Ascoli Piceno, Province of Ascoli Piceno, Marche region, Italy
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.