Ascoli Piceno


Ascoli Piceno

Infobox CityIT
img_coa = Ascoli Piceno-Stemma.png official_name = Comune di Ascoli Piceno
region = Marche
province = Ascoli Piceno (AP)
elevation_m = 154
area_total_km2 = 160
population_as_of =
population_total = 51.630 (01.2008)
population_density_km2 = 313
timezone = CET, UTC+1
coordinates = coord|42|51|N|13|35|E
frazioni = see list
telephone = 0736
postalcode = 63100
gentilic = Ascolani
saint = Sant'Emidio
day = August 5
mayor = Piero Celani
website = [http://www.comune.ascoli-piceno.it www.comune.ascoli-piceno.it]

Ascoli Piceno is a town in the Marche region, Italy, capital of the province of the same name. Its population is 51,630 inhabitants. (ISTAT, 01.2008)

Geography

The town lies at the confluence of the Tronto River and the Castellano Creek and is surrounded on three sides by mountains. Two natural parks abut the town, one on the north-western flank (Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini) and the other on the south (Parco Nazionale dei Monti della Laga). Ascoli is well connected by railway to the Adriatic coast and the city of San Benedetto del Tronto, by highway to Porto d'Ascoli and by the Italian National Road 4 Salaria to Rome.

History

Ascoli was founded by an Italic population (Piceni) several centuries before Rome's founding on the important Via Salaria (Salaria Road) which connected Latium with the salt production area on the Adriatic coast. In 268 BC it became a civitas foederata, with nominal Independence from Rome. In 91 BC, together with other cities in central Italy, it revolted against Rome, but in 89 BC was reconquered and destroyed by Pompeius Strabo. Its inhabitants acquired Roman citizenship, following the developments and the eventual fall of the Roman Empire.

During the Middle Ages it was ravaged by the Ostrogoths and then by the Lombards of King Faroald (578). After nearly two centuries as part of the Lombar Duchy of Spoleto (593-789), Ascoli was ruled by the Franks through their vicars, but ultimately it was the Roman Catholic Church Bishops to gain influence and power inside the city.

In 1189 a free republican municipality was established but internal strife led dramatically to the demise of civic values and freedom and to unfortunate ventures against neighboring enemies. This uncertain situation opened the path to foreign dictatorships, like those of Galeotto Malatesta (14th century), initially called as a mercenary (condottiero) in the war against Fermo, and Francesco Sforza.

The latter was ousted in 1482, but Ascoli was compelled to submit again to the Papal suzerainty. In 1860 it was annexed together with Marche and Umbria in the Kingdom of Italy.

Main sights

The central historical part of the city is built in marble called "travertino", a grey-hued stone extracted from the surrounding mountains. Its central Renaissance square, "Piazza del Popolo" ("Square of the People") is considered one of the most beautiful in Italy. According to traditional accounts, Ascoli Piceno was home to more than two hundred towers in the Middle Ages: today some fifty can still be seen.

Main sights include:

Churches and convents

*The Cathedral of Sant'Emidio, dedicated to Saint Emygdius, houses an altarpiece by Carlo Crivelli, who lived and worked in and around the city for many years.
*Sant'Emidio alla Grotte
*Sant'Emidio Red Temple
*The Gothic-style church of St. Francis (begun in 1258). The dome was completed in 1549. In the side portal is the monument to Pope Julius II, while the central portal is one of the finest examples of local travertine decoration. Annexed to the church is the 16th century "Loggia dei Mercanti," in Bramantesque style.
*The Romanesque "San Vittore" (known from 996) with an essential façade and a low bell tower.
*St. Augustinus (14th century). Built with a single nave, was enlarged with two aisles in the late 15th century. The rectangular façade has a 1547 portal similar to that of St. Emidio. The convent houses the Town's Library, the Contemporary Art Gallery and an auditorium.
*The convent of "San Domenico," now a school, has a Renaissance cloister with 17th century frescoes.
*St. Peter Martyr (13th century), with a 1523 side portal by Cola d'Amatrice. The interior contains the precious reliquiary of the Holy Thorn, a gift of Philip IV of France.
*"San Tommaso" (1069), housing numerous art works and built with parts from the neighboring Roman amphitheater.
*The Franciscan convent, of which two noteworthy cloisters remain today. It was once a prestigious center of culture, whose students included Pope Sixtus V.

