Marche - Places to visit - Ascoli Piceno
The town is situated at 154 m. above sea level on an alluvial terrace near the con Fluence of the Castellano and Tronto rivers, about 30 km. from the Adriatic coast.
It was founded by the Piceni and conquered by the Romans in 286 BC. However, a rebellion broke out in 91 BC. at the time of the Social Wars, but was quelled two years later. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Ascoli Piceno was ruled by the Lombards until 774, when the Franks gave it to the Church.
During the Middle Ages it was ruled by the Bishops and later (12th century) became a free municipality. In 1242 Frederick II of Swabia conquered Ascoli, but a few years later it again passed under Papal rule, although the power of the Church was only nominal, as the town was governed by various local lords.
Only in 1426 did Ascoli become definitively part of the Papal States and share their fortunes until 1860, when it was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy.
The town's medieval urban structure repeats the ancient Roman orthogonal plan and is still clearly visible. Modern suburbs have developed this century beyond the rivers.
The monuments include: Baptistry (12th century, Romanesque), St. Vincent and St. Anastasio (11th-14th century, Romanesque), St. Francis (Gothic, 13th-16th century), Loggia dei Mercanti (16th century), Palace dei Capitani del Popolo (16th century), Duomo (15th-18th century with a valuable 1473 polyptych by Carlo Crivelli), Ponte di Solest (Roman, Augustian period), Palazzetto Longobardo (12th century), various medieval and Renaissance churches and buildings.
From an economic point of view, Ascoli is an active trading centre for agricultural products (cereals, vegetables, fruit and olives) but it also has building, chemical, paper-manufacturing, engineering, textile and food industries.
The service sector is important as is tourism, attracted by the town's artistic heritage and folklore as well as by the nearby Montagna dei Fiori (1,676 m.), a winter holiday resort.
Events: Quintain Tournament with Renaissance Costumes (August), Carnival.
Famous People: Francesco Stabili, called `Cecco d'Ascoli' (poet and astrologer, 1269-1327), Antonio Bonfini (humanist and historian, 1427-1505), Ludovico Trasi (artist, 1634-1695), Antonio Orsini (naturalist, 1788-1870).
Cultural Institutions: State Archives, Archeological Museum, Diocesan Museum, Civic Art Gallery (with works by Guercino, Strozzi, Van Dyck, among others).
In the Province: Fermo (interesting environment, Polar Museum), S. Benedetto del Tronto (seaside resort and fishing port), S. Elpidio a Mare (Bucket Contest with 14th century costumes).