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ASCOLI PICENO

Ascoli Piceno is said to be founded by the Pelasgian king Aesis in pre Roman age at the end of the Bronze Age. However in the area have emerged previous archaeological finds and evidences of human settlements dating back to Paleolithic.
According to Festo the city was instead founded by Sabini arriveed here during the migrations linked to the Ver Sacrum celebration (Sacred Spring) guided by a woodpecker, a bird sacred to Mars.

More realistic it seems the derivation from the root Aegean-anatolica “as”, that means urban settlement.
In 299 b.C. Ascoli formed an alliance with the Roman in the wars against Sanniti and Etruschi and in 268 a.C became part of Roman confederation. During the civil wars (91 b.C.) commanded the opposition of the rebel populations to Rome. It was for this besieged by Roman general Gneo Pompeo Strabone for two years, conquered, and strongly damaged.
In 49 b.C. Caesar, after the passage on the Rubicone river, conquered it and gave it the name Picenum. During the imperial period Ascoli Piceno known a period of maximum importance and economic and political development.
In the Early Middle Ages known the devastations by Goths commanded by Totila and by Longobards commanded by Faroaldo (578), which annexed it to the territory of the Duke of Spoleto until 789, year of the invasion of Italy of the French commanded by Charlemagne, which then left it under the infuence of the Church of Rome.
In 1183 became free Comune and fought against the imperial troops of Federico II of Svevia. It passed then under the power of Malatesta, Sforza in order then to return to the Roman Church until 1860, year of annexation of the Marches to Reign of Italy.

Of the roman period many monuments very well conserved remain today: Ponte di Cecco (bridge), Ponte Augusteo on the Tronto, the rests of the Theatre and the Amphitheater, Porta Gemina (door), two temples now annexed to the Churches of San Venanzio and San Gregorio.
Center of the city is Piazza del Popolo (main square) on which appear the majority of the most important monuments of the city: Palazzo dei Capitani del Popolo with a medieval tower (XIII-XV sec.), the sixteenth-century Loggia dei Mercanti that stands in front of the church of San Francesco, the Cathedral of Sant'Emidio.
Other places of certain cultural interest are the noble palaces: Palazzo dell'Arengo (XII sec.) and Palazzetto Longobardo (XII sec. perfectly conserved).
Continuing the visit you'll have to stop to the Fortezza Malatesta (half of '300), to the Fortezza Pia (built up and destroyed by Romans, rebuilt and destroyed in the Middle Ages, reconstructed again by Pope Pio IV), the Ercolani's Tower (XII-XIII sec.)

In Ascoli the first week of August take place many Medieval and Renaissance parades concluded with the Giostra della Quintana.

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