Sprawling along a ridge above the River Pescara, with the Apennines rising behind, Chieti is a provincial capital in the Abruzzo region. Very much a town of two halves, with the modern sector straggling around the railway and motorway, it’s known as a jump off point for exploring the mountain wilderness of the Abruzzo Apennines. Chieti is an administrative centre, but the economic focus is agriculture, particularly cereals, olives, tobacco and, above all, grapes. Enjoy a glass of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or a white Trebbiano, and the chances are high it will have been produced in Chieti.
Visitors concentrate on the old town, with its fine Roman remains, churches and the excellent Museo Archeologico Nazionale degli Abruzzo, home to the superb 6th-century BC Warrior of Capestrano, a 2-metre tall statue of a Picene fighter. The museum can also fill you in on the pre-history of this little known or explored area of Italy, before you take in the Roman sites, which include three temples, a theatre, baths and an underground cistern.