Ascoli Piceno - Cathedral of Saint Emidius


On one side of central Piazza Arringo is the "Cathedral of Saint Emidius".

The cathedral underwent many adaptations between the eighth and sixteenth centuries. The first building actually dates back to the fourth or fifth century, according to some on the site of the Roman forum or on an building existing in Roman times, perhaps dedicated to Hercules or to the Muses.

Some archaeological finds unearthed between 1882 and 1883 show that the cathedral was built using the remains of the civil basilica of the Roman Forum, still visible in the older parts of the building as the transept, the part of the apses and the dome from the end of the eighth or early ninth century.

The facade, built between 1529 and 1539 , was designed by Cola dell'Amatrice, has only one architectural style and a central main entrance to the cathedral.

Two Romanesque travertine towers rise at the edge of the facade while the Renaissance Door of the Muse is situated at the side; it’s named from an epigraph on its outside wall.

In the interior there are extraordinary works of art; it’s in the shape of a Latin cross and in Romanesque- Gothic style; it’s divided into a nave and two aisles and in the crypt below St. Emidio’s corpse is kept. In the Sacrament Chapel, above the altar  where a valuable sixteenth-century tabernacle in gilded wood and a painting of uncertain origin are placed, there’s the splendid polyptych by Carlo Crivelli, one of the few works of art that weren’t pillaged by Napoleon’s troops and that weren’t sold during the nineteenth-century. 

It’s one of the very few works of art by the Venetian master which has preserved intact all of its parts, including the complex frame. Crivelli masterfully represents the Virgin with saints and apostles. The Virgin sits on a throne decorated with precious marble and with the characteristic fruit festoon having rich symbolic meanings. With great virtuosity he also paints the cope and the crosier of Saint Emidius, the patron saint of Ascoli Piceno to whom the cathedral is also dedicated.

The cathedral will be opened again at Easter 2017 and in the following week. Then it will be probably open every day.


The Attractions of Ascoli Piceno

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Itineraries to visit Ascoli Piceno