One passes on from the Mediterranean taste of Grottammare to the hill landscape and rural flavours, characteristic towns, the historical and cultural wealth of inland Piceno. They are green tracks winding through sweet ridges and valleys, in a colourful alternation of olive groves and vineyards, fruit trees, and sunflower, grain and sweet corn fields.
Monteprandone is the first nearest destination along the coast south towards S. Benedetto del Tronto and only five kilometres inside the hinterland. The village has much to do with the life of S. Giacomo della Marca, who was born there in 1393. St James bequeaths his birthplace the convent of S. Maria delle Grazie outside the walls and a precious collection of illuminated codes, now kept at the Museum of Codices at the Municipal Library, which houses what is left of his famous library which he used to look after personally.
Yet again some 6 kilometres away from S. Benedetto stands Acquaviva Picena and its mediaeval fortress, of the late 3 rd -early 4 th centuries. A colossal 22-metre high keep (or tower) features prominently in the locality. Moving further inwards, one discovers the jewel historical centre of Offida. The main square, with the loggias of the Municipal Palace, hosting the Golden Serpent Theatre (Teatro del Serpente Aureo), is one of the most beautiful images of Piceno. Another symbol of Offida is the church of S. Maria della Rocca , with its mysterious outlay of a most ancient Romanic-Gothic temple.
Straight on from Grottammare one can move on towards Ripatransone, the belvedere of Piceno, some 500 metres above sea level. The view widens from the sea to the Ascension Mountain , the Sibillini mountains and the Gran Sasso. Art and history form part of the life of this centre, rich in museums ( Archeological Civic Museum , Ethnographic Museum , Italian Risorgimento (Unification) Museum, Library, Historical Archives, Picture Gallery), churches, Renaissance and Baroque buildings.
From Grottammare a track could also be followed taking, along the Valle del Tesino, to the hinterland until it passes by the Ascension mountain, touching countries having simple and authentic features, such as Cossignano, Montalto delle Marche and Montedinove.
Moving on from Grottammare to the north along the coast, and thus straying inland, one discovers the picturesque hamlets of the Fermano. For first, along the coastline at the level of Marina Palmense, one finds Torre di Palme. Walking around the ancient hamlet which has been perfectly preserved, one can among other things purchase refined wrought iron articles. Moving further on to the north along the coast and then in the hinterland, immediately behind the built-up area of Pedaso, across Valle dell’Aso, one arrives at Moresco, a tiny historical hamlet characterised by a unique three-sided square.
Still in Fermano, it is a must for archaeology lovers to break their journey at Ortezzano, Monterinaldo and Falerone, where they can see more than one necropolis of Picene (9 th -4 th cent. B.C.) and the Roman temples.
For a somewhat longer trip, taking to the mountain close by, one should not miss seeing the hamlets of Amandola, Montefortino, Montemonaco, Montegallo and Arquata del Tronto. These are the pearls of the Monti Sibillini Park . Also to be seen are forests, caves, waterfalls, the magic and the legend of the Hell’s Gorge (Gola dell’Infernaccio) and of Pilate’s Lake (Lago di Pilato).
Piceno is besides made up of big art cities. Ascoli Piceno and Fermo are keepers of the highest cultural and artistic tradition within the territory. Their famous Piazza del Popolo (People’s Square) are a summary of architectural elegance which these two cities can offer.