The Travertine City
The incredibly harmonious and compact appearance of Ascoli's historical center is due in large part to the use of travertine stone, which from the very origins of the city, has been the principal material used in all types of construction.
From simple dwellings to patrician ones, to churches, to the paving of the squares, this stone - used without interruption for two thousand years, encompassing ever-changing styles and the march of history - has been an epitome of the urban landscape of the city, rendering Ascoli unique and particular.
The Capital of the Piceno Civilization
The Piceno People began to differentiate themselves from the other Italic populations during the Iron Age (9th century BC), occupying the area of the Middle Adriatic until the conclusion of the Roman expansionist invasion which ended, after a lengthy siege in 89 AD, with the capitulation of Ascoli. Sights: The Picenian walls of the Roman Gateway, objects conserved in the Archeological Museum.
Following the bellicose events, Asculum became part of the V Regio of the Empire. The Salarian Road was modernized with important infrastructures and the city was enriched by a great number of monumental constructions. Sights: Gemina Gateway, ruins of the Roman Theater, Augustan Bridge, Cecco's Bridge, the caves of Annunziata, former temples at S. Gregorio Magno and S. Venanzio, objects conserved in the Archeological Museum, ruins of the Consolar Salarian Road.
Following the siege in 587 AD, the city became part of the Ducato di Spoleto. In 1893 a vast necropolis complete with funerary objects was discovered at Castel Trosino, leaving a precious testimony of the early Middle Ages.
The One Hundred Towers
In medieval times Ascoli possessed two hundred patrician towers, that is, before Kink Frederic II ordered the destruction of ninety of them. Nowadays one can retrace around fifty, even if many of them have been redimensioned and englobed into the adjacent dwellings and two have been transformed into bell towers. Sight: Itinerary of the Via delle Torri (with the Twin Towers), Via dei Soderini (with Ercolani Tower), Rua delle Stelle, Ventidio Basso Square.
Besidesw the natural protection represented by the deep beds of the Tronto and Castellano Rivers, since the Roman Epoch a complex system of walls, fortresses and gateway was devised, providing the defense of the city over the course of the centuries. Sights: Western Wall with the medieval gateway, the circular tower and Pia Fortress, Malatesta Fortress, Tufilla Bridge and Solestà Bridge.
Humanism and the Travertine that Speaks
Ascoli enjoyed an extremely vital cultural phase in second half of the 1400's, generating intellectuals such Enoch d'Ascoli, Cola Pizzuti and Antonio Bonfini, active in European courts. In this context, the custom of engraving mottos on the architraves of the entranceways was adopted. Over one hundred these maxims, written in Latin or in the vernacular and inspired by culture, religious sentiment or popular wisdom are still visible. Sights: Entranceway inscriptions, Monument to Cola Pizzuti in S. Maria Intervineas, Bonaparte Palace.
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