5 Things to do in Ascoli Piceno, Marche, Italy

5 Things to do in Ascoli Piceno, Marche, Italy

By Diarmaid Condon

The first thing that should be said here is that Ascoli Piceno is very well worth a visit. It is a remarkably striking town with a wealth of culture, history, architecture and culinary delights to choose from. It’s ancient mish-mash of streets are very often so narrow it’s difficult to see how cars can even navigate some of them – but they manage. Access for our visit was with Ryanair via Ancona airport from Stansted in London. There is also a slightly less well serviced airport in Pescara.

Narrow-Cobbled-Alleyway-in-Ascoli-Piceno,-Marche,-Italy by Diarmaid Condon - http://www.diarmaidcondon.com

It should also be stressed that there are far more than five things to do in Ascoli Piceno, but for the purposes of this piece I’m going to pick out five that are worthy of consideration. I am not even suggesting that these are the five best things to do in Ascoli Piceno, but they’re certainly worth a look. It is also well worth heading over to the Visit Ascoli website  or follow them on Facebook, for some extended ideas on what to see and do.

Ascoli Piceno’s streets are such a tangled, spaghetti-like, web that you’ll need something to guide you around initially. If you don’t like doing this on a phone map, you’ll get a very nice printed one from Cento Torri (100 Towers in English). This is a lavishly refurbished hotel accommodation, owned and run by Maria Enrica Tassi. It is right in the centre of town, making it an exceptional central base for any visit. You could not class this as your average hotel and, considering how well appointed it is, the rooms are not outrageously expensive.

This particular visit was at the behest of the lovely folk at Gate-Away.com, the Italian property portal. If you have any Italian property needs do pay them a visit, it’ll be time well spent. I did write a property related article about Marche, just click on the link to visit it.

Ascoli Piceno was our destination on the second day in the Marche region, having spent the first in the pretty seaside village of Sirolo.

5 Things to do in Ascoli Piceno, Marche, Italy

Five things to do in Sirolo (this is just an opinion, by the way, it is in no way scientific).

#1. Take a guided tour. I would strongly recommend the knowledgeable Ascoli Piceno tour guide Valeria Nicu, who also runs a B&B in the area. If you’re prepared to delve, the town is a treasure trove of historic and architectural information. To appreciate it fully you need access to someone with vast knowledge. Valeria, whose English is perfect, is the lady with this knowledge. She also offers equally informative tours in other neighbouring towns such as Offida and Ripatransone (never try to pronounce this while drunk). The Offida tour is highly recommended, with the church of Santa Maria della Rocca alone worth the visit. Ripantransone, perched at the top of a hill, is also worth seeing if you have the time. It is a beautifully preserved medieval town with ridiculously narrow streets.

Piazza del Popolo, Ascoli Piceno, Marche, Italy#2. Visit the many piazzas (squares). If you’ve spent some time with Valeria she will have given you a general idea of some of the them. There are quite a few, so it is worth setting aside some time to visit them in their own right. It’s not difficult, there’s one around almost every other corner. Piazza del Popolo (the People’s Square), in the town centre, is the most impressive (there is a nice 360 degree view of it here – http://bit.ly/31XwZtl). While you’re at take a visit to the awe-inspiring Chiesa di San Francesco (Church of St. Francis, pictured right) along the northern edge of the piazza. Many of the other piazzas, although smaller, are equally worth a visit. Piazza Arringo is actually the city’s main square, but it is less ornate, being more a seat of power than a place where the locals come together.

Ponta-de-Cecco-Bridge,-Ascoli-Piceno,-Marche,-Italy#3. Pay a visit to some of the spectacular bridges, along the Tronto river in particular. The banks of the Tronto, which surrounds the city, are remarkably steep in places. It is quite remarkable, at the time that they were built, that they could overcome the infrastructural challenges involved. It is also quite an achievement to survive the numerous earthquakes that have hit the region since they were built. The most spectacular is probably the Duomo e Ponte di Porta Solestà (Dome and Bridge of Porta Solestà). Also pay a visit the medieval area, where you’ll find the Ponta de Cecco bridge (pictured). If you take the aforementioned tour you’ll finish up here, but it’s also worthy of consideration in its own right. You can actually still walk under the bridge’s roadway, although it was closed for renovation when we visited.

