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Surrounding Villa Bussola
Villa Bussola is situated only a few minutes away from the little village of Monsampolo del Tronto, a few minutes to the other side lies Acquaviva Picena. The sea, the palm beaches and the beach resort San Benedetto del Tronto are reachable within 10 minutes. The fabulous city Ascoli Piceno is only 20 minutes away.
The villages and towns in our region
Monsampolo del Tronto
- 1,5 km from Villa Bussola
- 10km from the sea (San Benedetto del Tronto)
- 180m above sea level
The village, with his old city walls, on top of the hill, offers from the park behind the church, a magnificent view on the Sibylline Mountains and the Apennines.
In the village centre you will find a bar, a grocery, a drugstore, a butcher and a post office. Every Monday it’s market day. In Monsampolo you can still find the traditional furniture makers and restorers. They make magnificent furniture using old techniques. The culinary speciality of Monsampolo is the fig salami, a sweet and healthy treat that is traditionally prepared in October.
The old church of Maria Santissima Assunta dates back to the 16th century. Inside you will find some famous paintings, first of all “la Deposizione” van A.Vitali and secondly two painting made by P.Gaia (l’Ultima Cena e La Circoncisione).
The former monastery of S. Francesco, with its beautiful columns and a waterhole in the centre made from Travertine, a type of stone used frequently in this part of Le Marche.
At the local town hall a large amount of books from the 16th and 17th century have been preserved, they where part of the Biblioteca Tomistica di Sant’Alessio.
Apart from this, Monsampolo becomes more and more known for its archaeological findings, in particular the mummies displayed in the museum in the ancient crypt of the church Maria Santissima Assunta.
January 6th: La Befana
(on Epiphany’s day) an old woman on a broomstick gives gifts to good children and (sweet) charcoal to the naughty children!
January 16th: Sant’Antonio
(the saint who distributes bread to the poor) is celebrated here by a large fire on the square and eating slices of bread with oil.
March / April: Easter
10 days before Easter there is a procession with the statue of the Virgin Mary whichis carried by the village people. The singing choir is impressive.
On Easter Sunday there is a large and impressive procession through the village with the image of Christ, followed by the Virgin Mary, the villagers, the pastor and the church choir.
July: the summer festival and the summer carnival
La Sagra degli gnocchi:
This festival is crowned by the running track which comes on the way to Villa Bussola and by the culinary specialty, gnocchi (potato dumpling with a tasty sauce) and many other delicious dishes.
The long dining tables in the old historical center provide a very special atmosphere and pleasant appearances for the typically Italian feeling!
Il carnevale estivo:
summer carnival afternoon creates a cozy atmosphere!
The festival week will end with an impressive firework show.
The village summer party in Monsampolo, eating and having fun all together
The gastronomic specialties of Monsampolo
August: La Contesa della Semola.
A week long village festival with delicious cuisine and many events, culminating in the parade with beautiful medieval clothes and old games.
The village gets transformed into a suggestive Middle Age atmosphere:
The villagers dress up proudly and play the characters who lived in the town centuries ago.
Also this week of festivities will end with a great firework show!
Live Christmas Village. The old medieval town center will be transformed into an attractive and impressive ambience: the ancient craftsmen (which are personalized by the current villagers) are shown in the many vaulted cellars, the living nativity scene that is pictured with music and dancing, a sweet gift for all visitors and the opportunity to visit the exhibition of the special Christmas stalls of local artist and a visit to the museum where the famous mummies lie. A Christmas bazaar and the visit of Santa Claus will complete the Christmas spirit!
- 5 km from Villa Bussola
- 8km from the sea (San Benedetto del Tronto)
- 260m above sea level
Monteprandone is a beautiful restored village on top of a hill that offers impressive views over the sea and mountains.
In the historical center, surrounded by tall pine trees, the ancient city walls and beautiful narrow streets are preserved.
The hills of Monteprandone are rich in vineyards which produce the fine wines Doc Rosso Piceno Superiore and Bianco Falerio.
