Ascoli Piceno


Ascoli Piceno

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of Ascoli Piceno. “What? Is that some kind of fish?” Well, no, it’s a beautiful city in the Marche. I had heard the name only as a type of Italian wine. Like all cities of any size it has a title; in this case “city of art”. Probably a bunch of cities have that some self designation. It’s major points of interest in the historic center seems to have been built 500-600 years ago although of course the city is much older. The sense of history is ever present in Italy. People live in houses older than our country. Daily life is lived in an environment of great beauty. Of course when living here it must just seem like background. One doesn’t wander around like an awestruck tourist all the time going about one’s daily life.

As part of my wandering, I saw what seemed to be ritual at this fountain. People would stop by for a sip of the water. I didn’t get a picture of them but one woman came by and got her dog into the act.

Speaking of daily life, I have sometimes wondered how you got all of that furniture up to the 3rd or 4th floor of a building with only narrow stairways. Well, you hire a mover with an external elevator.

So as is my habit I wander the streets, have a cafe at a bar in one of the magnificent piazzas and take random photos. I now also go to the information office and they shower me with information. Now I ask about a place to eat where “si mangia bene e paghi poco” (one eat’s well and pays little). I also say “if I were your cousin that had come from America to visit where would you advise me to go?”. That seems to work well and I had a great meal in Ascoli Piceno. I go for the regional specialties and am almost never disappointed.

 

After lunch I waddled out and walked for around for another half hour or so. It’s really tempting to eat too much. The food is great and the prices reasonable. Yes, I could have skipped the ravioli and had only the fritto misto – which is a real regional specialty. But then I would have missed terrific ravioli. Sigh. I guess I just need to keep walking a lot.

Speaking of food – and I always seem to speaking of food, that night I had yet another terrific meal in the nearby town of Acquaviva Picena nearby. Meg recommended it and again I couldn’t resist both the strozzapretti (a handmade pasta typical of the area) with truffle sauce followed by rabbit with a contorno (side dish) of artichokes plus of course wine, water, coffee and a grappa. You can see a pattern here.

At the end of dinner I drove back in fog so thick you could almost swim in it. Maximum speed of about 20 miles per hour and didn’t feel good about even that. Yet another interesting experience.

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