Ascoli Piceno is the southernmost Province in Le Marche. The area slopes down from the Apennines to the sea, passing through the Sibilline Mountains that rise up along the border with Umbria, and creating a formation of hills in the east towards the coastline. This sequence of hills, singing with the changing hues of the orchards and cultivated fields, gently descend from the Apennines to the sea, turning the landscape into a palette of colours.
The coast, narrow and sandy, lies between the mouths of the Chienti and Tronto Rivers, and is interspersed with charming seaside towns, for instance San Benedetto del Tronto with its long, sandy beach and wide promenades, all surrounded by verdant palm trees; Grottammare, with its fine, sandy beach; and Cupra Marittima, boasting a milder climate that supports the growth of tropical vegetation.
Mountains, hills, valleys, woods and beaches all lend to the area a great variety of landscapes that can be discovered throughout the year, in all their vivid beauty.
The characteristic buildings, streets and piazzas tell the story of centuries of history. From the facades of its Medieval buildings to its old maze of streets and trails, Ascoli Piceno is a town of art, culture and strong traditions. It is also a cohesive and harmonious mix, due to the widespread use of travertine marble for everything from simple buildings to palaces, from the churches to the pavement of its piazzas.
Its two main centers reflect ancient and modern Ascoli: Piazza del Popolo and Piazza Arringo, respectively. The former was the location of the old forum, the residence of the Captains of the People, and a vibrant commercial center, whereas the latter was once the political heart of town, with its Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace.
Many of Ascoli’s museums are concentrated in Piazza Arringo, also known as ‘Museum Square;’ they include the Pinacoteca Civica (the public art gallery), with its many masterpieces by Titian, Guido Reni and Giuseppe Pellizza da Volped; the Diocesan Museum and the State Archeological Museum. The old town is well-protected by the Tronto River and its offshoot, the Castellano River, while the modern town spans eastward, following the Tronto to the sea.