City Worth Visiting Near the Shores of the Adriatic Sea
Looking for a beautiful, historic place to visit near the east coast of Italy? Consider spending the day in the charming town of Ascoli Piceno. Just a short drive from the Adriatic coast, located in the eastern part of central Italy in the Marche region, is the small city of Ascoli Piceno. Marked by a rich history and beautiful architecture, this town merits at least a day-long visit.
Ascoli’s Distinctive Architecture
One of the common features of Ascoli’s architecture, particularly in the old city center, is the use of travertine. This light-colored stone gives many of the buildings an ancient look (and several of them actually are). Stone ruins from an amphitheater mark one corner of the city, and here and there are architectural remnants of the ancient Piceni civilization.
Piazza del Popolo
One of the central plazas in the town, the Piazza del Popolo shares a name with the famous square in Rome. The focal points of Ascoli’s Piazza del Popolo are the beautiful church, the Chiesa di San Francesco, and the Captains’ Palace, known in Italian as il palazzo dei Capitani. Archways frame part of the piazza, giving it the feel of an ancient courtyard. The Piazza del Popolo is home to some of the towers that form Ascoli’s skyline.
The Piazza del Popolo is also the home of charming Cafe Meletti, which is known for its anisette liqueur and other anisette-flavored delicacies, including espresso. The wood floors, high ceilings, massive windows, and ornate decor give the cafe a bright and airy feeling, as well as the illusion that visitors have stepped back a century, similar to the early-1900s atmosphere in many of Vienna, Austria’s famous cafes. Its pink exterior makes it easy to spot in the Piazza.
Another central plaza in Ascoli Piceno is the Piazza Arringo. At the center of this particular area is the beautiful Cattedrale di San Emidi o (Cathedral of Saint Emidio), distinguished despite its simple exterior. On some days, in good weather, local vendors fill the piazza for an open market.
How to Get to Ascoli Piceno
Ascoli is just west of the coastal town of San Benedetto del Tronto, and is not far from Perugia and Ancona. Major highways pass near or through Ascoli. From Rome, it is approximately a two and a half hour drive via the A24 and A14.
With public transportation, it is possible to reach Ascoli by train. Typically connections are in San Benedetto del Tronto or in Ancona, but it depends on the point of departure. Regardless of the mode of transport, Ascoli Piceno is worth a day-long detour, particularly in the spring or summer.