Offida is a village in the sub-Appennine area of the Marche region and it is located between the valleys of the Tesino river and the Tronto river.
According to some historians, in the VII century Offida was an important Gastald and also during the Carolingian period and the Holy Roman Empire this village was particularly powerful.
TERRITORY AND SURROUNDINGS
- ASCOLI PICENO
- SAN BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO
The town hall (XI-XII cent.) is one of the greatest in all the Marche region and it is characterized by a facade with a sequence of two-pointed merlons.
In the upper part there is the wonderful clock tower. In the past it was used as a prison for people sentenced to death.
The facade of the town hall is also characterized by an elegant portico dated back to the fifteenth century and by a loggia sustained by a sequence of travertine columns.
The majestic and imperious church “Santa Maria della Rocca” is not far from the old town centre and it is surrounded by a charming atmosphere.
It is considered like a custodian of the secrets and the virtues of this village and it is a tangible proof of the love of the Benedectine monks for elegance and splendour. This church has a Romanesque and Gothic style and it is the most important monument from the architectural point of view.
It was built in the 1330 from the foundations of an old Langobardic castle.
THE FAMOUS CARNIVAL OF OFFIDA
Offida shows its most carefree and wild side during the celebration of the Carnival.
The Carnival is sacred and mystic for people of Offida.
It is like a ritual and a mood that characterized people not only in the moment when they wear the “guazzarò”, the typical Carnival dress, but also during the whole period of preparation and organization of the Carnival.
The two most folkloristic events are the “Lu Bov Fint” which is celebrated the Friday before the Carnival day and the “Vlurd” which is celebrated in the Mardi Gras.
THE BOBBIN LACE
Offida is famous not only for its squares and churches, but also for the ancient tradition of making bobbin lace with spindles.
This old art is handed down in the alleys or in the houses of the village by the women of Offida.
In the XVI cent. this wonderful village, which is perched in the hills, was called for the first time “bastion of Picenum”. This name was chosen because of its position that made this village an extraordinary watchtower and an inaccessible place. The majestic town hall was built in the XIII cent. and then it was completely rebuilt in the XVII cent.
Today the town hall hosts the library and the archaeological museum that contains more than three thousand pieces.
The Civic Picture Gallery, which is inside “Palazzo Bonomi-Gera”, hosts pieces from different ages such as the works of the contemporary artists Pericle Fazzini and Arnoldo Ciarrocchi or the panel paintings of Vittore Crivelli (XV cent.) or Vincenzo Pagani.
THE BURNED HORSE
Every year the centuries-old history of this village and its people is celebrated through a fireworks show which is one of the oldest of Italy.
This event is called the Burned Horse and its origins can be traced back to the 1682 when it was celebrated on the 10th May, the day of the coronation of “Madonna di San Giovanni”.
In the first Sunday after Easter, a horse made of metal sheet is carried in the village and a lot of fireworks are positioned on this horse.
The fireworks show starts and the burned horse is brought around the city and characteristic places like “piazza Condivi” or the “Duomo”. This event is an incredible moment not only for the people of Ripatransone but also for the many tourists that every year reach the city in a growing number.
Ascoli is always a surprise, a kind of unexpected encounter.
Astonishment is the most common feeling in those who pass through the city gates and the bridges of the “hundred towers city” for the first time.
The origins of Ascoli are very ancient and its inhabitants think that this city is older than Rome.
This is probably true if we consider the first settlement organized by the Sabine, people who came from Lazio and reached this territory following a woodpecker, a bird sacred to Mars.
The word “Piceno” derives from the Latin word “Picus” which means woodpecker. For this reason, the symbol of Ascoli is the woodpecker.
We suggest “Piazza Arringo” as first stop during your tour. In ancient times, this square was the stage for popular assemblies and as a matter of fact “Piazza Arringo” takes its name from this kind of tradition. Near “Piazza Arringo” you will find “Piazza del Popolo”, which is considered one of the most beautiful square of Italy. This place is characterized by the dominance of the local stone, the white colour of the travertine which is made unique by the passage of the time. In this square you can also admire the majestic facade of “Palazzo dei Capitani” which is next to the decorated and brilliant “Caffè Meletti”.
“Piazza del Popolo” is characterized by pieces which come from different centuries and different histories and this is represented for example by the double-arched windows or by a plaque which contains a writing. When people visit this square and they admire this place in all its parts, they lose the perception of the time and they feel like embraced by this wonderful square.
“Piazza del Popolo” is the old town centre and its architectural homogeneity is due to a spatial rearrangement design of the XVI century. That was the century of the divine proportions which substituted the old built up area of huts and workshops.
SAN BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO
In the province of Ascoli Piceno, San Benedetto is an important economic centre and it is the second biggest urban centre after Ascoli Piceno.
It is very useful to consider the history and the origins of this seaside town in order to understand its evolution and its maritime inclination.
The invasions, the emigrations, the immigrations and the relationship with the Adriatic populations are fundamental elements to understand how this village gained such an impressive expansion during the past centuries. San Benedetto became an “open city” which took part in trading and business and it was a point of reference for the Picenum area.
Thanks to its safe and easy maritime practicability, San Benedetto was an important junction in the connection between the Papal States and the Kingdom of Naples.
In the XIX century, the new job opportunities, the resources of the sea and the fishing related activities encouraged people to move toward the sea. This was possible through the reclamation of unhealthy and dangerous places that became liveable for local people. The first houses of the fishermen were made of straw and clay.
In 1851, San Benedetto had 5351 inhabitants.
In 1863 the Adriatic railway line was created and it represented a historical moment for the whole territory. In the same years, the first beach resorts were built and San Benedetto started to be considered as a touristic town.
In 1896 a royal decree granted to San Benedetto the quality of “del Tronto”.