the local families and foreign dominions, first the House of Anjou, later the Aragonese.

Teramo’s Historic Center abounds with tiny lanes and churches. Its typical Medieval Cathedral or Duomo was erected in the 12th Century. Actually composed of two churches merged, the Duomo preserves a famous gilded silver antependium or parament – the Antependium of Teramo – realized by Nicola da Guardiagrele 1433-1448. By way of 35 tiles, the parament narrates the life of Christ.  

Of course, no city whose roots hark back to Antiquity can be lacking for a Roman amphitheatre or theatre; the pair, dating back to Imperial Rome, are just adjacent to the Cathedral. 

In addition to the the main Duomo, other important and historic churches include the 1300s Chiesa di San Domenico, decorated with 17th-Century frescoes; the ancient Cathedral of Sant’Anna, preservino frescoes from the 12th and 14th Centuries, as well as the remains of a Domus Romana; the Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie, with a wooden sculpture group of the Virgin and Child by Silvestro dell’Aquila.

Finally, Palazzo Delfico (1700) is another must-see, as is the 14th-Century Palazzo Vescovile, the Museo Archeologico and the Pinacoteca or Painting Gallery, the latter two housed in a neoclassical structure amidst the evocative gardens of the Villa Comunale. 

Teramo is a small but vivacious city, pleasant for relaxing via strolls through its gardens and quaint streets and along the river, yet intriguing in all its aspects, from its monuments and museums, to its shops, restaurants and theatres. 

And when it comes to choosing travel destinations, sometimes it’s all about location, location location. Teramo’s is perfect, just 20 minutes from theAdriatic Riviera, and 30 from Gran Sasso, the road to which passes by such picturesque mountain locales as Montorio al Vomano, Isola del Gran Sasso, and Pietracamela.

The best season to visit Teramo is in summer, when a number of sagre and other events light up the city. Teramo is also host to the Interamnia World Cup, annual tournament during which more than 8,300 handball teams from 111 nations descend on the city.  

Be sure to take an excursion outside the walls to see Città di Castelli, known the world over for its unique ceramics.


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