Wedged between two rivers, Ascoli Piceno is a dream come true for anyone who loves the authentic Italy. It is named after the strange Piceni tribe who founded the city after a woodpecker lead them to the area. The story sounds a bit unlikely to me but locals swear it is true.
True or not Ascoli Piceno awaits discovery...
Ascoli Piceno is a beautiful medieval joy, dating back to the thirteenth century and the walls of the city date back even further, all the way to Roman times.
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.
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 “modernised” 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
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.
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 costume, 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.
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.
Da Vittorio 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 Ristorante Rua dei Notari in Via C.Battisti
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