A land full of contrasts, so close one another to be confused: mountains slope down quickly to hills and descend towards the sea; the main towns, from Ascoli Piceno to San Benedetto del Tronto, represent all the variety of this territory. And again, cozy villages made of terracotta bricks and white travertine, the industrious vivacity of towns and the piece and quiet of the generous countryside.
Visiting the Piceno means travelling among different landscapes and scents in the same unforgettable moment. There are many places that deserve a visit:
Born at the confluence of two rivers, the Castellano and the Tronto, Ascoli boasts two main squares in its heart: Piazza del Popolo and Piazza Arringo. But the hallmark of this town, even greater than its architecture, is the whiteness emanated by the city itself, mainly made of travertine. In addition to the numerous churches, museums and art galleries, don’t forget to visit Caffè Meletti (one of the historic Italian Art Nouveau cafes) in Piazza del Popolo and the bridge over the river Tronto, dating back to the Augustan period, with its round arch, one of the largest for width of light (over 22 metres). Not far from the city, you can visit the papal paper mill museums in a restored building that, since the Middle Ages, served as the paper mill workshop. Here, the driving force of the river water was used to operate machinery. Its several rooms will interest and fascinate you with their amazing perfection and grandeur.
The origins of this town are traced back to the Pelasgians. Later on, it was inhabited by the Picenes and then conquered by the Romans, but its period of greatest splendour dates back to the Middle Ages. Offida is one of the best preserved villages in the entire region. Here you will find the Serpente Aureo Theatre, dating back to the first half of the nineteenth century, a small masterpiece inside the Town Hall. Its 50 boxes, divided into 3 orders, enclose the scene with a U-shaped layout and surround the audience. The beautiful central rose window depicting Apollo with three muses (of music, comedy and tragedy) is very interesting as well. Another jewel of Offida is the church of Santa Maria della Rocca: a Romanesque-Gothic building dating back to 1330, which preserves splendid frescoes by the Master of Offida (active between the 14th and 15th century).
Surrounded by walls of medieval origins, this small village perched on a hill is home to prestigious buildings, including the Mercantini Theatre and the church of Santa Maria, all built between the 14th and the first decades of the 19th century. Discover the picturesque decorations of private homes and, if you don’t suffer from claustrophobia, look for the narrowest alley in Italy: it’s only 43 cm wide!
This pictoresque village climbs up the hill and its town centre, with the castle walls and evocative alleys, preserves the charm of ancient times. From here, especially with fine weather, you can enjoy a magnificent panorama that goes from the mountains to the sea, extending to the whole Tronto valley. Don’t miss a visit to the Collegiate Church of San Niccolò di Bari and its museum, with works ranging from the 13th to the 18th century.
A small hilltop town where you can breathe an ancient atmosphere: enclosed by the remains of the Dukes of Acquaviva’s fortress, this village has preserved its original elegance and beauty. In addition to the fortress, the church of San Rocco (dating back to the 13th century), the Town Hall and the church of San Lorenzo degli Agostiniani, which houses some paintings by Carlo Crivelli, will enchant you as well.
This ancient settlement dating back to prehistoric times firstly hosted the Picene and then the Roman civilization. The scenery is dominated by the upper part of the village, made up of medieval houses, while in its lower part down to the sea you can find the typical fishing village, dating back to the second half of the nineteenth century. Don’t forget to visit, besides its renowned beach, the Malacological Museum and the Archaeological Museum of the territory, with finds of precious value.
Fine sand, shallow waters and a seafront populated by thousands of palms: San Benedetto del Tronto boasts a lively scenery that combines culture and good cuisine. Thanks to the quality of its beaches, the town is awarded the prestigious Blue Flag every year. In this splendid setting, every visitor can find their favourite places: hills dotted with medieval villages and interesting museums, including the Sea Museum and the Amphorae Museum.