Ascoli Piceno is one of Italy's greatest cities for monuments. Almost all of its historical downtown centre is built in Travertine stone, and the charming town square, the Piazza del Popolo, is a fulcrum for the town, looking onto some of the most important buildings, such as the palace, Palazzo dei Capitani and the church of San Francesco.
This wide square in Renaissance style is the heart of the city. Its inhabitants consider it to be an elegant salon where they can meet each other and perhaps sit down at one of the numerous open-air bars for an aperitif made with local products and wines such as Rosso Piceno, Falerio dei Colli Ascolani and Ascolane olives.
Another important point in the city is the urban space, Piazza Arringo, the oldest square in Ascoli, and the site of the mediaeval baptistery of San Giovanni, and the Cathedral of Sant'Emidio, which houses the crypt dedicated to the patron saint. Not only the squares, but also the streets and alleyways, distinctly mediaeval, make a contribution to the characteristic nature of the downtown, making it unique and unforgettable.
Going from Ascoli toward San Benedetto, the splendid locality of Castel di Lama is easy to reach. It takes its name from the stream, Torrente Lama, which crosses through its territory and out toward the Valley of Tronto. Despite the name, Castel di Lama was never actually a castle, but a gathering point for the village, as the territory was made up of isolated estates, which in order to be guarded needed to be fortified. Settlements are still scattered throughout the area today, where olives, grapevines and fruit trees aregrown, all crops which have been cultivated here since Roman times. One special aspect of this area is its numerous elegant villas, perhaps an ancient legacy of the rustic Roman villas, built for the most part during the 1700s.
Continuing along the Via Scirola, we come to San Benedetto del Tronto, a charming seaside village, divided into two: the ancient historical centre, partially perched on the hillside, and the more recent part, called la Marina due its proximity to the coast. The most interesting feature of this city is undoubtedly the seashore. Even today, as well as being an essential communication route, the seashore is the heartbeat of San Benedetto, and the thing that gives the city its image.