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Ascoli Piceno, Province of Ascoli Piceno, Marche

25 km from the Adriatic Sea, the town lies at the confluence of Tronto River with the Castellano stream and is surrounded on three sides by mountains: the Monti Sibillini to the north and west and the Monti della Laga to the south. The recent industrialization brought to Ascoli several Italian and multinational companies but the bulk of the economy is represented by small and medium-size companies. Agriculture is also important with wheat, olives and fruit being the main produce.

Info

  • Altitude: 154 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 50,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 63100
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0736
  • Patron Saint: St. Emidio, celebrated on the 5th August
  • GPS Coordinates: 42°51'N, 13°35'E

Administrative Division

The comune includes the following Frazioni and Localities: Bivio Giustimana, Campolungo, Caprignano, Carpineto, Casalena, Casamurana, Case di Coccia, Caselle, Castel di Lama stazione, Castel Trosino, Cervara, Colle, Colle San Marco, Colloto, Colonna, Colonnata, Faiano, Folignano, Funti, Giustimana, Il Palazzo, Lago, Lisciano, Lisciano di Colloto, Montadamo, Monte di Rosara, Morignano, Mozzano, Oleificio Panichi, Palombare, Pedana, Piagge, Pianaccerro, Poggio di Bretta, Polesio, Ponte Pedana, Porchiano, Rosara, San Pietro, Santa Maria a Corte, Talvacchia, Taverna di Mezzo, Trivigliano, Tronzano, Valle Fiorana, Valle Senzana, Valli, Vena Piccola, Venagrande, Villa Sant'Antonio.

History

Ascoli was founded by an Italic population (Sabini) several centuries before Rome on the important Via Salaria (Salaria Road) which connected Latium with the salt production area on the Adriatic coast. In 268 BC it became an allied city of Rome. In 91 BC it revolted against Rome together with other cities in central Italy but in 89 BC was conquered by the Romans.

During the Middle Ages it was conquered by the Lombards in 578, then by the Franks in 789, but ultimately it was the Catholic Church Bishops to gain influence and power inside the city. In 1189 a free municipality was established but internal feuds led to the rule of a number of different lords.

After two centuries of disorder, in the late 16th century the authority of the Pope was re-established. Ascoli followed then almost two centuries of cultural, economic stagnation, turning into a small agricultural centre. In 1860 it was annexed together with the rest of the Marche region and Umbria to the Kingdom of Italy.

What to see

  • The Roman Bridge of Solestà, built in the age of Augustus, which is almost perfectly preserved and can be visited inside, offering a very rare insight of Roman bridge architecture.
  • The Historical Centre of the city, built in a grey stone called travertino, extracted from the surrounding mountains. The central Renaissance square Piazza del Popolo is considered one of the most beautiful in Italy (more on Piazza del Popolo»).
  • The cathedral of Sant'Emidio.
  • The Malatesta Fortress, rising on the site of the ancient Roman baths, and reconstructed under Galeotto Malatesta, the lord of Rimini; the fortress was used as a prison until very recent times.
  • at Castel Trosino, an ancient Lombard necropolis, dated to the 6th century AD.

Events and Festivities

  • The main festivity is on the first Sunday in August, when a historical parade with more than 900 people dressed in Renaissance costumes is held in celebration of Saint Emidio, the patron saint of the city. The parade is followed by a tournament, called Quintana, during which six knights, each one competing for one of the six historical quarters in the city, run in turn a course and try to hit a puppet figuring an Arab warrior. The quarters, or Sestieri, are Piazzarola, Porta Maggiore, Porta Romana, Porta Tufilla, Sant'Emidio, Solestà.

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