The Romanesque churches in Ascoli Piceno

The church of St Gregory the Great - you can see the columns from the original Roman temple.
The church of St Gregory the Great - you can see the columns from the original Roman temple.

About a month ago I wrote about the guided tour of the Romanesque churches in Ascoli Piceno which aren't normally open to the public. Well, yesterday I went on the tour with my cousin. It was fascinating! Daniela, our guide, who works for the Diocese of Ascoli, was friendly, very informative and willing to answer our many questions.


We saw the Battistero, the Oratorium of Saint Eustace in the Church of San Vittore; Saint Gregory the Great - gorgeous church built, like many churches in Italy, on the site of a Roman temple, in honour of Pope Gregory I who was a great philosopher and writer; Saint Maria Inter Vineas - St Mary's in the Vines; Saint Giacomo (James, brother of John the Evangelist) - which wasn't so nice possibly due to changes made in the 16th century to the original medieval building - plus another church whose name I can't remember!


We learnt about poor Saint Eustace, a Roman official called Placidus, who converted to Christianity whilst out hunting in Tivoli. He saw a deer with a vision of Christ between its horns and Christ asked him why he was persecuting Him.  He changed his name to Eustace and then had a pretty awful life culminating in being burnt to death inside a bronze bull together with his wife and two sons, having refused to make a pagan sacrifice. When the Christians opened the door to get the bodies out, Saint Eustace wasn't burnt at all but simply looked as if he was asleep....


We saw some very interesting frescoes including those in Saint Gregory's where there were remanants of frescoes from about 1290 laid over frescoes from 1250.


A tour well worth doing.


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