Discovering Castel Trosino. This small medieval village of Ascoli Piceno is full of treasures. Here is what you need to know.
As you look at the view of Castel Trosino from the banks of the Castellano torrent, you'll have a first hint of a secret magical place hidden in central Italy.
Once you reach the town, you'll see how the small village, a part of Ascoli Piceno, also presents itself as a true gem beyond the ancient round arch that has marked the entrance to this Middle Ages enclave for centuries.
As one might expect from a castle, Castel Trosino soars high and fairytale-like on a rocky spur. All around, a dense, lush forest hides a thousand-year-old treasure and a wild, wild nature.
Discover what to see in Castel Trosino, a land of legends, waterfalls and knights.
Castel Trosino, a hidden gem in Ascoli Piceno
Leave your car outside the village and climb up an uphill road to reach the defensive walls that encircle Castel Trosino.
The historic centre is a tangle of alleys decorated with flowers and pretty stone houses delightfully framed by balconies (also flowering) and climbing plants.
The atmosphere is exquisitely antique, seasoned with silence and tranquillity that help recreate past moments in the here and now. Throw in a pinch of fantasy and imagination, and you'll almost feel like seeing King Manfred reconnoitring the village streets and a beautiful maiden observing him from a window.
According to a local legend, the sovereign had a fleeting love affair with the young inhabitant of what is now known as La Casa della Regina (Queen's House). Another version of the story tells that the dwelling was inhabited for a time by Manfred himself. That's why it's also known as Casa di Re Manfrì (King Manfredi's House).
Whatever you call it, the unavoidable fact remains: it's the most famous building in Castel Trosino. You recognise it by the three-light loggia framing the second floor and the wooden entrance door. The church of San Lorenzo Martire and a beautiful panoramic garden are a stone's throw away.
Castel Trosino is a small centre to tour in a few hours. In addition to visiting the village, it's worth exploring the surroundings (here you'll find lots of helpful information for planning your visit). There is plenty of historical and natural attractions that would be a shame to miss. Here are a few examples.
The waterfalls of Castel Trosino and...
...Lake Casette, an artificial body of water created by damming the Castellano torrent. A series of paths perfect for walks or mountain biking crisscross the surrounding park. A bicycle and pedestrian trail leads from the lake to the sulphurous water springs exploited since Roman times for their recognised therapeutic properties.
Another unmissable stop, the waterfalls of Castel Trosino are a must when visiting the medieval village. If you are travelling in summer, you'll find this destination particularly pleasant, as you can cool off by bathing in the clear (and icy) waters of the spring in an enchanting natural setting. The best way to reach the waterfalls is to walk from the village but notice that the route may not be well signposted.
Speaking of waterfalls. Not far from Castel Trosino, there is a perfect place to take magnificent photos, a small corner of Middle-earth hidden in the vegetation: the Tasso Bridge, a suspended walkway dating back to medieval times. Below, a charming little waterfall cascades into the emerald green of the Castellano. It takes a strenuous trek to get there, but the effort is rewarded by one of the most memorable and fascinating views in Le Marche.
Castel Trosino: the Longobard necropolis
Castel Trosino is home to the largest Longobard necropolis in Italy. A treasure of antiquity found by chance in the 19th century. 'By chance' because a priest and a farmer discovered it while working at a vineyard in the Castel Trosino area. The excavations would unearth the 260 tombs of the archaeological site (with their grave goods, weapons, jewellery and various gold and silver artefacts).
Much of the treasure that emerged, relics of immense historical value, is now part of the museums of the Early Middle Ages in Rome and Ascoli Piceno.
The necropolis is only about ten minutes from the castle, following a path through the woods. The route is not particularly demanding, apart from a short section on a steep slope. An alternative but unmarked trail will still allow you to get around the obstacle: ask a local for advice.
Once at your destination, you'll be received by a special welcoming committee. The life-size statues of four soldiers and a woman portrayed in solemn features and movements reproduce an ostentatious and scenic Longobard funeral ceremony.
The unusual scene marks the beginning of the site, which unfolds amidst the dense and lush vegetation cloaked in an almost mystical and, in some ways, surreal atmosphere.
One of the most touching attractions is undoubtedly a crypt whose glass roof allows a glimpse of the host still inside. The bones and the grave goods in the tomb are there as an extraordinary testimony to the solemnity of the place and its historical and human significance.