Ascoli Piceno

Ascoli Piceno Marche

Photo by Jim DeLutes

Wedged between two rivers, Ascoli Piceno is a dream come true for anyone who loves authentic Italy. It is named after the strange Piceni tribe, who founded the city after a woodpecker led them to the area. The story sounds a bit unlikely to me, but locals swear it is true.

True or not, Ascoli Piceno is absolutely gorgeous and awaits your discovery...

A Bit About Ascoli Piceno

Ascoli Piceno, nestled in the heart of the Marche region of Italy, is known for its rich history, charming piazzas, and delectable cuisine.

Ascoli Piceno is a destination that promises to captivate your senses and leave a lasting impression.

Wander through the cobblestone streets of the historic center, where Gothic churches, Renaissance palaces, and quaint piazzas whisper tales of bygone eras. Marvel at the architectural splendor of the Piazza del Popolo, a traffic-free haven renowned for its Gothic grandeur and vibrant atmosphere. Admire the intricate façade of the San Francesco Church and Palazzo del Popolo before meandering through the picturesque alleyways of Via Soderini, where every corner reveals a new treasure waiting to be discovered. 

I hope that's whet your appetite a little? If so, let's go explore...

Where to Stay

In Ascoli Piceno, there is one centrally located hotel that is in a class above any other, and it is not expensive either. The atmosphere in this 18th century hotel is superb, plus service is really excellent too. The hotel is the Albergo Sant'Emidio and it is located right in the old town, meaning you step out of your door and everything is right there: restaurants, bars, stores and a thousand years of history. They even have decent parking which is often a nightmare in the old town.

What to See

A good place to start a tour of the city is the Piazza del Popolo in the centre of the city. This traffic-free piazza is without doubt one of the finest in all of Italy.

Most of this piazza dates back to the fifteenth century, when Pietro da Corona “modernized” it. I often find myself moving no further than the piazza. I love sitting here with a coffee or, later in the day, an aperitivo and watching life drift by—truly one of life's great pleasures.

The gothic church of San Francesco on the square dates back to the twelfth century, as does the beautiful Palazzo del Popolo, Make sure you pop inside the Palazzo del Popolo, the arcaded Renaissance courtyard within is truly lovely.

Another exquisite piazza is Piazza dell’Arringo – smaller than Piazza del Popolo it is equally as beautiful. Don't miss the Cathedral of Sant'Emidio in the piazza, it is one of the most important and loveliest catherdrals in the entire region. The photo above shows the interior.

The medieval heart of the town extends from the Tronto River all the way to Corso Mazzini but it is easily covered on foot. My favourite street in this area is via Soderini – a beautifully preserved delight.

When to Visit

Try to visit during the Medieval Festival of La Quintana held on the first Sunday in August. A huge part of the population dresses in period costumes; in fact anyone without a costume is a tourist! Countless side shows and food stalls fill the streets and an enormously festive atmosphere pervades the whole town. Within an hour of arriving I was caught up in the fun of it all and had made loads of new friends.

The jousting tournament between the town’s various regions is the centerpiece of the festa and is entirely true to the medieval traditions of the region – it is taken VERY seriously by all Ascoli Piceno town residents and the passion felt is intense. 

Ascoli Piceno

Where to Eat

Il Gambero da Tato in San Benedetto del Tronto—featured under my Le Marche food and restaurant guide—is a great place to eat. It is on the coast a short drive from Ascoli Piceno. The food is delicious and the recipes and cooking is authenticly regional.

Need a restaurant In Ascoli itself? Try the Vinattiere Osteria con Cucina in Via C.Battisti, the couple that run the restaurant are really helpful and there love and passion for food and for their home town is so clearly evident in everything they do. Maria and I had such a great meal here that we returned three times and next time we are in town this is where our first lunch will be..

* Discover more great places in Le Marche.

* 7 of the loveliest towns in Italy.

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