The cathedral of Atri is one of the most important examples of Romanesque style in Abruzzo. Consecrated in 1223 it was rebuilt between the 13th and 14th century. It is made of Istrian-stone that, with time, acquired a magnificent cork colour coating.
Its rectangular façade is simple but stately, enriched with a beautiful portal by Master Rainaldo, a precursor of School of Atri. A framework that rises from two lateral lions links the portal to a rose window surmounted by a niche containing a Madonna with child.
On the left-hand side of the main entrance, rises a 54 meter-tall bell tower with an inner 147-steps staircase completed by Antonio da Lodi during the 15th century.
It presents a classic Romanesque style framework on an octagonal ground plan, double lancet windows surmounted by round openings and crowned by ceramic bowls. A pyramid–shaped spire is reminiscent of Teramo’s cathedral as well as of other tower bells built in the province.
On the right, there are three dated and accredited portals. The first is by Rainaldo d’Atri (1305), clearly of Gothic style and adorned with perforated capitals featuring images of pecking birds and a series of linear cusped crowns. The central portal, by Raimondo di Poggio (1288), fits between two pilasters and two lions of medieval influence with at centre the Lamb with Cross (Agnus Dei) and some lilies at the edges: these are the Angioini’s crests. The last portal too is by Raimondo di Poggio (1302) with archivolts richly decorated. Above the capitals there are two beasts sticking out: one quiet, holding a prey and the other almost yelling and shouting without one. It is an account of excellent artistry and technique. In the fanlights above the portal, you can see traces of colour of faded frescos, mostly of the fifteen-century.
Inside the Cathedral presents three naves (originally five), separated by pointed arches. Walking down the central nave, you come across a monumental 6000-pipe organ, the largest of Abruzzo. The square-based choir merits a separate mention, as beautifully frescoed by Andrea De Lito who started it around the 80s of the 15th century. The critics consider him as one of the most influential masters of the Renaissance style of southern and central Italy. His frescos portray scenes also taken from apocryphal gospels, a proof of a great iconographic mastery of the decoration.
To complete this picture there is the splendid two-storey Cloister with attached the Capitoline Museum that exhibits important religious finds and a superb collection of Castelli ceramics.