Offida an historical outline - According to the historian Allevi (1834 - 1896), a remarkable figure in the history of the town and author of several archaeological works, Offida was founded in the local stone age, a theroy also supported by several archaelogical finds in the local area which testify how the Picena civilization developed between the 9th and 3rd centuries B.C. According to the Greek and Latin Historic sources, the Picena population originated from a group of Sabine youths who, following the tradition of the " Ver Sacrum " (a propitiatory rite usually practised by some Italian population to gain the gods' favour), had come to this territory led by a woodpecker (PICVS), from which the Picena population and territory derived their name. By the end of the 13th century, Offida had already become a town. In 1261 Pope Urban IV issued a bull establishing a Head With judiciary tasks and in 1291, Pope Nocolas iv gave the power of electing podestà as well as consuls and that ever-increasing rivalry between Guelfs and Ghibellines and that between the towns of Ascoli and Fermo which lasted up to the 16th century. In 1860 a revolutionary committee took part in the fights against the papal army which was defeated in Castelfidardo leaving the local government to the winners. Consequently, Offida was included in the Province of Ascoli. From this moment on, Offida began to experience the transition from a fundamentally agricultural economy to handicraft, more and more tied to mechnization and industrialization. The various activities aimed at promoting the local territory have gained a tourist flow which makes Offida the town with the highest number of visitors in the region; thanks to the improvement of facilities, the historical, artistic and cultural inheritance have developed being today among the richest and most interesting in the whole region.
The Town Walls
The ancient walls, entering the town, are well kept and still visible today. According to historian Guglielmo Allevi, the original structure dates back to the 12° - 13° centuries, and a 1694 map by F. Fabiani cleary witnesses the presence of the fortress in that period. A square tower constituted the main gateway of the town to be entered through a drawbrige. The present structure dates back to the 15° century, when the new fortress was built on a design by architect Baccio Pontelli who, thinking of it as a military defence, gave the old fortress a circular shape and added a brick revetment which made bullets slide easily down its sides, during the numerous fights between the people of Ascoli and Offida. In 1493 the fortress was provided with an artillery to face up the shots of the enemies and to prevent the fortress itself. According to tradition, the artillery was removed and placed onto the fortalices of the Holy House in Loreto. The old fortress on the gateway, a square tower and smaller cylindrical fortress can still be admired today.
Located on the main side of Piazza del Popolo, it is the symbol of the public and administrative life of Offida. The original structure, dating back to the 11th - 12 th centuries, has gone through many chenges and restorations over the centuries. This brick construction is characterized by a fourteenth - century tower crowned by swallow - tailed merlons on which a turret clock was added later. The main façade displays a particularly charming loggia consisting of 13 cylindrical travertine columns. At both sides of this loggia, there are two coat of arms carved by locl sculptor Aldo Sergiacomi in 1932, representing respectively the Town Hall and the Savoy Family. The arcade looking onto the square dates back to the 15th century and displays cylindrical columns surmounted by travertine capitals. A second arcade flanks Corso Serpente Aureo and dates back to the 18th century. The most visible change undergone by the structure consists in a row of swallow - tailled merlons added in 1924 on the upper sidewall of the main façade. The inner rooms are very elegant and host the town council offices.
The Serpente Aureo Theatre
The Theatre was originally located in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall and today it has not got a personal façade yet, his entrance being under the main arcade of the Town Hall. The current structure was built in 1820 on a design by Pietro Maggi and underwent renewal in 1862. The theatre displays the shape of a horseshoe with 50 boxes distributed on 3 tiers, a gallery and a foyer recently restored and fully decorated with stuccos and golden carvings. The vault, wholly decorated by Alcide Allevi, displays Apollo and the muses besides eight madellions portraying the most eminent lyrics and prose authors. The whole room is dominated by an artistic crystal chandelier. The worthy stage curtain dating back to 1926, displays the legend of the golden snake, from which the theatre took its name, by Giovanni Battista Magini.
