If you love medieval towns and the countryside, then Ascoli Piceno is the perfect place for your next trip in Italy. Located in the Marche region, just 30 minutes driving from the Adriatic coastline, Ascoli Piceno is provided with impressive architecture, history to recount and local specialties not to miss. Whatsmore, it is surrounded by some of the highest peaks in Italy along the Apennines, Sibylline Mountains with 2000 meters height. This is part of the National Park across Umbria and Marche and it is meant to protect the green area and its animals, preserving the most endangered ones. Check out below to know more about what to see in Ascoli Piceno!
Ascoli Piceno: a medieval town
Ascoli Piceno is a lovely town in the Southern area of Marche, surrounded on 3 sides by the asperous peaks nearby and by the rivers Tronto and the small Castellano. Its foundation could date back to even several centuries before Rome’s foundation, when the italic population of Piceni inhabited this place located on a crucial position along Via Salaria, the road used to carry salt from Adriatic regions to Rome and Latium during Ancient Times. The town itself was named after the Greek Roman God Asculon.
Later in the Middle Ages, Ascoli Piceno was conquered by Lombards and Franks, but it was in this period that most of its highlights were built. The old town of Ascoli has been adorned with plenty of white and golden travertine constructions that are still visible today.
Moreover, Ascoli is known for its countless medieval towers that once were even 200, located along the so-called Towers itinerary. The most beautiful tower is called Torre degli Ercolani: built between the XII and XIII Century in Romanesque style, it is an annex of Palazzetto Longobardo and it is 34 meters high.
Do not miss a stop in Piazza del Popolo, known to be one of the most fascinating squares in Italy for its stunning Travertine decorations. Adorned with Renaissance architecture details, it is surrounded by a covered walkway with 59 arches. The floor is again made of Travertine: it makes the square even more evocative.
The majority of museums and places of interest are located instead in Piazza Arringo, the oldest monumental square in Ascoli, where you can visit St. Emygdius Cathedral, the Baptistery and Palazzo dell’Arengo which is home to the City Hall and the local art gallery.
Lastly, food is definitely an important element of any tour in Ascoli: the tasty Olive all’Ascolana is an appetizer created there for the first time. Made of fried olives stuffed with meat, they are very common all over Italy.
Monti Sibillini National Park
The beautiful Sibylline Mountains across Umbria and Marche are the ideal destination to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities. It is possible to access the Park from the different towns which are part of the area, such as Norcia and Visso, the headquarter of the Park.
Monti Sibillini National Park is provided with many trekking trails where you can either go on your own or book a tour with a local guide. There are trails of different levels of difficulty, from easy to expert, so you can find the one that fits best your needs.
Some of them are just urban paths across the main towns, others instead are excursions to discover wild nature and the highest peaks.
One of the memorable experiences is the Grande Anello dei Sibillini, a 124 km long trail divided in 9 stages along the whole mountain, provided with lodges along the way.