Ascoli Piceno (Asculum) entered in contact with Rome mainly for reason of the trade that took place along that which would successively become the Consular Salarian Road as far back as the Alliance Treaty between Rome and the Piceno people that had been stipulated in the year 299 BC.
This exceptionally important road, which linked the Tyrrhenian coast to that of the Adriatic, was of fundamental strategic and military importance for the Romans. Following the victory of the Romans (89 BC) and the capitulation of the city, Ascoli rose once again to new life under the Imperior rule of Augustus and the city was enriched with villas, temples, theatres, spas, streets. bridges and fortifications.
Gateways and Fortifications
Gemina Gateway, with wall ruins in opus reticulatum, was discovered only in 1824 with the dismantling of the Romanesque church of S. Leonardo, made necessary for viability purposes at the city limits.
The Roman Theatre was brought to the light between 1932 and 1959, and it is still today object of excavation. The remains of the Roman amphitheatre, however, are underneath today’s S. Tommaso Square.
In the course of history the structures were used as a, sort of quarry for construction materials for the city walls and for private dwellings as well as for the production of lime.
Publio Ventidio Basso
Ventidio Basso was an important Ascolan commander of the 1st century AD. Brought to Rome as a prisoner while still a youth during the “Social War”, he began his career in with a humble task, as a supplier of mules of transportation for the soldiers.
This activity permitted him however to enter into the military ambient and even to establish a friendship with Julius Caesar.
He soon became a valiant general, then Senator, Judge of the Plebians and Prefect. It was finally as Consul in the year 39 AD that Ventidio defeated the Partisans and the victory was such that the following year his triumph was celebrated in Rome.
One may admire still today several bridges constructed by the Romans, with their proverbial ability, that span the Tronto River and its branches.
There remain in the city two pagan temples, successively transformed into the churches of S. Gregorio Magno and S. Venanzio. The former was a temple presumably dedicated to Isis and conserves two Corinthian columns in its facade (they were part of the entranceway portico) and the walls of the cells in opus reticulatum.In the area surrounding the modem courthouse (Tribunale) some Roman domus were rediscovered.
The Archaeological Museum houses several of their beautiful mosaic pavements. The most important one has an ingenious figure of a double mask.
Where to stay in Ascoli Piceno
Hotels, B&Bs, apartments and country houses: search and make reservations here.