Dwight Peck's personal website

A return to Italy after too long away

November 2022

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

We're not based in Europe anymore, and we've struggled through the covid-19 lockdowns like everyone else, so we haven't set foot in Italy since February 2019. Now we're making up for lost time with mad sightseeing, but missing the cats even more sorely as the days fly by.

Ascoli Piceno, Day 2: A circuitous route to the Pinacoteca Civica

The rain's stopped, 18 November 2022, we're out the front door of the Hotel Guiderocchi, and we're off -- not that way . . .

. . . the other way, out the Via Cesare Battisti and along the Via del Trivio past the back end of the Palazzo dei Capitani del Popolo.

That's the façade of the Chiesa di San Francesco across the Corso Giuseppe Mazzini, but . . .

. . . we're sloping off through the Piazza del Popolo as the worthy commerçants are setting up for tomorrow's third-weekend-of-month Saturday Antiques Market.

Here's a look back at the rear end of the San Franesco church, dome, and belltower, with its scaffolded flanks.

Decorative fortifications along the roofline -- the 'swallowtail' version of the merlons were identified with the Ghibelline or pro-emperor faction, the squared-off merlons with the Guelph or pro-papal party, though of course those distinctions were fluid and time-bound.

The Corso Mazzini exiting the Piazza, with the Loggia dei Mercanti across the road

Kristin and the Loggia dei Mercanti

A view from inside the Loggia

Across the Via del Trivio, still on the Mazzini, the fine arcade houses the Annabella Boutique, the Odd Lot di Vincenzo Caponi, DettoSante Calzature, and the Odd Lot Ascoli Piceno clothing stores, leading to the Ciao Ciao Abbigliamento and United Colors of Benetton. Across from the Pizzeria Cip & Ciop.

The front door of the San Francesco church

The tower (with swallowtail merlons) on the corner of Trivio and Mazzini.

The Chiesa di San Francesco, and . . .

. . . the Chiostro Maggiore di San Francesco alongside the church

The San Francesco belltower

A Friday veggie market

The cloister's well and, on the far side, our favorite restaurant so far

That's it, the . . .

Back to the Piazza del Popolo, and then . . .

. . . up to the Piazza Roma, with its street market already in progress

The statue is a monument to the 'caduti' or fallen in the wars.

Facing onto the Piazza Roma, that's the Church of S. Maria della Carità, a bit of a yawner, to be honest.

The Ascolani really take their Saint Emidio seriously.

'Sivis pacem para bellum' -- if you want peace, prepare for war. Well, okay . . . sounds good.

We're headed for the Piazza Arringa, or Piazza dell'Arengo, looking for . . .

. . . past the seahorse fountain, said to be in the Palazzo Comunale . . .

. . . the Pinacoteca -- we want to see some paintings!

There it is.

Inexpensive tickets, and up we go to the galleries on the piano nobile, the floor with the fancy rooms. We spent a fair amount of time up there, so we've offloaded some photos of the good stuff onto the next page.

And now, back down to ground level, we continue our perambulations.

With a quick look here, out the back of the Palazzo Comunale, and then . . .

. . . back to the now drizzly piazza. The white building past the scaffolding is the Museo Archeologico Statale di Palazzo Panichi (we never did find an opportunity to get in there).

Having had a reasonably good look into the very nice cathedral yesterday, we're headed now for the Baptistry on the left.

This is a 12th century Romanesque baptistry built over a Roman temple, a four-sided base structure and octagonal upper story with blind arches.

It's temporarily unguarded; we'll slip in unannounced. This is formally known, by the way, as Il battistero di San Giovanni di Ascoli Piceno.

The central dunking basin dating from the 5th or 6th century, directly below the centre of the cupola

There's also a 14th century baptismal font over in the corner there.

That looks like somebody's throne. The painting above is the 'Baptism of Christ', attributed to a certain Venceslao Corrigioli di Reggio, who was evidently working for the local bishop Cardinal Bernerio in the late 16th century.

A 15th century fresco attributed to Pietro Alemanno, whose other stuff we've just been noticing in the Pinacoteca.

School groups with their brollies

Back to the Piazza del Popolo

On the left is the Caffè Meletti, a well-known elegant sort of meeting place opened in 1907 in what was formerly the postal and telegraph HQ.

No takers for the outdoor tables today

We're shortcutting into the back entrance of the Hotel Guiderocchi.

And back up to our room

A brief photographic interlude: We were awaiting the arrival of our friends Cathy and Oscar, and then they arrived, and we've been putting in an improving afternoon of sightseeing, but lamentably the 68 photographs from the afternoon's adventures have gone missing, unceremoniously, and irredeemably, so we shall now leap forward to dinnertime and the planning of our next day's ventures.

This is the Vinattiere Osteria con Cucina, just a few doors down from our hotel.

Don't look round -- the butterfly gives him away!

This is a beautiful place, and it specializes in homegrown local sorts of ingredients, very friendly people.

Dinner is capped off by some Da Capo amaro . . .

. . . better than which there is none.

Next up: The Pinacoteca Civica and then Ascoli Piceno's neighbor villages.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 9 February 2023.

Back in Italy
Nov. 2022

Ascoli Piceno