*The "Palazzo dei Capitani del Popolo" ("Palace of the People's Captains"). Built in the 13th century connecting three pre-existing edifices, it was the seat of the podestà, the people's captains and, later, the Papal governors. In the 15th century the southern side was enlarged, and, in 1520, a Mannerist façade was added in the rear side. In 1535 it went under a general renovation, and in 1549 a new portal, with a monument of Pope Paul III, was added.

Other buildings

*Roman Bridge.
*Lombard Palace and the Ercolani Tower (11th-12th centuries).
*"Fortezza Pia", a fortress commanding the city rebuilt in 1560 by Pope Pius IV (whence the name).
*Malatesta Fortress, in a site probably occupied by Roman baths. It was rebuilt by Galeotto Malatesta, lord of Rimini, during the war against Fermo. The construction, used as a jail until 1978, was enlarged by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger in 1543.

In Castel Trosino, not far from the city, in 1893 a rare example of 6th century Lombard necropolis was found.

Parks and gardens

* Giardino Botanico, Istituto Tecnico Agrario Statale "Celso Ulpiani", a botanical garden

Economy

Recent industrialization brought to Ascoli several Italian and multinational companies (YKK, Manuli, Pfizer, Barilla) but the bulk of the economy is made up of small and medium sized enterprises and by those providing professional services to the area. Agriculture is still important (wheat, olives, fruits).

Culture and sport

The main festivity is on the first Sunday in August. The historical parade with more than 1500 people dressed in Renaissance costume is held in celebration of Saint Emidio, protector of the city. The parade is followed by a tournament, called Quintana, in which six knights, each one competing for one of the six neighborhoods in the city, ride the course one after the other trying to hit an effigy of an Arab warrior. Strength and ability are necessary for the knight to win the palio or the grand prize.

The town is also home to Ascoli Calcio, currently in the Serie B.

"Frazioni"

Bivio Giustimana, Campolungo-villa sant'Antonio, Caprignano, Carpineto, Casa circondariale, Casalena, Casamurana, Case di Cioccio, Casette, Castel di Lama stazione, Castel Trosino, Cervara, Colle, Colle san Marco, Colloto, Colonna, Colonnata, Faiano, Funti, Giustimana, Il Palazzo, Lago, Lisciano, Lisciano di Colloto, Montadamo, Morignano, Mozzano, Oleificio Panichi, Palombare, Pedana, Piagge, Pianaccerro, Poggio di Bretta, Polesio, Ponte Pedana, Porchiano, Rosara, San Pietro, Santa Maria a Corte, Talvacchia, Taverna di mezzo, Trivigliano-villa Pagani, Tronzano, Valle Fiorana, Valle Senzana, Valli, Vena piccola, Venagrande, Villa S. Antonio.

Twin cities

*flagicon|France Massy, France, since 1997,by mayor Roberto Allevi for Ascoli Piceno and mayor Vincent Delahaye for Massy.
*Flagicon|Germany Trier, Germany, since 1958,by mayor Serafino Orlini for Ascoli Piceno and mayor Heinrich Raskin for Trier.
*Flagicon|USA Chattanooga USA since 2006 by mayor Piero Celani for Ascoli Piceno and mayor Ron Littlefield for Chattanooga.

ee also

*Asculum

External links

* [http://www.comune.ascoli-piceno.it/ Official comune site]
* [http://www.ascolidavivere.it/ ASCOLIDAVIVERE.it - Events, concerts, folklore, culture, entertainment]


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