Ascoli Piceno, Italy: travel guide and highlights of a visit to Ascoli Piceno

Photo of Ascoli Piceno (Marche region)

Visit Ascoli Piceno

Ascoli-Piceno is located at the southern end of the Marches region of Italy, in an attractive setting surrounded by mountains and designated natural parcs.

With origins dating back well before the ancient Romans, the name of the town comes from the Piceni tribe who once occupied this spot.

Ascoli-Piceno town centre

There is a very pleasant walled town to discover in Ascoli Piceno, with an attractive and interesting medieval centre, based around Piazza del Popolo. The town is also known for its towers, of which more than 50 remain from the original 200.

The Piazza del Popolo has been at the centre of the town for at least 2000 years, and many of the buildings around the square are constructed in marble (known as travertino).

Cathedral in Ascoli Piceno

The square itself includes two particular highlights: the Palazzo del Capitani del Popolo (1545) and, at the northern edge, the San Francesco Church. The Palazzo is a particularly fine building with a simple design incorporating an ornate entry and an oversized clock.

The lower and simpler arcaded buildings on the other side of the square are, in their own way, equally impressive. Also close to here you can see the 16th century trading centre, called the Loggia del Mercanti.

Head west and north through the town centre along the Via delle Torri towards the Trento river to explore the medieval centre of the town. This is the highlight of Ascoli Piceno, with unspoiled 13th-14th streets lined with ancient houses and sophisticated shops, and the occasional church.

There are also a couple of small interesting temples to discover in Ascoli-Piceno: the Sant'Emidio alle Grotte, with a baroque facade built against the rockface, and the Sant'Emidio Rosso, an octagonal red tower.

Keep going as far as the river to see a particularly impressive Roman bridge. There are also a few other Roman remnants to be seen in the town including a washhouse.

South of the centre, on Piazza Aringo, is the Pinacoteca with an interesting and substantial art collection featuring works by Titian and van Dyck, among others.

Rest and relaxation

Time for a rest so do as every visitor to Ascoli does and head for the Caffe Melletti, and choose whether to sit in the beautiful art nouveau interior or under the frescoed arches outside.

If your visit includes the second saturday in July or the first sunday in August, a splendid historical recreation known as the Quintina takes over the town, and you can watch a traditional jousting tournament.

See also:

Map of Ascoli Piceno and places nearby

Ascoli Piceno places to visit

See more places nearby in the Marche guide