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Municipality of Ascoli Piceno

General Informations

Ascoli Piceno is a town in the Marche region of Italy, capital of the province of the same name. Its population is around 49,000. The town lies at the confluence of the Tronto River and the small river Castellano and is surrounded on three sides by mountains.

The climate of the city of Ascoli is Apennine type, being close to the major mountain ranges. Winters are wet and cool. The summers are hot and with infrequent rainfall mostly due to sudden and sometimes violent afternoon thunderstorms. In Ascoli valley on hot days you can reach temperatures of 37 ° - 38 °, but generally summer evenings are diluted by fresh breezes from the Apennines are channeled into the valley and very cool nighttime temperatures.

Ascoli was founded by an Italic population (Piceni) several centuries before Rome's founding on the important Via Salaria, the salt road that connected Latium with the salt production areas on the Adriatic coast. In 268 BC it became a civitas foederata, a "federated" city 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 Ascoli was ravaged by the Ostrogoths and then by the Lombards of King Faroald (578). After nearly two centuries as part of the Lombard Duchy of Spoleto (593–789), Ascoli was ruled by the Franks through their vicars, but ultimately it was the bishops that gained influence and power over 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 unstable situation opened the way to foreign dictatorships, like those of Galeotto I Malatesta (14th century), initially recruited as a mercenary (condottiero) in the war against Fermo, and Francesco Sforza. Sforza was ousted in 1482, but Ascoli was again compelled to submit to the Papal suzerainty. In 1860 it was annexed, together with Marche and Umbria, into the newly unified Kingdom of Italy.

Recent industrialization has brought to Ascoli several Italian and multinational companies 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).

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 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 grand prize. (http://www.comuneap.gov.it/turismo)

Gallery

 
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