Ascoli Piceno: Forte Malatesta

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A little outside the historic center of Ascoli Piceno stands the Forte Malatesta, which defended the Castellano river. Beside it is the Cecco Bridge, a Roman work completed during the last period of the Republic. The bridge was bombed by Germans during WWII, and was reconstructed using original materials in 1971. The bridge was one of Italy’s many “devil’s bridges”, constructed in a single night with the help of the devil, according to local legend.

forte malatesta pictureForte Malatesta, the Castle that guards the bridge over the Castellano river.

Design of the fort you see today, built over previous forts, carries the signature of Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane. The Renaissance fortified architecture makes it one of the more spectacular castles in Italy. Today it hosts the Museo dell’Alto Medioevo, the Museum of the High Medieval, covering the years from 476 to 1000, many of the artifacts coming from the Necropoli Longobarda di Castel Trosino. like those presented below:

burial treasures pictureJewelry artifacts in the museum of the Forte Malatesta

This is no low-tech castle museum installation.

ascoli piceno museum pictureHigh Tech Touch Screens in the Museum

The twelve-sided Santa Maria del Lago church is also unique. Built in the early 1500s, it was built over a fort reinforced by Galeotto Malatesta that was destroyed and rebuilt several times.

The interior of the church has some quite spectacular brickwork.

interior tower pictureTower Architecture

The courtyard in front of the church is also beautiful.

castle interior courtyardInterior Courtyard with Frescoes

A visit to the Fort is well worth the 4 euro they charge for the privilege. You can see it in a couple of hours or less, depending upon how long you take to visit the museum installations.

Ascoli Piceno is a town of medieval towers, Roman bridges and some of the prettiest piazzas in Italy. You should visit, especially if you like a good plate of expertly fried food.

Map

Rating:
Unique: One of Italy’s most interesting castle/forts.
Festival not to miss: La Quintana Medieval Jousting Festival
When to Go: Spring or Fall. Summers can be hot, but the Adriatic coast isn’t far away.
Region: Le Marche: Map
Days: 3 days for Ascoli Piceno, half day for Forte Malatesta
: Train station: southwestern terminus of the San Benedetto del Tronto–Ascoli Piceno railway.
Travel Guide: Ascoli Piceno Guide
Antico Borgo Piceno, From here you go out the door, turn right, pass over the Roman Bridge and through the city gates and you’re in the historic center. While you are at the hotel, you have a great view of the city and its towers.

Ascoli Piceno: Forte Malatesta originally appeared on JustGoItaly.com Jul 03, 2015, © James Martin.

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