Acquaviva Picena is a small village situated on a hill overlooking the landscape of the Tronto valley, a few kilometers from San Benedetto del Tronto.
The heart of the village is the Fortress of the Dukes of Acquaviva, from which the village takes its name, a majestic medieval fortress among the largest and most interesting of all the Marche. At its feet there is the Piazza del Forte, which provides it with a scenic audience, with low houses arranged in a semicircle.
A witness to the devotion of the citizens is the large number of buildings of worship built: Chiesa Matrice di San Nicolò, Church of San Rocco (the oldest in the village), Church of San Lorenzo, Church of San Giuseppe, Church of the Madonna della Pietà, Suburban church of San Francesco, rustic church of Santa Maria delle Palme and rustic church of Santa Maria in Accubitu.
The streets of Acquaviva run almost parallel to each other and are connected by steep ramps such as the picturesque Vicolo del Trabucco, where in ancient times war machines similar to catapults were deposited there. To make the village alive are the numerous events that during the year are celebrated, among the most significant there is Sponsalia, the historical re-enactment of the marriage between Forasteria d'Acquaviva and Rainaldo di Brunforte (1234). Organized since 1988 between the months of July and August, it provides for the dispute of the Palio del Duca.
One of the traditional activities of the village is the production of straw baskets, which takes place through a method handed down from generation to generation. Of great interest and character is the 'Pajarola' Museum, which houses a collection of baskets, kitchen utensils and dolls made from woven straw, wicker and natural materials.
Among the typical products, in Acquaviva you can taste: cheeses and dairy products, sweet peaches, frustingo (a typical dessert of the Marche based on dried fruit and figs), and various wines (Rosso Piceno DOC, Rosso Piceno Superiore DOC, Falerio DOC, Offida DOC).
Acquavivan cuisine is marked by authenticity and flavors of yesteryear. A stop at lunchtime, either in one of the restaurants in the historic center or in the agritourisms scattered throughout the countryside, allows you to savor traditional local dishes. Simple, wholesome foods such as local ham, loin, salami, livers with eggs, pecorino cheese, stracciatelle, pappardelle alla duck muta, rabbit 'ncip-'nciap, stuffed olives, and mutton skewers.
Typical desserts are spumini, almond crostini and the famous "pesche" (short pastries filled with chocolate and bathed in alchermes) that release all their fragrance from the various ovens in the village. All washed down with magnificent DOC wines such as Rosso Piceno Superiore and the white Falerio dei Colli Ascolani.
Typical handicrafts: Le Pajarole
Pagliarole are traditional handicrafts made from wheat straw and wicker. To procure the raw materials there are several laborious and sometimes tiring operations.
Wicker preparation: at the time of willow pruning from wicker "le sace," bundles are formed and left in water until they sprout. Each flexible branch "lu veng" softened by the previous treatment, is divided in half with a knife, or in three parts with a "lu pacca crolle" tool.
When the division is done, the central lumen is removed from each part by repeated operations until "la crolla" is as thin as possible. By applying pressure with a knife, each one is slid over the leg so that the outer film separates. Sometimes it is left in to make a darker filament for more rustic work.
Dark or light "slumps" are tied at one end, wrapped circularly and left to dry. To store them they are tied in a crown and hung up. At the time of use they are soaked in water to make them more manageable.
Straw preparation: following the harvesting of wheat with the scythe, bunches of stalks are formed which, beaten into the ground, are evened out and removed from the ears. With a rake, the straw is cleaned of the outer leaves "pellucca." The stems folded into bundles "mannelle," are allowed to dry and then stored in dry places. At this point the noble and traditional processing of baskets can begin.