Enjoyable walks don’t necessarily have to happen in the wilderness. Some time ago we spent a weekend in Ascoli Piceno, where we certainly didn’t lack walking ideas. Following the urban hiking route on a brochure, we walked in and around the town, visiting the many churches and forts and reading the mysterious inscriptions above the doors. On the leaflet there are several routes which take approximately 3,5-4 hours, to which we added a few breaks for tasting the typical Ascoli-style stuffed olives. The city, underrated in comparison with major artistic towns of central Italy, is actually a real pearl of white travertine. Pity that so many graffiti disfigure its buildings. The paving of its squares is so smooth that it is reflective, creating an interesting effect also from a photographic point of view. On the second day we went up the trail that goes from the cemetery of Piagge to the Hermitage of San Marco in about 15 minutes. The cloister seems to be engraved in the cliff of the mountain that overlooks the city of Ascoli, blending in with the rocks in such a way that it’s almost invisible at a quick glance.
We walked along the exposed edge for an awesome view of the town, the odd shape of Mount Ascensione and the Sibillini range. The building is abandoned and its upper floor is actually a cave with a stone facade in the front. The place is so unique and inspiring that a photography workshop was going on inside it while we were there.
We took a little diversion and stopped by Mount Vettore on the way back. The peak was still covered with snow in spite of the spring sun. We spent an hour there sitting at an outside table at the Refuge in Forca di Presta to breathe in the pure air of a perfect day.