The main thing of Ascoli’s landscape is the stone. Ascoli is a city of towers, churches, squares and palaces, the entire historic center was built by carving the travertine blocks of Piceno’s quarries. For this reason it is smooth and uniform, elegant and comfortable. You can admire all this beauty in Piazza del Popolo, with the Church of San Francesco, Palazzo dei Capitani del Popolo, medieval houses and arcades.

Other most important monuments of Ascoli are in Piazza dell’Arringo: Palazzo dell’Arringo seat of the Civic Art Gallery, the Cathedral of Sant’ Emidio, the Baptistery of San Giovanni and the Episcopal Palace with the Diocesan Museum. Ascoli is also worth a visitfor traditional Marche welcome and an excellent gastronomy. In this page we suggest you 10 things to do and seeduring a weekend or a holiday in Ascoli Piceno.

Piazza del Popolo in Ascoli Piceno

The first thing you will notice in Piazza del Popolo is its extraordinary architectural harmony.

This kind of sensation is made by the majestic façade of Palazzo dei Capitani del Popolo, the huge walls of the Church of San Francesco, the Renaissance buildings, porticoes and loggias, and also the historic and the little bit out of fashion CaffèMeletti. Piazza del Popolo is a meeting point for people of Ascoli in order to enjoy a coffee or a cocktail with friends.

Its story is very interesting. In 1507, the governor Raniero de’ Ranieri, decided to build on three sides of the square some vaults made of red brick and travertine columns. People who owned spaces in the square had to follow strict rules: no more than one floor, buildings with the same height, always made of travertine and red brick and same windows for all homes. What do you think? Do we need severe rules still today to preserve the beauty of Italy?

Palazzo dei Capitani del Popolo in Ascoli Piceno

Palazzo deiCapitani since seven centuries is the center of Ascoli’s civil power. Built between 1200 and 1300 to replace three small buildings and a noble tower converted into a bell tower, it played the “People’s Palace” function, where the representatives of the guilds took the government’s decisions.

It became “Town Hall”, seat of the lords who for centuries ruled Ascoli, including the King of Naples, the Sforza, the Pope and the podestà who transformed it into the seat of the fascist faction and “Casa del Littorio”. Burnt down during  Christmas in 1535 to end the revolt of some people, it was rebuilt in the following  years and until 1563 it hosted the old Governors. It became the seat of the Pontifical Governors and only after the unification of Italy (1860), it was given to the state. You can visit the interior with the beautiful Renaissance courtyard, the Sala dellaRagione, the Coat of Arms Hall. Very interesting  the visit to the archaeological remains from the Roman period to the Medieval emerged during a recent restoration work.

Where: down town centre
How to get there: by feet
When: every day from 9 am to 7 pm. Never 25th December, 1st January
Ticket: free entrance. Some exhibition may require the payment

The Church of San Francesco in Ascoli Piceno

The Church of San Francesco is one of the central point of the religious life in Ascoli. The imposing Gothic shape makes it one of the main characters of Piazza del Popolo.

In 1215 St. Francis visited Ascoli where he stayed for several months and since then 30 young people of the city took the habit giving life to the Order of Minor Conventual  Friars. To welcome their community, in 1258 it was begun the construction of the Church of San Francesco.

The central portal is very interesting: the lunette is decorated with St. John the Baptist, Our Lady and St. Francis while at the center of the arc there is a lamb in honor of the Corporation of Lanari who participated in the costs of construction. The big Gothic portal is decorated with the  monument to Julius II who set Ascoli free from tyrants and Gianfrancesco Astolfo Guiderocchi. The interior is very simple, with a rectangular shape of a Latin cross, three naves divided by ten octagonal columns, Gothic arches and vaults in the Romanesque style. Next to the Gothic portal there is the Loggia dei Mercanti. Under the loggia it is still visible the travertine sheet that shows the measures of all the architectural elements used to build the Lodge, for maintenance and replacement.

Piazza Arringo in Ascoli Piceno

Piazza Arringo or “dell’Arengo” competes with Piazza del Popolo for the role of civil and religious center of Ascoli.

Much larger but not less harmonic, the square takes its name by  the meetings (and speeches) of the people that took place under an elm. There are four main buildings in Arringo Square: the Cathedral of St. Emidio, the patron saint of Ascoli and protector from earthquakes, is worth a visit especially for the crypt where is preserved the mausoleum with the body of the saint and the wonderful polyptych of Crivelli.

The nearby Baptistery of St. John, one of the most important examples of Romanesque architecture in Italy. The most important civil building in the square is the Arengo Palace, now the seat of the Municipal Art Gallery while the Episcopal Palace houses the Museum Diocesanowith some works of Crivelli.

Diocesan Museum and Civic Art Gallery of Ascoli

In Piazza Arringothere are the two main museums of Ascoli: Palazzo Arringo houses the Civic Art Gallery, small but extraordinary collection of works from 1400 to the present.

There are the few paintings left in Italy by Carlo Crivelli, a Venetian master from 1400 unknown to most people, whose works, however, are exhibited in major museums around the world: the Art Gallery houses the two triptychs of Valle Castellana.

