1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lanciano
LANCIANO (anc. Anxanum), a town and episcopal see of the Abruzzi, Italy, in the province of Chieti, situated on three hills, 984 ft. above sea-level, about 8 m. from the Adriatic coast and 12 m. S.E. of Chieti. Pop. (1901) 7642 (town), 18,316 (commune). It has a railway station on the coast railway, 19 m. S.E. of Castellammare Adriatico. It has broad, regular streets, and several fine buildings. The cathedral, an imposing structure with a fine clock-tower of 1619, is built upon bridges of brickwork, dating perhaps from the Roman period (though the inscription attributing the work to Diocletian is a forgery), that span the gorge of the Feltrino, and is dedicated to S. Maria del Ponte, Our Lady of the Bridge. The Gothic church of S. Maria Maggiore dates from 1227 and has a fine façade, with a portal of 1317 by a local sculptor. The processional cross by the silversmith Nicola di Guardiagrele (1422) is very beautiful. In S. Nicola is a fine reliquary of 1445 by Nicola di Francavilla. The church of the Annunziata has a good rose window of 1362. The industries of the town, famous in the middle ages, have declined. Anxanum belonged originally to the tribe of the Frentani and later became a municipium. It lay on the ancient highroad, which abandoned the coast at Ortona 10 m. to the N. and returned to it at Histonium (Vasto). Remains of a Roman theatre exist under the bishop's palace.
See V. Bindi, Monumenti degli Abruzzi (Naples, 1889, 690 sqq.), and for discoveries in the neighbourhood see A. de Nino in Notizie degli scavi (1884), 431. (T. As.)