In Monteprandone you can try in several restaurants the fantastic cuisine of this region.
- 5 km from Villa Bussola
- 5km from sea (San Benedetto del Tronto)
- 360m above sea level
The Castle of Acquaviva Picena
Acquaviva Picena is situated between Villa Bussola and San Benedetto del Tronto on top of a hill and not far from the sea. The mediaeval Fortress and a large portion of the city walls are still intact. The historical centre with its antique houses, the fortress, the narrow steep streets are definitely worth visiting.
The local craftsmen process reed and rush with the typical “pagliarole” following an ancient method.
Acquaviva Picena is well known for its art, history and culture, in the centre you will also find a tourist office.
The church of San Rocco in the old centre, (Building started in the 14th century and was finished in the 15th century by Baccio Pontelli) is now a arsenal museum. In La Cappellina (little chapel) build by San Michele Arcangelo you will find a sculpture in “terracotta policroma” made by San Michele, dating back to the 18th century.
May: Festa di Santa Rita.
July: Acquaviva nei fumetti (national gathering regarding comical theatre and comics books)
August: Sponsalia (historical commemoration of the marriage between Forasteria, daughter of duke Rinaldo of Acquaviva and Brunoforte, lord of Sarnano, that took place in 1230
5 December: celebration of San Nicolò
For more information visit: http://www.comuneacquavivapicena.it/
- 5 km fromVilla Bussola
- 15 km from sea (San Benedetto del Tronto)
- 175 m above sea level
Spinetoli, with its beautiful old town dating from the thirteenth century, is situated on a pleasant hill near the Adriatic coast. The legend says that this village was built in the year 484. Old traditions suggest that this village in Roman times was a temple that was dedicated to “the goddess Tellure” and also served as a college for priests.
In recent decades, the old village further developed towards the valley (Valle del Tronto), along the main road (the old Via Salaria, from San Benedetto del Tronto to Ascoli Piceno and futher to Rome), this part of the village called Pagliare del Tronto is the modern and industrialized part of this community.
- 20 km from Villa Bussola
- 20 km from the sea (Grottammare)
- 290 m above sea level
Offida is one of the little gems of southern Le Marche. The old town stands on a rock outcrop, separated from the modern part. This place has an old-fashioned look and is very nice to visit on Thursday morning when the market is evolving.
Handmade lace – Merletto a tombolo – is a specialty.
Making lace is one of Offida’s most common crafts. The bobbin lace-income women are still to be seen, sitting in the doorways of the old village streets.
- 35 km from Villa Bussola
- 10km from the sea (Grottammare)
- 490m above sea level
High on the ridge above the northern slopes of the beautiful valley of the Tesino river, you will find the town of Ripatransone. The ancient defensive walls show the age and the defense function. The restoration of this is limited to where needed, making it authentic and almost the same as the past centuries.
- 40 km from Villa Bussola
- 10km from the sea (Porto San Giorgio)
- 750m above sea level
One of the most attractive towns in the hills of southern Le Marche Fermo. The fort that once dominated the city was destroyed in 1445 during a popular uprising against the ruling Sforza family. It is now the place where city parks offer stunning views over the vastness of Le Marche.
The fortress which once topped the town was destroyed in 1445 in a popular rebellion against the ruling Sforza family and is now the site of municipal gardens which afford fine views over the marchigiano countryside (and a spacious car park). The nearby 13thC Romanesque-Gothic cathedral (below), with its richly decorated interior and fine rose window, now stands in splendid isolation. For British visitors, perhaps the most interesting of the cathedral’s treasures is the chasuble of St Thomas a’ Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury (1118-1170), which is on display in the sacristy.
