The Forte Malatesta is located on the banks of the Castellano River in Ascoli Piceno, near an ancient Roman bridge known as Ponte di Cecco. Today the fortress is the seat of the Museum of the Early Middle Ages.
Forte Malatesta Ascoli Piceno
Address Museo dell’Alto Medioevo: Via delle Terme – 63100 Ascoli Piceno. Phone: +39 0736 257890. Opening times: From 10:00 till 13:99 and from 15:00 till 19:00; Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 till 19:00. Closed: Mondays. Ticket price: 6 Euros; children and seniors, 4 Euros.
History and description
Already in Roman times, the site occupied by the Forte Malatesta, had been chosen to construct a fortress. This had been deemed necessary in order to protect the bridge and thus the eastern entrance to the city.
Over the centuries, this stronghold was destroyed and rebuilt several times. In particular, the Lombards had completely demolished it.
In 1349, during the war against neighboring Fermo, it was rebuilt and fortified by Galeotto Malatesta, an Ascolano army commander. At the time, the name was Fortezza Minore (“Smaller Fortress”) or Rocchetta (“Little Fortress”), to distinguish it from the Fortezza Pia, also built by Malatesta.
After it was again razed to the ground, a church was built on the site in the early 16th century. Some ruins of this Santa Maria del Lago Church can still be seen.
In 1543, Antonio da San Gallo il Giovane constructed a new, star-shaped, fortress by order of Pope Paul III Farnese.
Museum of the Early Middle Ages
From 1828 to 1978 it was used as a prison and today it houses a museum, exhibiting finds from the early medieval necropolis of Casteltrosino.