The little gem!…

HISTORY of Ancarano

Ancarano is a little town of 1897 inhabitants on 293 m. above sea level. It’s located on the border between Marche and Abruzzo in the centre of Italy very close to the Adriatic sea. Here life still follows the slow circadian movements of the sun and the moon.

Its panoramic position that overlooks the river Tronto Valley and the river Vibrata Valley gave this place a strategic position for centuries. Disputed and fought for years, despite the little dimensions Ancarano can claim a millennial history.

The town name comes from the goddess Ancaria, godhead venerated by the Piceni as protector. In fact, Ancarano was founded in pre-Romanic times around a temple built in honour of Ancaria.

Archaeologists are certain of this theory due to the many findings near the area. The temple nowadays has gone lost but there are many speculations that the basement remains could be found at the site of the ancient parish church of Ancarano. The old parish church has gone lost due to the many earthquakes that took place during the years but the bell tower still stands.

In 542 A.C. Ancarano fell to Alarico, the first king of the Visigoth and in 793 A.C. conquered and destroyed by Pipino “Il Breve” son of Carlo Magno.

8 years after Carlo Magno wanted its reconstruction.

Ancarano was then donated by Carlo Magno to the Ascoli’s bishops but on this fact, many historians don’t agree to state that the official papers could have been counterfeit.

In 1257 A.C. Cecco d’Ascoli was born in Ancarano, he was a famous encyclopedist, physicist and poet who was then burned alive during the holy inquisition in 1327 A.C.

In 1400 A.C. Ancarano was involved in a dispute amongst Giosia Acquaviva Duke of Atri and Francesco Sforza, constable of Marche. The town underwent various raids and was damaged and rebuilt several times.

In 1490 A.C. the artist Silvestro dell’ Aquila (Silvestro Ariscola) made on commission for Ancarano the wooden statue of Madonna della Pace, a masterpiece depicting the Virgin Mary with the baby nowadays kept at the homonymous church.

In 1527 A.C. unfortunately the plague reached the town killing more than half of the population. Subsequently, right above a cemetery used to bury the plague victims, the San Rocco church was built.

(San Rocco's Church)

In 1557 A.C. Ancarano fell under the Spanish domination of the Duke of Alba.

In 1741 Giuseppe Nicola Luigi Flajani was born in Ancarano. He was a  distinguished anatomist, famous for the important finding on the Flaiani-Basedow-Graves disease. In his honour the most important road of the historic city centre is named after him.

In 1808 the Spanish lost control of Ancarano and it became part of the Napoleonic reign.

In 1838 the Reign of Napoli army began to carry out raids in the town to induce Pope Gregory XVI to give the outpost to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. However, the handover will only happen in 1840 with many locals protesting and unwillingly to submit to the new King and Kingdom linked by centuries of papal membership.

On October the 21st 1860 Ancarano became part of the Kingdom of Italy.

In 2016 the town was heavily damaged by a series of earthquakes but the reconstruction has already begun and we are sure that it’ll come back stronger and more beautiful than before. After all, Ancarano still has loads more to tell!!!

Ancarano view with the Sleeping Giant (Mount Ascenzione) on the background.

What to see

Porta da Monte

Located on the west part of the borgo, this is the main entrance by car. The stunning Porta overlooks the Sibillini Mountains.

Built-in brick it is still possible to see the holes of the drawbridge chains and corbels. The Porta has been often modified for centuries and got its present state in 1826.

Porta da Mare

Located in the east part of the town, it was built in brick. It still keeps its original travertine stone arch. Above the arch is located a coat of arms of Roverella Bishop (1518-52) and the stone below is in memory of the bishop Sigismondo Donati (1605-42).


In front of Porta da Monte, you can find the “Belvedere”, a place of unique beauty. During the clear and sunny days or during the summer nights it is possible to view and contemplate the stunning and breath-taking panorama. In the background is the stateliness of the Sibillini Mountains with the Sleeping Giant (Ascensione Mountain) looking at each other and right below the city of Ascoli Piceno and river Tronto.

Porta Nuova

Porta Nuova appeared in 1904 in a passage built inside a private house. The reason for this new Porta was due to the need to bring potable water to the town residents inside the ancient walls.

In 1905 the passage became of public use so the inhabitants started to use it as a shortcut to reach the town centre.

In 1922 the wide staircase was built, it is still present and it was renovated in 2005.

Madonna della Carita’ Church

Built-in the homonymous neighbourhood it has hosted communities of friars and nuns during the years.

It was built around the XVIII century on the same spot as a previous church in honour of San Simplicio. It was built completely in brick with a gabled roof.

It has been recently renovated.

Misericordia Church

Built for the will of the bishop Donati Principe d’Ascoli in 1628 was constructed entirely in brick with a central octagonal plan by the work of the architect Giovanni Branca.

Inside there are various paintings of the sixteenth century.

The ancaranesi are very proud of this rare church and they consider it the symbol of the town.

San Rocco’s Church

Built-in the 16th century after the plague epidemic that struck the town. It rises above a cemetery used for the burial of plague victims.

Initially, the church of San Rocco was used as a place for the burial of plague victims, in exceptional cases also for those who perished a violent death.

The church is dedicated to San Rocco, protector against the plague and other plagues, co-patron of the town together with San Simplicio.

Torre Campanaria

The bell tower is what remains today of the ancient 12th-century church dedicated to S. Maria. The church was renovated and rebuilt in 1703 after a telluric event but unfortunately, subsequent earthquakes did not spare the reconstruction.

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