The main town stands on the level just below the cathedral. Built around the magnificent large square, the Piazza del Popolo, are the main municipal buildings. Sansovino’s grand statue (1590) of the Bishop of Fermo who was to become Pope Sixtus V tops the main entrance of the Palazzo Comunale which contains the town’s art collection, in which the most notable work is an early Rubens painting of the Nativity (1608). During the summer period the piazza plays host to Fermo’s music festival featuring some of the world’s finest performers, as well as outdoor markets. Also worthy of note are the underground piscine romane (roman pools) which comprise thirty magnificently preserved underground chambers built between 41 & 60 BC to conserve and purify the town’s water supply, and regarded as the finest example of their kind in Italy.
In the summer there are weekly antiques and craft markets.
In August medieval tournaments take place.
In the summer, at square Piazza del Popolo, there is a music festival with some of the world’s best musicians.
- 15 km from Villa Bussola
- 25km from the sea (San Benedetto del Tronto)
Ascoli the evening before Carnival
The beguiling town of Ascoli Piceno is the southern Marche’s major centre and, as its tourist brochure says, it is a place you can see in a day yet never forget. Along with its breathtaking main square, it has other outstanding sights that manage to leave their mark on even the most blasé of tourists.
Although it is a fairly large town with a population of some 60,000 people, the historic centre can easily be seen on foot.
Piazza del Popolo in Ascoli Piceno
Start at the Piazza del Popolo, the traffic-free, travertine-paved main square. This beautifully proportioned outdoor meeting place must be one of the most elegant provincial squares in all Italy. To one side of the square stands the Palazzo del Popolo, a splendid 13thC building guarded over by a monumental statue of Pope Paul III. Look inside to see the arcaded Renaissance courtyard.
Closing off one end of the piazza is the great Gothic church of San Francesco, a sober but pleasing building both inside and out.
The other main square, Piazza Arringo, is almost as impressive as its big sister and is flanked by the Duomo, or cathedral, and the town hall, or palazzo Comunale. Inside here you will find the Pinacoteca Civica, Ascoli’s art gallery, a carpet-bag collection of minor works by major artists and major works by minor artists. Best of all is the 13thC cope (piviale) of Pope Nicholas IV, a dazzling piece of embroidery work made in England.
Inside the Duomo look out for the colourful polyptch with the Madonna and Saints by Carlo Crivelli.
Wander round the old quarter of the town that stretches from the banks of the Tronto river to the city’s main street, Corso Mazzini – best streets are via Soderini and via di Solestà.
La Quintana, Ascoli’s jousting tournament, is one of the most authentic and exciting of these Medieval shows in the Marche and takes place in the main square on the first Sunday of August. The high point of the games is when riders from the city’s six districts tilt with lances for the target.
The day also includes a massive procession with around 1,400 town’s people dressed in 15thC costume and plenty of side-shows and open-air eating places. Maybe not quite as famous as the Palio at Siena but certainly worth seeing.
- 10 km from Villa Bussola
- 10km from the sea(Martinsicuro)
- 180m above sea level
The village Colonnella dating back to 5000 AD, is 8km from the sea on top of a high hill near the river Tronto (this river is the physical border between the regions Marche and Abruzzo). Colonnella belongs to the town of Teramo in the Abruzzo region.
The picturesque town of Colonnella is reached by a long, distinctive monumental exterior staircase leading to the Clock Tower (Torre dell’Orologio – built in the XIV century).
The village is formed by small alleys, medieval palaces and impressive squares where you can see a beautiful kilometer long view in three different directions (towards the Tronto valley in Le Marche, towards the Abruzzo hills and -from the hihgst square near the water tower-towards the coast).
Between the alleys up on top of the hill is a very good restaurant / osteria, with a phenomenal view over the Adriatic Coast and the Tronto valley.
San Michele Arcangelo is the patron saint of Colonnella. The annual celebration is on May 8th.
La Fortezza di Civitella del Tronto
- 30 km from Villa Bussola
- 30km from the sea (San Benedetto del Tronto)
- 590m above sea level
The Fortress of Civitella del Tronto, a picturesque village just over the border in the Abruzzo region, is one of the most impressive examples of military architecture of Italy. The fort is situated at 500 meters altitude on a rocky ridge and covers more than 25,000 square meters.
