S. Chiara
Community ID
Alternate Names
S. Maria Maddalena (before 1263)
Date Founded
1259 or earlier
Date Terminated
Still extant as the monastery of S. Clare (all but disbanded during the second half of the 19th c. -- see below).
Religious Order
Poor Clares
Damian until 1263, when it adopted the rule of Urbain
Foundation Information

According to tradition, the house was founded by a companion of S. Chiara who was asked to come to Atri by the Franciscan father Filippo Longo.

Population Counts

1590: 70; 1600: 100; 1741/2: 28.

Priveleges & Papal Exemptions

March 13, 1260, Alexander IV takes the house under papal protection, granting it immunity, privileges & indulgences.


Giosia I, duke of Atri (1459-62), signore di Teramo, john Frencesco I d'Acquaviva d'Aragona, Marquis of Bitonto, Prince of Terar, count of Giulianova, and Andrea Matteo II d'Acquaviva of Aragon all contributed to the monastery.


Held fields, vineyards, meadows, woods, waters, mills & fields.


Teaching order during the 19th c.

Other Economic Activities

In the 19th c., the nuns manufactured the soap of Atri that whitened the skin, and marzipans that the sent to Naples for sale. Economically, however, the monastery deteriorated during the 19th century. Although it was not supressed or disbanded, the nuns who chose to continue living there after 1863 had to endure severeeconomic hardship.

Early Documents

[1] 23 March, 1259.

[2] 1263: Adopts the rule of Urbain and changes its name from S. Maria Maddalena to S. Chiara.

[3] May 14, 1296: Roberto di Cambio leaves 4 gold tareni to the monastery

Miscellaneous Information

In 1866, in addition to economic hardship, the nuns of S. Chiara received a new, more severe rule. They could no longer take novices, but they were not disbanded. The house was revived in the 20th c., albeit without teaching and manufacturing.

Suzanne Wemple-Kinder
Date Started