Cattedrale di San Emidio
Ascoli Piceno’s Duomo is named Cattedrale di San Emidio in honor of the city’s patron saint and protector. The original church was started in the 4th century on the remains of an ancient Roman forum structure and took its current shape in the 15th century. This travertine structure is the focal point for Piazza Arringo and the attached bell tower signals the time each day. This is a beautiful building with a dome that was painted in the 1800’s with soaring travertine pillars.
In the south nave is the Cappella del Santo Sacramento which houses a famous polyptych by Carlo Crivelli from 1473. This painted panel incorporated wood, painting, gold and jewels; some of which were removed by Napoleon’s troops. This chapel has a lovely dome and paintings on the adjoining walls showing scenes from the life of San Emidio.
To the north of the altar area is a chapel with a large ceramic panel that commemorates people martyred for their faith. This panel covers an entire wall and the use of colors and symbols is an enchanting blend. It is interesting in that there are martyrs portrayed representing both the Catholic and Protestant faiths.
In the crypt below the church the remains of San Emidio are entombed in a Roman sarcophagus and there is a life-size sculpture of the saint. Here you can also see parts of the original Roman substructure for the Duomo which was used as an early Christian burial site.
Ascoli’s Duomo is a jewel befitting this provincial capital.