The fort was built between 1564 and 1576 during the Spanish rule and it is the largest fort built by the Bourbon family in Europe. It was used for centuries as the most northern fortification of the former Neapolitan kingdom. The Bourbons (Borboni in Italian) were kings of Naples, which the Abruzzo region belonged to till the unification of Italy.
Civitella del Tronto was on the northern border of the kingdom, which was formed by the river Tronto. Because of its strategic location, on top of a high rocky outcrop, one could control the border from the fortress. In the course of time it has been changed several times, but the outer walls were not changed.
The fort was destroyed several times in its history during fierce battles, but now, thanks to a great thirteen years long restoration, which began in 1985, it is open to the public.
Even today, from the castle you have a fantastic view: on one side over the hills of the Molise region, the Abruzzo Apennines and the hills of the Marche, and on the other side over the Adriatic Coast from Monte Conero in Ancona to Pescara (200km!).
La Via Salaria
- 2 km from Villa Bussola
- from San Benedetto del Tronto through Ascoli Piceno to Rome
Via Salaria (the red road on the map) , or “Road of Salt “, is a famous road from Roman times. It runs from Rome to the Adriatic Sea.
The Via Salaria probably dates back to before Roman times . The Sabines would have used it to come to extract salt, travelling from the hills of Sabina to the salt marshes on the coast at Ostia road.
The location of Rome on this route, strategically located in the middle with a de facto monopoly on the salt , is used by some historians as a reason for the emergence of Rome and its growth.
The route of the Via Salaria started in Rome from the Porta Salaria in the Aurelian Wall. From that point the road ran through Reate and the valley of the Velino, crossed the Apennines, came through the Tronto valley to Asculum (Ascoli Piceno). From Asculum the road ran in a more or less straight line to the Adriatic coast, at Castrum Truentinum at the Tronto estuary. In the Apennines there are still pieces of the old road. The Romans needed the salt of the Adriatic Sea to pay the many soldiers, who were in fact paid in salt. This is where the word Salary comes from (Sale – > Salaria – > Salary).
Beaches and beach resorts in our region
San Benedetto del Tronto
30 km from Ascoli Piceno, is one of the most famous resorts of Le Marche, famous for its beautiful promenade (8km) with shady palm trees and sandy beaches. The harbor is of national importance. San Benedetto del Tronto is surrounded by green hills on which many famous medieval villages lie.
San Benedetto del Tronto offers beach life with many sporting opportunities – from table tennis to “bocce” (jeu de boules), from athletics to swimming – nautical clubs, discos and restaurants.
In summer this is a very popular crowdy resort, but with 8km of wide sandy beach with palms trees actually growing in the sand there is plenty of space for everyone. And although it has a great deal of old-world elegance, it’s also a lively place with a fun nightlife that’s great if you’re younger.
The most pleasant stretch of beach – and the highest concentration of good hotels – runs from the centre of town southwards. The beach to the north of the large port area is less inviting although it offers many more stretches of free, public beach.
The older part of the town sits above the main resort, on the far side of Corso Mazzini, with its castle and narrow streets of brick houses.
As well as catching them, its inhabitants also taking the eating of fish seriously and there are plenty of moderately priced restaurants to satisfy their demanding tastes. This is one of the best places to try the Marche version of fish stew – brodetto – which must be made with 13 species of fish, no more, no less.
It is understandable that this place is called the “Palms Riviera”: the Riviera is proud of its 20 palm species, of which the most famous are the “Phoenix Canariensis”, the “Phoenix Sylvestris” wearing different color fruit, and “Eritrea Edulis” with its narrow leaves,”Chamaerops humilis” widespread and extraordinary adaptability,”Eritrea Armata” which is known by its brilliant shades of the leaves, the “Jubaea spectabilis” of which only one copy is in San Benedetto. It has a circumference of 4.74m around the foot and is mentioned in the Guinness Book as “the biggest palm tree in the world.”