By the way, don’t be inclined to praise the Romans too much. In a fashion not dissimilar to misgivings expressed in Monty Python’s sketch, ‘What have the Romans ever done for us?‘, their presence here was not uniformly welcomed by locals. The metropolitans were aggressors to the Piceni for quite some time, totally flattening the town and its famous towers. We heard the number of towers estimated from one hundred to one thousand, there were a lot of them in any case. The previously mentioned Cento Torri hotel took it’s name from the presence of at least 100 towers at some stage. There are now only 50 remaining. Unfortunately, no amount of wondrous infrastructure will ever enable Ascolians to forget the oppression the Romans wrought on the town and its surrounds.

#4. Dine out. It is Italy after all, it is almost impossible not to eat well, and who needs to rock the boat? We were informed by practically everybody, from the time we arrived, that we should check out Tesco for the finest food in Ascoli Piceno. We were somewhat confused. Firstly we hadn’t seen one of the ubiquitous UK retailers’ premises since we’d arrived and, lovely and all as the fare might be there, we thought the town would have something a little more authentic to offer. It turns out they were advising us to dine at Il Desco. This is a truly wonderful eatery in a newly renovated and very well appointed building. I won’t bore you with the detail of what we ate, but it was all truly delicious. It’s a restaurant for that ‘special meal’ during your trip, although it’s not extravagantly expensive.

Caffe Meletti, Ascoli Piceno, Marche, ItalyFor lunch we visited the historic and ornately Jugendstil inspired Caffé Melletti, (pictured left) at the corner of the aforementioned Piazza del Popolo. Here you can dine on a large array of local meats and vegetarian dishes served buffet style. The ambiance is excellent, plenty of locals enjoying good food and company, and it won’t break the bank.

#5. Take in an event at the Ventidio Basso Theatre. This historic theatre dates back to 1579. It is the third largest in Marche, which doesn’t lack theatres it should be said. The building underwent a full refurbishment to a very high standard, re-opening in 1994. It plays host to a wide range of cultural events with its four rows of spectacular balconies helping to facilitate seating 800.

In Conclusion, are these the only 5 Things to do in Ascoli Piceno, Marche, Italy?

Of course these are not the only 5 things to do in Ascoli Piceno, Marche, Italy. For instance, visiting one of the museums in Piazza Arringo, known as ‘Museum Square’, is also worthwhile, particularly the art gallery. The Palazzo dei Capitani del Popolo (the beautiful building with the large clock face on the front on the west side of Piazza del Popolo) is also worthy of mention as are the ruins of the ancient Roman theatre.

The ubiquitous use of traditional Italian white travertine stone is also worth noting. It will be difficult not to, it is sourced locally and used everywhere as a building material.

There are a wealth of things to do and see in Ascoli Piceno, the five above are well worth consideration as a starting point if you are visiting this very pretty and authentic region of Italy.


Ascoli Piceno Contact List:


Visit Ascoli Websitehttps://www.facebook.com/visitascolipicenohttps://twitter.com/visit_ascolihttps://www.instagram.com/visitascoli

Cento Torri Hotelhttps://www.facebook.com/centotorrri  – https://twitter.com/100torrihttps://www.instagram.com/100torrihotel

Tour Guide, Valeria Nicuhttps://www.facebook.com/valeriaguidaascoli  – https://www.linkedin.com/in/valeria-nicu-231000a9

Caffe Meletti  https://www.facebook.com/RistoranteCaffeMeletti  https://www.instagram.com/caffemeletti  – https://www.linkedin.com/company/caffemeletti

Il Desco Restauranthttps://www.facebook.com/IL-Desco-Ristorante-120168474718395


5 Things to do in Ascoli Piceno, Marche, Italy

About diarmaidcondonadmin

Diarmaid Condon is Ireland's foremost Independent Overseas Property Consultant and Journalist. He has been in the industry since 1995 and, in that time, has been a strong advocate for improved legal protection in the sector.

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