Are you planning a trip to Ascoli Piceno but you’re short on time? Here is a selection of the 10 best “things to do” to discover the city’s art, folklore and food&wine traditions in one day or a weekend.
Cathedral of St. Emidius
Have you just got to the historic center and you’re looking for the best spot to take your first selfie? Stand in the centre of Piazza Arringo with your back to the Cathedral of St. Emidius, the town’s patron Saint, or have a seat on one of the two travertine thrones on the cathedral’s 15th-century facade: you’ll dominate the whole square! Travertine is the same stone Giorgio Paci used to create the two elliptical fountains in the middle of the square. And now, enjoy some fresh water from the mouths of the bronze sea horses!
Do you want to let everybody know you’ve arrived to this wonderful town? Right. Place your feet on the mosaic of the town’s coat of arms that is right in front of the main entrance gate to Palazzo dell’Arengo, then geotag your picture and share it on Instagram and the other social media using the hashtag #visitascoli! If you don’t fancy capturing your feet, just look up and you’ll be spoilt for choice: get into the town hall’s garden, a cosy green corner in the heart of the historic center that will be the perfect set for your pictures!
A ride on the sightseeing train
Take a ride on the tourist sightseeing train through the streets and squares of the historic centre with Ascoli Explorer, an easy and comfortable way to discover the town’s highlights. A recorded guide in English and Italian will tell you all about Ascoli Piceno’s major places of interest as you enjoy your comfortable ride. Tours depart at regular intervals from Piazza Arringo.
ONE DAY, ONE WEEKEND
1) Cathedral of St. Emidius
2) Palazzo dell’Arengo
3) A ride on the sightseeing train
4) Piazza del Popolo
5) A coffee at Meletti Café
6) Civic Museums
7) Rua delle Stelle
8) Church of St. Francis
9) Carnival of Ascoli Piceno
10) The Quintana jousting tournament
Not everyone knows that Ascoli Piceno has been used by many films as their backdrop, a great chance for the city to show its hidden gems to the public. Talking about hidden gems, if you like going off the beaten path, why not visit the Museum Library Marcucci?
Piazza del Popolo
Got off the train? Well, now take a deep breath as you step into Piazza del Popolo, a truly amazing place… Enjoy the moment and make yourself at home in what is know worldwide as one of the finest Italian squares. There’s plenty of cafés and bars in the square, from historic to modern-design ones, so why not have a seat and a glass of one our local PDO wines accompanied by fried stuffed and traditional cold cuts?
A coffee at Meletti
Caffè Meletti was founded in 1907 and is listed among the 150 Historic Cafès of Italy. Its perfectly preserved art-deciìo interior, which several films have used as their backdrop, is definitely worth a visit. While you’re there, why not enjoy an Italian coffee or a traditional “anisetta” (a liqueur made from anise)?
After lunch, head off to one the Civic Museums: the Picture Gallery, home to one of the finest collections in Italy, the Archaeological Museum, where you will find out more about Ascoli Piceno’s history, the Museum of the Early Middle Ages, the Museum of Ceramic Art, the Papal paper mill museum, the Contemporary Art Gallery “Licini”, the Diocesan Museum and the Museum Library “Marcucci”.
Rua delle Stelle
It’s afternoon, sunset time…The historic centre of Ascoli Piceno is an enchanting place and has so far given us unique emotions…but now let’s get ready for a truly romantic walk! Take your loved one by the hand and head off to Run delle Stelle or the Colle Annunziata (a hill south of the centre) and you won’t be disappointed! The views and the landscape will take your breath away! If you brought your bike with you or you’ve just rented one, take a two-wheel ride along the cycle lane that runs through the town and enjoy the freedom of visiting Ascoli’s wonders in a fast and sporty way!
Church of St. Francis
One of them is certainly the Church of St. Francis: its main facade on Via del Trivio features a grand portal adorned with a series of little column-bearing lions and pinnacles surmounted by the statues of St. Francis and St. Anthony. In the lower sector of the facade, on both sides the doorway, is a series of little organ pipe sharped columns. Over the centuries, the columns have been worn away by hands of local people who tp them as if playing a musical instrument…Don’t miss the chance to give it a try!
Ascoli Piceno hosts a great number of events throughout the year. Carnival in winter time and the Quintana jousting tournament in the summer are surely among the most important ones. These events are really popular among locals and the city gets immersed in a unique atmosphere.
Carnival of Ascoli Piceno
Visiting Ascoli during Carnival time? Well, there’s nothing you can do but enjoy it! Yes, the Historic Carnival of Ascoli Piceno is a whirlwind of fun across the squares and streets of the centre. Make the best of this incredible experience and be a part of it! And don’t miss the traditional Carnival dishes and cakes served in the city’s main restaurants.
The Quintana jousting tournament
If you’re in town for the Quintana, choose the “Sestiere” (old name for quarter) you’d like to support and be a “sestierante” (supporter) for a day: watch the grand medieval parade with over a thousand people wearing rich 15th-century costumes as it runs through the city centre, support the knights as they challenge the Saracen in the jousting tournament and take a journey back in time. To learn more about this historical re-enactment, we recommend a visit to the Ufficio Quintana in Piazza Arringo, a museum dedicated to the history of this event.