High Tech and super-equipped! In art cities like Ascoli Piceno, today’s visitors are like this. Always in a rush, and often the time available imposes the itinerary.
The visitor needs to select the attractions, otherwise, he risks getting lost in the jungle of the numerous information available in guides and on the web: without those must-see places on the list, the experience in Ascoli Piceno is incomplete. And here is our guide about the ten places that you cannot miss by visiting the historic center of Ascoli Piceno on foot, the famous City of the Hundred Towers.
From wherever you come, one of the first landing points is the vast and monumental Piazza Arringo: it is the oldest square in the city, dominated by the Cathedral of St. Emidio and bordered on one side by the Palazzo Vescovile (Bishop’s Palace), location of the Diocesan Museum. On the same side stands the imposing Palazzo Comunale (or also called Palazzo dell’Arengo) which hosts some of the artworks that have crowned the Civic Art Gallery of Ascoli Piceno (Pinacoteca Civica di Ascoli Piceno) one of the most beautiful museums in Italy. On the opposite side, there is the State Archaeological Museum, located inside Palazzo Panichi. Here, are carefully kept the traces and gold crafts of the secret Ascoli that marked our origins.
The Duomo of Ascoli Piceno
After a sip of fresh and crystal water from one of the two stylish travertine fountains in Piazza Arringo, we can start our visit to The Duomo of Ascoli. The contrast between the facade and the interior of this imposing three naves church strikes us immediately. Here, we will not know where to direct our gaze. We will be astonished by the beauty of the paintings of the vaults, and by the works of the sacred art of intimate chapels, some of which are important masterpieces, such as the polyptych by Carlo Crivelli. This fascinating tour ends with a visit to the crypt of the cathedral dedicated to St. Emidio, patron saint of the city: a gathering place full of mosaics and also the starting point of the ancient catacombs.
MUST SEE ATTRACTIONS
1) Piazza Arringo square
2) Duomo of Ascoli Piceno
3) Piazza del Popolo square
4) Church and Chiostro Maggiore of Saint Francis
5) Ventidio Basso theatre
6) Roman theatre
7) Fort Malatesta
8) La Piazzarola quarter
THE SALOTTO D'ITALIA, The Italian Hub of Art & Culture
Among the most beautiful squares in Italy, Piazza del Popolo is both a jewel and a setting for other artistic and architectural gems that adorn the city of Ascoli Piceno.
Piazza del Popolo
Going up from the basement of the city, we quickly walk towards Piazza del Popolo square. Well known as the “Salotto d’Italia” (The Italian Hub of Art & Culture), this square is an authentic architectural jewel that has fascinated the whole world! At night or under the rain, during summer, or in winter: walking through the elegant white travertine square will always give us a breathtaking spectacle! Nestled in the heart of the historic city center, the square is surrounded by elegant sheltered walkways called “Logge” and is the starting point for many other attractions like the historic Caffè Meletti, the Palazzo dei Capitani, and the Church of Saint Francis.
Chiesa e Chiostro Maggiore di San Francesco
The Church of Saint Francis holds many other surprises. From Piazza del Popolo square, we can see the majestic side entrance and go along its sides to fully discover this great architectural work, made in three centuries. In Via del Trivio, we can not miss the appointment with what has now become a ritual: let’s pass our hands on the travertine columns to make the stone pipes sound like an organ! And suddenly, while at this point we think we have seen everything of this magnificent church, on its north side, we catch sight of the restored Chiostro Maggiore of Saint Francis. While we are busy taking some photos and kids run free from corner to corner, we admire the wonders around us: The Chiostro Minore of Saint Francis, and behind us, the room with frescoes by Cola d’Amatrice. In Ascoli, on a Wednesday or a Saturday morning, and if we are lucky, we could also buy something at the historic vegetable market, surrounded by the flowers’ scents and the farmers who still today sell their natural products.
Teatro Ventidio Basso
Through Via del Trivio, our walk continues towards the so-called “Massimo Cittadino” and the other Romanesque squares. Pleasantly lost in the “rue” of the historic city center, our wandering stops in Rua Delle Stelle, in the area of the historic battlements where breathtaking views of the city will remain in our mind forever. If you like to enjoy a beautiful sunset over The City of 100 towers, and why not, have a romantic walk under the stars, we highly recommend this fascinating location.
Out of the city center, but still easily reachable on foot or by bicycle, other surprising points of interest have marked the identity of the city. One of those sites is the Roman Theatre standing at the foot of Colle dell’Annunziata. This ancient theater is undoubtedly fascinating, and a sign of the theatrical culture that has its roots in history.
We can’t leave Ascoli without visiting the historic medieval prison of Forte Malatesta. Recently renewed, it is also reachable by bike. The fort is also an opportunity to visit the Museum of the High Middle Ages and various exhibitions, which are periodically organized in what were once the cells of the ancient prison.
The last step of our tour gives us the chance to observe the city from another point of view. Visiting the Piazzarola quarter, as well as discovering the arts and crafts of the artisans of Via Pretoriana, will allow us to enjoy the wonderful spectacle of the city from above … the last postcard from our gorgeous city!
Let’s start this panoramic trail to restore our eyes and satisfy the spirit!
FEW STEPS AWAY...
The main attractions of the city lie in its heart. Take just a few steps, and you will discover the other wonders out of the Piceno capital.