Together with Crivelli you can admire works of Cola dell’Amatrice(The Road to Calvary, 1527), Tiziano (St. Francis receiving the stigmata, XVI sec.), Guido Reni (Annunciation, 1575) and even Loving Walk, a work of 1901 made by PellizzaVolpedo, author of the famous Fourth State. The Diocesan Museum, in the nearby Episcopal Palace, always worth a visit for the works of Crivelli, including a beautiful Madonna di PoggioBretta

Civic Art Gallery
Where: Arrigo square, old town centre
How to get there: by feet
When: Tuesday– Friday: 10 am – 5 pm
Saturday, Sunday and holidays 10 am – 7 pm
Never on Monday, 1st January in the morning, 24th December afternoon, 25th December, 31st December afternoon
Ticket: € 8 included the entrance for The Contemporary Art and Ceramic Museum
Diocesan Museum
Where: Arrigo square
How to get there: by feet
When: Monday – Friday 9.30 am  – 1 pm . Saturday 9.30 am – 1 pm , 3 – 7 pm
Ticket: € 3,50

Caffè Meletti in Ascoli

It may be strange to find a coffee between 10 things to do and see in a city, but before judging, enjoy the show of the historic Caffè Meletti. Included among the 150 historic cafés of Italy, since 1905 it is an important place of Ascoli, as well as a meeting place for painters, writers, businessmen and common people.

On the tables under the arcades in Liberty style used to sit  Sartre, Hemingway, Mascagni, Guttuso, Pertini, soldiers and many more. On the pink façade there is the old written “AnisettaMeletti”, anise-based liqueur which made famous the coffee. Produced for the first time in 1870 by Silvio Meletti, it is obtained from the anise plant. People use to enjoy it with a “fly”, a coffee bean in the glass. Any meal in a restaurant of Ascoli always ends with Meletti anisette. Obviously do not overdo it, it’s still an alcoholic drink!

Sant’Emidio Temples in Ascoli

Piazza Bra is one of the largest squares in Europe, dominated by the Arena and made precious by some historical buildings. The square takes its name from the German word breit, which means wide

In Piazza Bra there is the liston, the pavement in pink marble of Valpolicella, the same one used to build the Roman Amphitheatre. On the liston, people love to meet, walk and chat, before to sit down at a bar for a coffee or an aperitif.

A tradition that goes back in the past because already Goethe, in his Italian Journey essay, wrote “..on the  pavement of the Bra  a multitudeof people used to walk.” In addition to the Arena, in the square you can find  the Gran Guardia Palace place for exhibitions and events and Palazzo Barbieri town hall.

Sant’Emidio Rosso Temple
After the Roman Bridge, take Via Tucci. About 10 minutes walk from Piazza del Popolo.
Temple Sant’Emidio alle grotte
it is located outside the historic center, near Porta Tufilla. Ask for information at the point of tourist information in Arringo Square.
How to get there: by feet
Ticket: free entrance

Via delle Stelle and Roman Bridge in Ascoli Piceno

The name is certainly impressive and it fits with this medieval glimpse of Ascoli Piceno.

Via delle Stelle is along the old path of the city walls, near the right bank of the river Tronto. People call it Rretëmierghië that means “behind the crenelated” because all the buildings along the street were crenelated for military defence needs. Along the way, quiet, there are medieval towers and palaces, remains of ancient shops, cobblestone streets and panoramic views of the river Tronto.

It seems that the name derives from the habit of lovers in the evening to find a little of “tranquility”. At the end of Via delle Stelle there is the Roman Bridge considered an extraordinary example of the constructive capacity of the Romans. Of the Augustan age, it was built with a single span of about 62 meters, a true miracle for its time.

Where: Fontveille direction
How to get there: by car on the street D17
October 1,  to March 31, : Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am  to 5 pm
1 April  to June 30: Monday to Sunday from 9:30 am to 6 pm. 1
July  to 30 September : Monday to Sunday from 10 am  to 6 pm
Never: 1st January, 1st May, 1st and 11th November, December 25
Ticket: € 7,50

Things to eat in Ascoli Piceno

It is not clear how much work it takes to make an olive Ascolana until a restaurant owner of Ascoli explains it to you.

The most representative dishes of Ascoli requires excellent products (pork, chicken, beef, wine, eggs, Parmesan cheese, olive oil), time and effort to prepare. Usually the olives are part of  the “fried vegetables” with lamb chops, artichokes and fried custard. You can eat as an appetizer or as a second course. Other local dishes are noodles and macaroni of Campofilone with meat sauce, especially chicken. Among the latter stand out the meat of the Marche region.  For sweet, castagnole with aniseed, frustingo (nuts, dried figs, almonds) and the sweet Pizza. Among the local wines to try Rosso Piceno Superiore and Falerio. Any meal always ends with Meletti anisette.

Places to Stay in Ascoli Piceno

Although it is an important tourist attraction and one of the most visited Italian cities, Ascoli has not an excellent capacity.

There are fewer than 30 hotels, making it difficult to find a cheap room during the high season (spring and early autumn). On the other hand, the prices are not high and usually the rooms are housed in beautiful historic buildings. A room in a three star hotel in the Old Town start from 50 euro per night.

If you are looking for a hotel in Ascoli Piceno, we suggest you to choose among those offered by There are about 30 hotels with prices, pictures and comments of guests already stayed there. Go to

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