Civitella del Tronto is a town in the province of Teramo, set on a rocky cliff overlooking the Vibrata Valley and dominated by the solemn Bourbon Fortress. Although the area was inhabited since the Neolitic Period, it was mentioned for the first time only during the Early Middle Age when it was usual to realise medieval villages around a castle: the neighboring population of the built-up areas moved to the village to find better defense and abundant resources.
The Fortress is the symbol of the town, a masterpiece of military engineering that expands over 25.000 metres thus being the most important in Europe. Last bastion of the Kingdom of Naples during the Italian Risorgimento period, it was built by the Spanish in the XVI century and perched in the highest point of the town. This attraction draws thousands of visitors every year. Starting from the drawbridge you can admire the bastions, walkways, parade grounds, the sleeping quarters, prisons, the powder rooms, ovens, stables, tanks, the palace of the Governor, and also the Church of San Giacomo.
The "sentry" of the Kingdom of Naples kept a close guard over the village below, a place where today you can peacefully get lost in its maze of narrow streets, which are called "rue" like the french word for street, and it seems that this village contains the narrowest street in Italy, which is called the "Ruetta".
In addition to the Fortress, we suggest to visit:
- the parish Church of San Lorenzo, simple and elegant, with a a late-renaissance style portal; inside it is possible to admire XVII century paintings and an XVIII century organ;
- the Church of San Francesco, founded during the XIV century by Robert of Anjou, with a Romanesque style façade and a XIV century rose window. Inside it is possible to admire a valuable XV century wooden choir with spiral columns;
- the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, founded in 1330 by Robert d'Anjou;
- the Abbey of Santa Maria in Montesanto, in the quiet of the hills. According to the tradition, Abbot Saint Benedict founded the church and starting himself the building works in 542, when back from a journey to the Piceno. However, the oldest written document to mention the abbey dates back to 1064. This monastery located in between the Reign of Naples and the Papal States, in the 14th century was one of the most important of the area. It owned eight churches; two thousand modius (a dry measure) of land in the valley of the Pescara River and even many of the monasteries built later on were under its jurisdiction. Its decline started around the end of 15th century: first, it lost its autonomy, then its properties were confiscated, finally it was repressed in 1797.
- the Convent and the Sanctuary of Santa Maria dei Lumi, founded by San Giacomo della Marca;
- the Grotto of Sant'Angelo, important place of pilgrimagedue to the presence of the Hermitage dedicated to the Archangel San Michele. Inside remains from the Paleolithic to the Iron Age period are preserved.