Chieti – Good Friday Procession

Chieti Holy Friday Procession
Chieti Holy Friday Procession – Photo © Nellie Windmill

Chieti lies on a crest along the Pescara river with its unmistakable profile with the high belltower of San Giustino against the sky, a few km away from the Adriatic Sea, and with the Majella and Gran Sasso in the background.

It was a Roman town, Teate, and important medieval center, that’s why walking through the city you see Roman and medieval ruins side by side.

Chieti Holy Friday Procession
Chieti Holy Friday Procession – Photo © Renata Virzintaite

Of special importance is also the Pinacoteca C. Barbella, hosting works of Abruzzese artists, as well as the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, the richest archeological museum in the region, with, among other, unique works as the Capestrano Warrior, a statue of the 7th century BC, one of the symbols of the region, a wonderful Hercules statue and one of the very few Galba gold coins in the world.

Chieti history

The origins of Chieti are lost in the mist of time, and many like the legend that it was founded by Achilles and named after his mother Tetis.

The ancient name of Teate, may derive from ti(f)a (=tiati=teba, meaning “forested hill”) and existed already in 1000 BC, when the town was the capital of the Marrucini people, who in the following centuries allied with the Romans agains Pyrrhus and Hannibal, then joined the rebellion of the Samnites against Rome.

Under the Roman empire it was a municipium and many monuments and buildings are left of that period. With the fall of the Roman empire the town declined in importance, and was destroyed in 801 AD by the Franks. Later on it was included in the Duchy of Spoleto, and was occupied in turn by the Angevins, Aragonese and Austrians.

The angevin domination marked a period of revival and in the late 12th century Teate was made capital of Abruzzo Citra, the area south of the Pescara river.

At that time Chieti also had the privilege of its own mint, and there was a powerful archbishopry.

Chieti Holy Friday Procession
Chieti Holy Friday Procession – Photo © Renata Virzintaite

Chieti: Good Friday Procession

Every year on Good Friday, which is the Friday before Easter, a procession is held through the torch-lined streets of the old town.

The participants wear masks and are dressed in the colors of their parish.

Only men and children may take part.

Chieti Holy Friday Procession
Chieti Holy Friday Procession – Photo © www.lifeinabruzzo.com

The procession also shows the symbols of the various stations of the cross (lance, rooster, cross, etc.) and is accompanied by an amazing choir. It is the most important procession of its kind in the Abruzzo region.

In accordance with tradition, a member of the “Oration and olemn procession. A procession for the bearing of the dead Christ through the streets is also organized.

The historical procession organized by the arch-confraternity of Sacro Monte dei Morti has as its highlight the haunting music of the Miserere by Selecchy, performed by over 150 violin players.