Top 3 experiences for a one-day trip to Ascoli Piceno

Ascoli Piceno is not a big city but it is definitely worth a one-day trip with many interesting experiences to enjoy. Here 3 top activities that will make you want to come again and get more. Remember also to check the best time to visit the city.

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As many Italian medium-sized cities in the countryside, Ascoli is a place where to stop and just enjoy wandering around. Piazza del Popolo (People’s square) is one of the most elegant squares in Italy, often called “The Living Room”. It is the heart of the town: lively from the early hours of the day, thanks to the open-air markets, to the evenings where people gather for the aperitivo.

Piazza del Popolo in Ascoli Piceno – Photo by Philipp Ruch from Pixabay

In Renaissance style, the rectangular square is surrounded by a number of buildings made in Travertino, a grey-hued stone extracted from the surrounding mountains. Looking at 360 degree, you can see the arcades of the historic Meletti cafe, the mighty Palazzo dei Capitani del Popolo, the Gothic forms of the church of San Francesco and a porch that completes the perimeter with 59 arches, as well as other Renaissance buildings with arcades and decorative battlements. It was the governor Raniero de ’Ranieri who sanctioned the definitive architectural composition of the square in the 16th century, financing it with public expenditure. In 1509 private individuals were given the opportunity to implement the existing buildings, raising them and building the upper floors of the colonnade, but respecting the strictest architectural and aesthetic rules.

Even though most of its sightseeing attractions are from the Renaissance, the origins of Ascoli are quite old. Ascoli was founded by an Italic population (Piceni) several centuries before Rome. The Romans, in a first period, around 268 BC, left the city independent (it was a civitas foederata, a “federated” city). The city was important though, as it was on the Via Salaria, the salt road that connected Latium with the salt production areas on the Adriatic coast. So, after an attempt revolution against Rome, the city was destroyed and was run by the Romans till, eventually, the empire fell.
The Roman period left many traces like Porta Gemina, Ponte di Cecco, the remains of the Theater and Amphitheater, two ancient temples – one of the Corinthian order, the other probably ionic – now incorporated in the Churches of San Gregorio and San Venanzio.

The best experience to visit Ascoli on a one-day trip in our opinion is to have fun and get the local flavor with a Bike Tour. Ascoli Piceno is a relatively flat town in a hilly area so it won’t be so physically demanding. In any case, together with your personal guide you won’t only visit the buildings with amazing architecture, and history, but you will also enjoy a drink together: your thirst will be satisfied.

Get hands on with Olive Ascolane

Olive Ascolane stuffed, waiting to be breaded (Photo Viator)

Olive Ascolane (all’Ascolana) are essentially green olives in brine stuffed with a mix of different ground meat.

Legend says that around the year 1800, the chefs who served the families of the local nobility, agreeing among themselves, invented the stuffed olives to consume significant quantities and varieties of meat they had available, due to the increase of the taxes levied on farmers. In the recipe, in fact, there are 3 kinds of meat: pork, chicken, and beef.

Interesting to know is that the olives used in this recipe are protected with the DOP denomination since 2005: it means that the geographic origin is controlled and that they will use only local olives!

The best experience, in this case, you name it, is a Cooking Class! Learn how to stuff, bread, and fry local olives with an experienced chef at a farm or city location, and then taste your handiwork during a meal to cap off the lesson.

What we really love about the Olive Ascolane is the fried outside crust: it is so crunchy!! It is a food from heaven 😇

Our tip?? As you are on a one-day trip to Ascoli get the best of both experiences! Have the class in the morning so you can enjoy the olives for lunch… And in the afternoon you can have the bike tour and finish the day with some other olives and a refreshing aperitivo. 😋 Learn about the cool local drinks you can enjoy in Ascoli in this article.

What about sculpturing?

Travertino is the popular grey-hued stone from the surrounding mountains.

Travertino Stone in Ascoli Piceno

One of the most famous quarries that still mines the stone is the historic Rosara Quarry, close to the city of Ascoli Piceno. For that reason, a nice experience for a one-day trip in Ascoli is to attend a Travertino workshop to learn basic sculpting techniques, how to use the chisel, and to create something with your own hands.

And some extras…

If the weather is not nice and you can go to the quarry but you still want something artistic, you can take a pottery class.

Learn about ceramic in Ascoli Piceno – Photo Viator

Known as the city of ceramics, Ascoli Piceno is home to many ceramic laboratories and craftsmen. All tools and materials are included and you will create your own souvenir during the workshop.

And, if you are lazy and you don’t want to take a class, but you want just to enjoy the food?!? You can hire a local cuoca, especially if you stay in a self-catered villa.

Cesarine are local cooks who will create a dinner for you – Photo Viator

She will come with all the ingredients and she will cook in your kitchen. She will take care of everything for you (clean up included!). Enjoy an aperitivo with sparkling wine and nibbles followed by a 4-course menu including starter, pasta, main course with a side dish, dessert and drinks included (water, selection of red and white wines from regional cellars). A royal dinner, indeed!

And… Did we talk about Olive Ascolane? Yes, we did… But we haven’t mentioned what is considered to be one of the best places to buy them: Migliori Olive Ascolane at the west corner of Piazza Arringo.

Other experiences you would mention for a one-day trip to Ascoli?

We would like to hear your suggestions to get the best out of your staying.

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