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Ascoli Piceno the city of the travertine

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Ascoli Piceno is situated at the foot of the Appenines of Marches, where the river Castellano flows into the river Tronto, the boundary line with the Abruzzo region.

It looks like a natural amphitheatre with on the west the mountains of the Apennines and its two national parks (Mountains della Laga and the Sibillini Mountains) to the south Colle San Marco and Montagna dei Fiori; to the north the Ascensione Mountains; and to the east the whole Tronto valley that leads to the Adriatic Sea, on the beautiful coast of San Benedetto del Tronto.

The Legend tell that a group of young Sabines, driven by a woodpecker (the bird sacred to Mars), would have reached a strip of land between two rivers where they founded the city of Ascoli and joining with the local populations have given rise to the Piceni.


Ascoli Piceno is a real "box of sweets" rich of history and monuments, where the use of travertine dominates the scene. In this way Ascoli appears to visitors who wander among the narrow streets of its historic centre. Medieval, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, a city of thousand faces, full of history, easy to read because its inhabitants have adapted themselves to her, respecting it and preserving it over time. The narrow streets (called Rue), that are still paved with river pebbles, come suddenly out on its squares, real salons of art, or they overlook on the rivers and on the valleys opening their look on green horizons. The walk "rret to them mierghie" (literally "behind the blackbirds") is particularly suggestive.

 

Their  squares are enviable and enchanting, real city saloons:

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Piazza del Popolo,  is considered one of the most beautiful squares in Italy, is located at the crossroad of the Cardo and Decumanus (today Corso Mazzini and Via del Trivio), has a rectangular shape and it  is paved with light travertine, that the time and the wear have made it a unique charm of its kind. On its perimeter there are the buildings that represented  three of the most important civic powers: that one political, with the thirteenth century Palazzo dei Capitani del Popolo;  that one religious with the Gothic Church of San Francesco; that one commercial with the Loggia dei Mercanti, that was built for Bernardino da Corona by the powerful corporation of the Wool (1509-1513). To end the already beautiful setting, there is Caffè Meletti, one of the 150 historical coffeehouses in Italy (Art Nouveau) and the harmonious Renaissance palaces with their crenellated loggias and terraces.

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Piazza del dell’Arengo, opens on consular road Salaria, with the palace of Arengo (late XII century) and the most important religious buildings in the city with the Cathedral (the oldest parts are of the VIII century), the Baptistery (Romanesque building of great elegance, with a  square plan at the base and octagonal at the topside) and the palace of Episcopio. One time in this square assemblies  took place and the meetings of people, the jousts and tournaments (the joust of Quintana, taking place every year, is a very warm historical commemoration).

The city is a alternation of palaces, churches, bridges, gates, theatres, newsstands, washtubs, fountains, courtyards of important buildings of the centre, towers, (it is also known as the city of hundred towers) etc. .. everything is made of travertine. Jewels of architecture and art of Medieval style, Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance. Amazing is the visit to the Roman bridge (of Augustan age) that connects the two banks of the Tronto river with a single arch of light 22 meters. An original restoration work made between 1937 and 1939, has allowed to gain some spaces inside the bridge in order to make it accessible to observe the walls from a unique perspective. How not to mention and to wonder by admiring the Papal papermill and the Forte Malatesta, recently restored.


For a watchful and sensitive eye, Ascoli Piceno is a continuous succession of friezes and sculptures disseminated along all its streets and squares .........

 

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