The Cathedral of Ascoli Piceno is dedicated to Sant’Emidio, patron saint of the city. It is impossible to know what the church used to look like when it was constructed, since it has known multiple reconstructions and renovations in the course of the centuries.
Cathedral of Sant’Emidio Ascoli Piceno
The address of the Duomo di Ascoli Piceno is Piazza Arringo, 10 – Ascoli Piceno (tel. +39 0736259901). Opening hours: 08.00 to 12.00 and 16.00 to 20.00. Entrance fee: Free.
History and description
The Sant’Emidio Cathedral is located on the site in Roman times there used to be a public building. The church already existed in early Christian times, but was completely reconstructed during the 11th and 12th centuries.
The dome, the crypt and the two towers at the front date from this time.
From 1482 onwards, the basilica underwent several alterations. The two lateral naves and the central apse were added in that year and between 1529 and 1539 the two towers were incorporated into a new, more protruding facade. The architect Cola d’Amatrice based his design on that of the Roman triumphal arches.
As a result of the multiple restorations, the structure is not very homogeneous. The present appearance of the Cathedral was obtained in the 16th century, when the two lateral naves were added to the already existing central one. At that time the apse was also enlarged.
The naves are separated by four large Corinthian columns.
The balustrade above the main entrance was added in the 16th century.
The side entrance is called Porta della Musa and dates from the late Renaissance. The name of the door is due to a Latin inscription in the transept, referring to a group of 11th century poets, who claimed that the Cathedral was built on the ruins of a temple dedicated to the Muse.
What to see
The crypt under the church was created when the remains of Saint Emidio were moved.
Sant’Egidio himself is buried in the 4th century Roman sarcophagus used as an altar. The marble sculpture group behind the sarcophagus is by Lazzaro Giosafatti (1728-1730).
Inside the cathedral is a silver statue of Sant’Emidio created by local artist Pietro Vanini.
The neo-classical Santissimo Saramento Chapel was built in 1838. The polyptych is by Crivelli (1473). The silver antependium dates from the 15th century.
Cesare Mariani painted the frescoes on the dome and vaults of the nave (1884-1894).
The wooden choir in the apse dates from the 15th century.
Giuseppe Sacconi designed the ciborium (late 19th century).
Saint Emidio of Ascoli
Saint Emidio was a bishop of Ascoli, who was martyred when he not only refused to marry the daughter of the Roman prefect of Ascoli Piceno, Polimio, but even managed to convert her to Christianity and baptize her.