The Chapel of the Eucharistic Miracle
Sited at the back of the apse, the Chapel of the Eucharistic Miracle houses the remeining evidence of an Eucharistic Miracle occured in Lanciano in 1273 which tells the story of Giacomo Stasio and Ricciarella, who, in order to reach some kind of domestic peace, mixed a consecrated host with her husband's food. The host turned into bleeding strips of flesh. After long vicissitudes the miracle has been officially recognized at last. These precious relics, jealously kept inside this church for many years, consist of a thirteenth - century table - cloth, which is unique in its kind, a blood - stained cup and a piece of host turned into flesh and blood. The whole is kept inside a fourteenth - century silver cross created by a renowned Venetian goldsmith and are placed inside an aedicule secured by an iron gate and two fifteenth - century walnut shutters. They are to be seen only on Holy Cross Day, the 3 May.
Since 1998 it has been located in via Roma 17 within De Castellotti - Pagnanelli Palace, which dates back to 1700 and was enlarged in 1856. The Town Council bought this building in order to create a single cultural centre where the main museum resources of the town would have been housted. Since July 1998 it has hosted the Picture Gallery, the Allevi Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Lace, the Folk Tradition Museum and the Public Library. Lately renewed, every museum has been provided with facilities for the disabled. Offida Museum also hosts exhibitions, meetings, conventions and workshops for teenage students. To this purpose an original hut of the Picena Age and tomb have been rebuilt outside in the garden.
Church of St. Maria della Rocca
The Church of St. Maria della Rocca is one of the most important local monuments located out of the urban area. To its place, there was a Lombard castle and a small chuech belonging to Longino D'Azzone, a local nobleman of French - German origins. In 1039 the castle and the small church were given to the Farfa Abbey and thus, to the Benedictine monks. As testified by an egigraph, in 1330 works began to demolish the castle and built a bigger church. The old church was comprised in the new one, thus creating two side passages, still visible from the crypt, one of which has been used as a burial ground since the 1th century. The outer brick structure is crossed by travertine pilastres on the apsidal side; the crypt can be entered through a travertine portal with sculpted foliage, animals and spirals, placed in the middle of the main apse. The crypt, located in the ground floor, displays several brick columns with rounded capitals bearing pinted and full - centre arches. Still visible are some frescos by the Maestro of Offida. The upper church is a nave and displays some traces of various frescos which once fully decorated the walls.
The pillow lace
Through the alleys and lanes of Offida, the visitor cannot help, especially in summer, meeting local women of ecery
age who stand outdoor working at the production of lace. It is wonderful to see the speed with which they work
the bobbins, thus passing down this very precious handicraft from generation to generation.
It is a bronze monument realized by local sculptor Aldo Sergiacomi in 1983. It is located at the entrance of the town as a symbol of the importance of Offida's lace. This is, in fact, a very ancient tradition - allowing the creation of real handmade masterpieces - which has been passed down from generation to generation. Thus, this monument represents the continuity of tradition by comparing three generations: the old grandmother who carefully attends the work of the young mother and the child, fully immersed in learning the basic techniques of lace making.
The Offida historical Carnival
The Offida Carnival's origins are lost in the past. They go back to the religious feasts of ancient populations celebrating the new year and the beginning of spring for propitiatory purposes. Every year, this Carnival follows the same calendar as tradition dictates. Its official opening is on 17 January, St. Anthony's Day. The last two Sundays are devoted to friends and relatives, while Saturdays are animaded by joyful night - long parties held within Serpente Aureo Theatre. Among the events not to be missed there is "Bov Fint" (the fake ox corrida) and the extraordinary parade of "Vlurd" which, taking place the last day, represents the end of Carnival. Local people and worldwide visitors come to Offida Carnival not to passively admire elegant float parades but to get completely involved in a real folk feast where, apart from rules and social conventions, enjoyment is compulsory, as if everyone was an actor whose symbolic performances unfold the most vital and instinctive forces. The most typical mask is the "guazzarò", a white linen tunic to be worn with a red neckerchief.
