The Dukes of Atri were one of Italy’s famous and influential family. They were from the House of Acquaviva, an Italian aristocratic family who was part of Naples’ seven great families. They were the feudal lords of various lands in the region of Teramo.
The family were of German origin from the royal blood of the Dukes of Bayern. They moved to Italy in the 10th Century and were granted large portion of land. During the Swabian occupation, they obtained large areas of land in Abruzzo, including the land of Acquaviva whose name they took for themselves. They became a part of Naples’ seven great families after the marriage with Aragona family.
The Acquaviva family lived a lavish and elegant lifestyle. They were always impecaably dressed due to the rare selection of sheeps they had.
Aside from this, the Dukes of Atri were notable for their services in the church and the country.
The first Duke of Atri was Antonio di Acquaviva. He was the first to hold the title of Count of San Flaviano and Montorio. For his service, he was
The second Duke of Atri was Andrea MAtteo I, who was the son of Antonio di Acquaviva. He died due a stab wound in Teramo on February 17, 1407.
Giulio Antonio I, the seventh Duke of Atri, commanded the fleet that supported the Neopolitan army of King Ferrante of Aragon. Due to his services, he was awarded the Order of Ermine and added the name of Aragon to his surname. The colors of the royal house were also added in their family of coat arms.
However, in 1480 he went to Apulia to fight the Turks. During the campaign, he lost his life in an ambush. He was succeeded by his son Andrea Matteo who became known for being one of the most important humanist princes in southern Italy.
Among the famous people in the family who served the Church was Troiano Acquaviva of Aragon. He was the son Gian Girolamo Acquaviva d'Aragona, 13th duke of Atri, and his second wife, Eleonora Spinelli.. He became an Italian cardinal and Catholic Archbishop.
As for the place of dwelling, the Dukes of Acquaviva lived in a palace which is still standing until today. They called it Palazzo Ducale degli Acquaviva and was the ducal residence until 1760. Today, it stands as the Town Hall.
The Palace of the Dukes houses Atri’s City Hall, the faculty of Management of Sport and Sport Business and the main office of the Nature Reserve Badlands of Atri.
The palace is a testament of their power and influence due to its massive travertine stones where the tower rises up. A gorgeous garden can be seen at the back of the palace.
The inner court contains a well where it is connected to earlier Roman cistern. It was also the former stables, and the bust of Blessed Rodolfo D’Acquaviva d’Aragona can also be found.
In 1701, the palace was plundered by the Austrians of Charles III, who destroyed the palace’s frescoes and stole valuable pictures of the family painted by Tiziano and Verones.
Among the famous paintings of the family is the painting of Giovanni Francesco Acquaviva, Duke Atri by Titian Vecellio. The portrait can be dated when he was in the French assemblies. In 1756, it was acquired by the founder of the gallery in Kassel.
Their clothing was as opulent and lavish as their lifestyle. Since the finest and most-sought after fabrics are produced in Italy, the House of Acquaviva were among the nobles who took this opportunity to spend lavishly on ostentatious outfits.
The Dukes wore lined shirts with a collar or ruff. Even the wrists sometimes have ruffs. The waistlines dipped in a v-shape and were padded to hold it in place. They were hose in different styles they can choose from and were worn with a codpiece. They also wore stocking and flat shoes with rounded toes. The boots were worn for riding.
As for their outerwear, they wore short cloaks, capes, or military jackets. Long coats were worn during winter. The designs of their clothes were more tailored and elaborate than the working class.
Their flare for fashion and elegance became an inspiration for many custom and handmade suits in the industry. The Dukes of Atri were indeed men who have served the country and encouraged the people to see the beauty of style and clothing. Their lifestyle is a testament of their opulence and wealth.