ATESSA, an agricultural and industrial centre, covers a vast area in the Province of Chieti between the Sangro and Osento Rivers. The legend of the foundation of Atessa interpolates and mingles historical, religious and mythical elements. However, apart from a few engravings, very little remains of the Pre-Roman origins of the town which, presumably, dates back to the fifth century but was first mentioned in the tenth century. On the arrival of the Angevins, various families laid claim to the town. Traces of the past are reflected in the ogival arch of the portal of the Church of S. Leucio (thirteenth century), in the convent of S. Maria di Vallaspra (fifteenth century) and in the doors of S. Margherita and S. Giuseppe (eleventh century). Atessa’s attention to cultural events is reflected in plays staged in a particularly attractive vintage theatre, the summer jazz festival and the activities of the local Secondary Schools and modern CODEMM (a European Consortium of Public Institutions and University Institutes).

“Ferragosto atessano”
The oldest entertainment-religious events, documented since the nineteenth century, are staged in the town from August 15 to 18 to celebrate the Patron Saints of Atessa, Maria S.S. Assunta, San Rocco, San Leucio and San Emidio, with shows, folklore events, sports competitions, musical happenings, various types of entertainment and also a famous fair.
La “N’dorcia” di San Martino
During this annual historical-religious pilgrimage, devotees walk from Atessa to Fara San Martino carrying a votive candle, the n’dorcia, to request the grace of a good harvest from the hermit Martino, as he requested before his death.
Concorso Bandistico “A. Di Iorio” (“A. Di Iorio” Band Competition)
This competition, first launched in 2008 in the wake of the thirty-year-long tradition of band concerts that characterised the musical culture of the town, attracts bands from all over Italy who perform for a week.
“Atessa in Jazz”
A three-evening Jazz Festival with the participation of virtuosi national and international jazz musicians.
Corti Antiche (“Ancient Courtyards”)
A food and wine tour through the streets of the town. The visit is accompanied by shows, exhibitions and music.
“Festa del Contadino” (Country festival)
Custodian of the valley’s agricultural and commercial vocation, this festival is organized each year by the Sangro Pro Loco with evenings dedicated to local, national and international folklore, vernacular theatre, dancing, tasting of typical local specialties and products.

In the early 1970’s, Atessa was swept up in an “industrial revolution” following the setting up of two large industrial plants, Honda and Sevel, which subsequently attracted 100 medium-large companies, mainly satellite industries of Sevel-Honda, to the area for a total of 15,000 workers of which 96% resident in Abruzzo.
The Atessa plant, set up in 1971 and the only site in Italy dedicated to direct production of Honda motorbikes, assembled motorcycles sourced overseas and imported Honda products directly to Italy. In 1976, Honda Italia started to produce various motorcycles directly on site. In 1981, its Japanese parent company took over direct control of the business, changing its name to Honda Italia Industriale Spa. 1987 marked the start of export of Honda “made in Italy” products, first of all to the European market and subsequently also to Japan (NS125). In 1996, the plant doubled its production capacity and now has an output of more than 650,000 units, including maxi-motor bikes and drive trains, scooters and power equipment. The most famous models include the Hornet 600 (since 2001), the CBF1000 (2006), the entire SH125i/150i/300i family (since 2007) and the more recent SuperNaked CB1000R (2008).
Sevel is one of the largest European manufacturers of light commercial vehicles, leader in the production of the Fiat Ducato van.
Sevel s.p.a (Società Europea Veicoli Leggeri), set up in 1978 as a joint-venture between Fiat Group Automobiles and the PSA Group, manufactures commercial vehicles and a number of Fiat, Fiat Professional, Lancia, Citroën and Peugeot MPVs. It employs around 5,200 people.


Mayor: Giulio Borrelli
Official website:
Town Hall: P.zza Municipio, 1 – Postal code 66041
Population: 10.779
Phone: 0872 850421
Surface area: Km2 111


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