Offida Carnival is mostly characterized by the feast of lu Bov Fint (dialect name for a fake ox) during which a fictious bull, which once was alive, is driven by two people who lead it through the streets of the city followed by a crowd of running people wearing the guazarò or bullfighter cloth. The bull is made of a wooden frame and is covered with a white and red cloth. This is a very ancient tradition recalling the bullfights brought by the Spanish dominion. Notwithstanding time, this feast still holds its profound feature of folk ispiration. It takes place on the Friday before Lent starting in the afternoon from Cappuccini district to arrive in Piazza del Popolo. Several refreshing stopovers when you can eat and drink are spread along the way. Once in the square, in the evening, the bull is slaughtered in front of the town hall and then carried away while people sing Addio Ninetta Addio, an old traditional song. Furthermore, lu Bov Fint takes place in a smaller scale to get involved the children of the local primary school on Friday morning.
History of the Vlurd
The first relevant historicl entry of the burning of canes dates from 1814, according to an article by Guglielmo Allevi published in the "Ophys" review on 3rd March 1895. This feast takes place on Shrove Tuesday evening, when big bundles of reeds and straw are given fire and carried through the streets of the city on people's shoulders until they arrive in the main square where there is an enormous bonfirearound which people in costu me dance and sing. The extinguishing of fire is a metaphor for the end of carnival and the beginning of Lent. From Piazza XX Settembre, hundreds of people in costume parade
through the streets among cries of joy and unbridled dances led by the Ciorpento band playing and singing Addio Ninetta Addio, being the traditional carnival hymn. The wonderful show of the high street bursting into flames and clearly recalling the shape of a snake is not to be missed.
Food and Wine Specialities
With a planted area spreading over 1100 hectares, Offida is the town whit the largest vineyards in Ascoli Piceno district and one of the first wine - producing towns in the whole region. Local wines have been improving their high - quality and are already renowned on the market thanks to the development of advanced and sophisticated wine - making techniques and to several studies on the variety of vineyards. A fourth DOC wine (i.e. Denomination of Controlled Origin) named Offida has recently been approved.
HOW TO GET THERE
Motorway A 14, exits for Grottammare and Porto D'Ascoli. Superstada (Freeway) Ascoli Mare, Exit for Castel di Lama.
Via Mazzini, 7 - Tel. e fax 0736880811
B.go Miriam - Tel. 0736889299 fax 0736880843
Via Tesino, 73/A - Tel. 0736880706 / 889002
BED & BREAKFAST
Contrada S. Lazzaro, 72/a
La Casa di Giò
Corso Serpente Aureo, 9 - Tel. 0736889397/ 0255602358
Piazza Bergalucci, 25 - Tel. 0736889396
Middio De Felò
Via Lava , 97 - Tel.0736889892
Contrada S. Lazzaro - Mobile. 3387706155
Casa Tremaroli Ermanna e Romina
C.da Tesino, 105 - Tel. 0735594265
I due Gelsi
ctr.Ciafone, 17 - Mobile 3479582330
Via F.lli Cervi 13 - Tel. 0736810049 - Mobile 3335766231
Via Ciafone, 98 - Tel. e fax 0736810007
Via Ciafone - Tel. 0736810001
Il Casale degli Ulivi
C.da Ciafone - Tel. 0735595179
Il Nascondiglio di Bacco
C.da Ciafone, 97 - Tel. 0736889537
C.da S. Lazzaro, 106/a - Tel. 0736889151
La Valle del Sole
C.da S. Lazzaro, 46 - Tel. 0736889658
Osteria del Gufo
Via Tesino, 252 C.da S. Barnaba - Offida Tel. 0736889303 - Mobile 3397397416
Rosa dei Venti
Via Tesino, 261/B - Tel. e fax 0736889201
Via Tesino, 73/A - Tel. 0736880706 / 0736889002
Azienda Agraria Rossi Pietrino
Ctr.S. Lazzaro 106/a - Tel. 0736889151
C.da Tesino 195 - Tel. 0736880595