This was our first visit to Ascoli Piceno. We stopped here for two nights, after leaving Venice and on the way to Rome.
We took the train from Venice, which took about 6 1/2 hours (36.50E each). It went by really fast. We only had one train change and that was in San Benedetto del Tronto.
When we arrived at the train station in Ascoli Piceno, we did not see any taxis out front so we decided to walk to our hotel in the historic center. The walk took about 20 minutes because we got lost. We should have just called a taxi.
The Antiques Market was going on this weekend and there were lots of stalls set up throughout the town.
We stayed at Hotel 100 Torri, which we absolutely loved (review is in the hotel section here). We would come back to Ascoli Piceno just to stay at this hotel again. Good thing we also liked the town.
The weekend we were there was cold and rainy almost the entire time, but we didn't let that stop us from getting out and checking out the town.
The first day we were there, we really thought the town was much larger than we expected, but by day two, it seemed to get smaller. I guess that had to do with learning our way around.
Everyone we met was very nice.
The Saturday evening we were there, it seemed there was some type of college student/parent get together going on. Most of the cafes/bars in Piazza Popolo were swarming with college age kids and parents, drinking and having a good time. It was very crowded, comparable to Campo de'Fiori in Rome on a Saturday night, but everyone was very well behaved. Impressive.
We had the stuffed fried olives at Cafe Lorenzo, along with some drinks, then set out to find supper.
This was really the only problem we ran in to. We have always, always, always, eaten every evening meal in Italy outside. Even if it's snowing.This was a challenge in Ascoli Piceno because the majority of places with outdoor seating were cafe/drink bars, not restaurants. We walked all over town trying to find a place to eat outside, when we came upon the restaurant Migliori, in Piazza Arringo. They had outdoor seating and agreed to serve us out there, even though it was pretty chilly. They were concerned that we would be too cold eating out there, but we assured them that we would be fine.
I do not know what reputation this place has for food quality, but we truly enjoyed it, and the service both nights we ate there was really great. They seemed genuinely pleased that we chose them. The prices were very reasonable as it was throughout Ascoli Piceno, and on the second night we dined there, the owner gave us a bottle of Ascoli Piceno wine to take home with us. (btw, the wine was really good). I would go back there again just for the service.
Another thing we noticed about this town, was the lack of english menus. This was not a problem for us since we had our handy dictionary. Also a lot of people we talked to only spoke a small amount of English, which again was fine with us since it gave us a chance to practice our limited Italian.
I think if I stayed in Ascoli Piceno for a couple of weeks, my Italian would improve considerably, since I would be forced to use it. Not a bad thing.
When we left to go back to the train station, we took a taxi from the hotel. It was 7 Euros. The bus to Rome was 15 Euros per person. Nice bus and very scenic ride. Great value.
We really liked Ascoli Piceno a lot. It wasn't what we expected but it was a pleasant surprise. We are looking forward to returning soon.