(these lists are in no way definitive)
The two major supermarkets in the Centro are Coal and Tigre. Both offer a full range of supermarket products, although the stores are likely smaller than you are used to. Both have live butchers, a live fish vendor, and a salumi counter offering cold cuts and cheeses. Although there are packaged products in the meat department and at the salumi counter, if you are willing to wait for service you can get what you want prepared to order.
Of the two, Tigre seems to have a larger selection, but both are good. The fish vendor at Tigre is a private vendor (essentially an independent fish monger operating inside the market). The fish and meat vendors at Tigre will do special orders. Although the meat department at Tigre is pretty good, we sometimes go to Clerici, a dedicated butcher in Borgo Solestà (across the Ponte Romana). They are a family run operation and offer high quality steaks and pork chops. They don’t speak much English there, but they are friendly and helpful.
We have shopped at the Pescheria Adriano on the other side of Ponte Maggiore. Their quality is very high, and they typically have a better selection than the fish vendor at Tigre, but they are significantly more expensive.
Bruno’s, in the Piazza Roma, is open at times other places are closed (for example Sunday morning). Their house-made pastas are surprisingly good as are other selected items in their deli counter.
There are larger stores (EUROSPIN and CONAD) in the Porta Maggiore area.
Although the produce selection at the supermarkets is fine, you can get even better produce at one of the open air markets or dedicated produce stores. There is a fruit-and-vegetable market in the Chiostro six days a week (Monday – Saturday). Most of the vendors are local farmers, but there are a couple who buy produce from the local wholesale market. Prices are very reasonable. There is also a local farmer who brings super fresh eggs to the Chiostro market every Saturday. Get there early – he always sells out, often before 11 am.
Campagna Amica is a relatively new covered market on the other side of Porto Maggiore. They are open Tuesday, Friday and Saturday mornings, and offer only local products. In addition to produce, there are vendors selling beans, lentils, fresh local cheese (ricotta and pecorino) and olive oil. There is also a small butcher and a small fish vendor.
A produce vendor sets up a truck in Piazza Roma every Tuesday morning, offering a wide selection of products, most local but some from outside the area (e.g., California pistachios are sometimes available).
A produce vendor from Puglia sets up a truck in Piazza Arringo most Saturdays. Since it tends to be warmer in Puglia, they are a good source for spring produce a bit earlier than the local season.
There are also a number of small fruttivendoli all over town, typically offering a mixture of local farm products and products from other places. One of our favorites, L’Orto di Cecco, is on via Pretoriana. The owner Francesco has a farm up in the hills, and sells a lot of his own products, but he also gets unusual items like ginger root, horseradish and avocado. He speaks a little English.
Agrumi di Sicilia, near the Roman theater, specializes in Sicilian oranges, lemons and tangerines. They also sell other Sicilian products, including artichokes, pistachios, and sundried tomatoes. They are open only 8 months of year (November – June), which is roughly the Sicilian fresh orange season.
Bakeries, Pastry Shops and Pasta Stores
Furni di Usti is a small family run bakery on via Pretoriana. Their regular bread is just average, but they have fresh baked cacciananze (the local variant of focaccia) and crisp breads available most every day. Again, go early – they sell out most of the fresh stuff by noon. They are also a good source for small grocery items (milk, eggs, pasta) if you don’t want to walk all the way to the supermarket.
Manfroni Bakery near the Piazza del Popolo is also good. There are two especially good bread bakeries in town: Grano, in Borgo Solestà, and L’Assalto ai Forni, a relatively new place in Piazza Arringo. Both are very popular and often sell out (Grano seems to operative by reservation only). You can order from both via WhatsApp.
The best pastries are from Angelo. Their main store is on via Napoli on the far side of town, but they also sell their pastry at Café Damiani, in Piazza Simonetti just across from the Prefettura.
There are several stores selling fresh pasta in town, offering high quality fresh pasta at amazingly reasonable prices. Everyone has their own favorite. Our favorite is Castelli, on the via Vittorio Emmanuele just this side of the Ponte Maggiore. In addition to cutting pasta to order, they also sell tortellini and fried olives.
There aren’t many good options for buying wine in Ascoli centro. You can buy wine and beer at local markets, but the selection is limited. Vini Marche, near the train station, sells a small selection of wines from the Marche and Abruzzo. Their “bag in box” wines are particularly good value – 5 liters for 12 euro – and are surprisingly reasonable. Fortunately, you can order many wines online and have them delivered right to your door. Moreover, the whole Piceno wine making district is within 45 minutes drive.
Among the supermarkets, CONAD has a decent wine selection.
Pharmacies are small here and typically sell only a limited range of products – prescription medications, health-related products like bandages and dental products, and sometimes other products like cosmetics. We use Farmacia Simonelli, in the Piazza Roma at the bottom of via Pretoriana. One of the younger pharmacists (who I think is the daughter of the owner) speaks English.
Acqua e Sapone, on the via Dino Angelini just past COAL, is a good source for all manner of cleaning products, from laundry soap to shampoo to dishwasher detergent, with better selection and lower prices than the supermarket. They sell some housewares (paper towels, toilet tissue, plastic wrap, batteries) but no food and, despite the name, no bottled water. UniEuro, near the train station, sells small appliances like toasters, irons and blenders.
Stilcasa is a very nice housewares store that sells upscale kitchen items. There is a small branch near Piazza del Popolo that sells basic utensils, but we much prefer the larger store on the other side of Piazza Immacolata.
There is a moderately large shopping center called Lu Battente about 10 minutes by car outside of town. Their stores include Oasi (a much larger version of Tigre); a large UniEuro, a computer store, and BricoMart, a large format hardware store. It’s not readily accessible by public transportation, but there are plenty of us here with cars.
There are a lot of clothing and shoe stores in Ascoli, most of them pretty expensive. Benetton offers good value for the money. Umberto Nociaro on via del Trivio near the church of San Francesco, offers good quality men’s clothing for reasonable prices.
I have had good success buying items likes shoes and sweater in the regular street markets. Look for the ones that offer products in boxes –usually they will even let you try things on.
Villi, which is close to the Piazza del Popolo, is well known in the Piceno for their skills at knife-sharpening. They are also the go-to place for all things related to locks.
There are many fine restaurants in Ascoli – here is a selection of our personal favorites.
- Fine Dining (meat): Piccolo Teatro, Locanda Imperfetta, Desco
- Fine Dining (fish): Osti.Nati, Capriccio degli Dei
- Typical Local Food: Vittoria, Nonna Nina, Osteria di Cecco
- Pizza: La Nicchia
- There are also excellent fish restaurants in Grottammare, on the coast. We like Il Grecale and Stella Marina, both on the north side of town accessible on foot from the train station.