The town of Ascoli Piceno is a place you can see in only one day, but remember for a lifetime. Along with its breathtaking main square, it has other outstanding sights that manage to leave their mark on even the most blase' of tourists.
Start at the Piazza del Popolo, a traffic-free, travertine-paved main square that is one of the most beautiful squares in Italy. To one side of the square stands the Palazzo del Popolo, a splendid 13th-century building guarded over by a monumental statue of Pope Paul III. Look inside to see the arcaded Renaissance courtyard. Closing off one end of the piazza is the great Gothic church of San Francesco, a sober but pleasing building both inside and out.
And next to the Piazza, make an unforgettable stop at the Caffe' Meletti to taste the celebrated anisetta liquor.
The other main square, Piazza Arringo, is flanked by the Duomo, and the town hall, or Palazzo Comunale. Inside here you will find the Pinacoteca Civica, Ascoli's art gallery.
On the northern side of town, one of two Franciscan cloisters becomes the town's busy, colorful market in the mornings. The street in front of San Francesco is the center of activity in Ascoli, the Via del Trivio. Follow it north to Ascoli's oldest and prettiest neighborhoods, on the cliffs above the Tronto valley. It's also here on the northern side that you'll find most of the city's surviving towers.
On the western entrance to town, on Corso Mazzini, you will see a small Roman gate, the Porta Gemina, dating back to the first century AD. On the fringes of the city, other Roman remains are everywhere. Just south of the Porta Gemina, on Via Angelini, there are traces of the Roman Theater.
From here, Via Ricci leads up to the Parco della Rimembranza, with two medieval churches of the Annunziata and Sant'Angelo Magno. Finally, there's San Gregorio Magno, built over a Roman temple of Vesta, just behind Ascoli's town hall in Piazza Arringo.