– End of June & End of August: Antique Market
– The last Sunday of July is devoted to the festival “Madonna della Marina” (sea Madonna), with the sea in a historical procession of small floating boats.
– Notte Bianca, end of July = all night long the city center is partying: music performances everywhere, the shops stay open sell goods with dicount (and as the night progresses, the prices get lower and lower!)
- 10km from Villa Bussola
This smaller resort on the southern Marche “Palm Riviera” boasts 5km of fine sandy beaches. Its pretty traffic-free promenade is backed by some splendid examples of seaside Liberty architecture – grand villas that date back to the turn of the last century.
Along with the many palm trees that line the seafront, bright flower beds and well-kept lawns give the place great charm.
The Medieval historic borgo up above the main resort has fine old buildings and great views out to sea. The attractive church of Santa Lucia was built in 1597 in memory of the town’s most famous son, Pope Sixtus V. Above it all stands the ruins of the old Castle.
In high summer the town organises guided tours of the place’s highlights, including a visit to a gallery dedicated to the works of the 20thC sculptor, Pericle Fazzini who was born here.
This is one of the main holiday resorts of the southern Marche and, with over 7,000 palm trees on its wide promenade, it has a touch of tropical charm. But it’s also a thriving town that doubles as one of the most important fishing ports on Italy’s Adriatic coast.
Pedaso en Porto San Giorgio
- 30km & 40km from Villa Bussola
Porto San Giorgio: What was once the ancient port for the inland city of Fermo is now a pleasant seaside resort with a small working port.
It’s streets sandwiched between the main SS16 road and the sea offer plenty of chances for window shopping and in high summer the place has a lively air and plenty of concerts and the like to keep you entertained.
It owes some of its charm to a few fine examples of the Liberty Style architecture that was much in vogue in the smarter seaside resorts across Italy at the turn of the 19thC.
It’s 13thC fortress, built by Lorenzo Tiepolo, later Doge of Venice, stands close by the town’s central square, and has fine towers and high keep.
But the town’s main attractions are its fish and its attractive beaches. There are plenty of moderately priced restaurants serving brodetto (the Marche fish stew) to choose from.
To the south of Porto San Giorgio is Pedaso, the Marche’s “mussel beach” – these delectable molluscs are cultivated on concrete pillars that lie just off its short, gravely beach. Apart from being a popular place for skin-diving, it is also conveniently close to the motorway exit. In summer there is also a Sagra delle Cozze, or mussel feast.
Martinsicuro & Villa Rosa
- 12km & 17km from Villa Bussola
These resorts are located just across the border in the Abruzzo region. The Tronto river makes the phisical separation between the regions Marche and Abruzzo.
Martinsicuro is a modern, peaceful and pleasant seaside resort which offers its guests several kinds of services: a wide beach promenade, a bicycle path that leads to the nearby Alba Adriatica, good restaurants (especially the fish restaurants are highly recommended) modern sports facilities such as skating ramps, a sailing school, a coastal habitat wildlife and long beaches of fine sand, etc.
Villa Rosa is on the southern outskirts of Martinsicuro. In recent decades, Villa Rosa became a well-kept tourist resort, it is very popular for its beautiful wide sandy beach.
Other Cities and Villages to visit
Arcevia, known for its medieval castles and archaeological findings
Jesi, Beautiful village on top of a hill, centre of the verdichio region called castelli di Jesi .
Ancona is the capitol of Le Marche, well known for its white cliff “Monte Connero” that towers high above its beaches.
Loreto, famous for its ancient place of pilgrimage.
Macerata, well known for its open air opera performances.
Urbino, World-famous renaissance town .
Perugia, bustling city in the Umbria region.
Gubbio, the medieval town in the Umbria region.
Assisi, famous picturesque town in the Umbria region.
San Marino, a beautiful hilltop (tax) city state.
Rome, Reachable within three hours, definitely worth a visit.