Landmark of the city and heart of the ancient center, the upper town is a suggestive area of San Benedetto del Tronto. Monumental beauties and ancient architecture characterize these places, immersed in the charm of the past.
The tour begins in the highest place in the city, where the Gualtieri tower stands, an ancient lookout post with a hexagonal plan that evokes the memory of a ship's hull. The prestigious building of the Bishopric overlooks the same square as the "Torrione". The tour continues with a visit to the church of San Benedetto Martire and Palazzo Bice Piacentini.
Tower of the GUALTIERI
For a long time this tower had a defense role, maintaining control over a large area that reached Cupra Marittima from San Benedetto del Tronto. It was also considered a reference point for sailors working on the high seas. The Torre dei Gualtieri offers a suggestive view of the whole city, with a very wide visual horizon. The height of "Lu campano" or "Mastio della Rocca" as it is worthily called by the inhabitants of San Benedetto, is about 20 meters. For many years it was common belief that the Torre dei Gualtieri had been built in the 12th century, a period in which the bishop Fermo Liberto gave the possibility to build a castle to the Gualtieri family. Other historians confirm that the construction of the tower dates back to the 15th century. The construction is in brick and has a flattened hexagonal plan that evokes the shape of a ship with the bow to the east and the stern to the west. During the restoration work carried out in 1901 by the architect Giuseppe Sacconi, the tower was improved in aesthetics with battlements necessary to enhance the beauty of the tower, while maintaining its integrity. The clock located in the tower and with its gaze facing the sea, has a functioning mechanism: with a system of counterweights it transmits the impulse of the passage of time to the bells. The bells are located in the upper part of the tower.
PALAZZO BICE PIACENTINI
Giuseppe Fiorani built the oldest part of the building in 1812. Carpenter with noble origins, he wanted to demonstrate his prestige by building an enchanting building developed on three levels. The facade that extends onto Via del Consolato is adorned with quadrangular light windows and with its pink brick color, it shows all the elegance of a prestigious building. The ground floor overlooking Via del Consolato, the first floor characterized by nineteenth-century frescoes and cross vaults that embellish the entire basement, show all the beauty and uniqueness of this ancient building. The building takes its name from Bice Piacentini, a poetess famous for her sonnets in the San Benedetto dialect, who had lived here for a long time. It currently houses a contemporary art exhibition center and an archive of the municipality of San Benedetto del Tronto. Since 2006 it has housed the Pinacoteca del Mare with 180 works from the municipal heritage. The art gallery houses the paintings of Alfred Joseph Chatelain, Adolfo de Carolis, Armando Marchegiani, Angelo Landi and has an exhibition area dedicated to historical photographs of the city from the private archives of two Sambenedettesi photographers: Sgattoni and Traini. Finally, as evidence of the ancient tradition in the construction of musical instruments by the citizens of San Benedetto del Tronto, an exhibition on local violin making was set up which contains stringed and plucked instruments, models and historical photographs.
THE CHURCH OF SAN BENEDETTO MARTIRE
The church of San Benedetto martire is located in Piazza Bice Piacentini, a square with an inclined paving, the result of the meeting between the structure of the Marche squares and the seaside village. The Abbey of San Benedetto Martire was built around the saint's sepulcher and extended in 1700. The church has a brick wall structure and a bell tower located on the east side. In the church are preserved epigraphs, tombstones, an altarpiece of the Last Supper designed by the painter Ubaldo Ricci, an altarpiece of the Madonna del Rosario by an anonymous 16th century, of the Madonna del Carmelo, the simulacrum of the Immaculate Conception (work of 1856), a Dead Christ (made in the second half of the nineteenth century) and the altar and the relics of St. Benedict martyr. The Second World War destroyed the apse and some frescoes have recently been restored.