Destination Ascoli Piceno – A Hidden Treasure: The town of Ascoli Piceno, in Le Marche Region Italy, is a hidden treasure in a beautiful position surrounded by The Sibiline Mountains along the border with Umbria. The whole southern province of the Le Marche Region, for which Ascoli is the capital, offers spectacular views and a variety of landscapes of amazing beauty.
The city of Ascoli Piceno is enchanting with its many beautiful ‘piazze’, famous Cathedral, grand palaces and its stunning Town Hall. The historic city centre was constructed with grey marble extracted from the nearby mountains and originally boasted over two hundred towers. Today, sadly, there are only around fifty. The main square, Piazza del Popolo is considered one of the most beautiful in Italy and the other incredible Piazza Arringo with its twin Renaissance fountains also a gem.
The first peoples who lived in this part of Italy were the ‘Picentes’ tribe and artifacts have been found dating back to 268 BC, although, very little is known about their language and their customs. The city was taken over by the Romans until the end of the Empire and many other rulers took over the town until the Middle Ages when the it came under the strong influence of the Popes and the Catholic Church.
Ascoli is safeguarded by their patron Saint Emygdius who was venerated as a martyr and is believed to have saved the town from a destructive earthquake which hit Le Marche around the third century. His remains are housed in the cathedral and a feast day is celebrated on 5 August each year. The patron Saint was of extra significance this year following a series of earthquakes which spared Ascoli although devastated nearby Amatrice destroying many historical buildings and leaving many displaced.
Ascoli Piceno is also famous for its regional foods and wines. One of their most popular dishes is ‘Olive Ascolane’ (shown below) which are local green olives stuffed with meat, herbs and cheese before being covered with breadcrumbs and deep fried. The region also produces several DOCG certified wines, such as Rosso Piceno Superiore red and Vernacchia, Passerina and Pecorino whites varietals. Each characterised by the unique cool micro-climates of the region.
A good place to sit and try a local wine over a meal is at the famous Cafe Meletti. Located in the main square in the heart of the city, Piazza del Popolo, Cafe Meletti has been an institution for locals and visitors alike for more than 150 years. One of our favourite dishes they prepare is the delicious Tagliolini with Ragu alla Marchiagiana (shown below). If you are feeling adventurous you may want to finsh your meal off with one of their signature liqures and digestive drinks. Anisetta is our pick of the bunch, a recipe that cafe founder Silvio Meletti invented in 1870! Anisetta is a sweet and strong liquorice flavoured liqueur made from aniseed and other aromatic herbs and is great together with a coffee or desert. Salute!
Vita Italian Tours make a visit to Ascoli Piceno annually in June with the nine day Discovering Le Marche Region tour giving travellers the experience and taste of this wonderful town. Interested in visiting Ascoli Piceno? We welcome any enquiries about this tour and/or private tour or self drive itineraries to visit this stunning area of Italy.
Vita Italian Tours: Discovering Le Marche Region: Tour Itinerary
Cafe Meletti Ascoli Piceno: Cafemeletti.it
For More Information on Ascoli Piceno: Italia.it/ascoli-piceno