What a beautifully perfect little town Ascoli Piceno is. Situated in a valley with mist covered hills surrounding it, the old town predates the origin of Rome by 600 years. We arrived in a light rain that brought the temperature down to near single digits and walked to the historic town centre after parking just outside of it. Characteristic of ancient Roman towns, the duomo (cathedral) dominates a cobblestoned piazza (town square) at one of its ends. A Brown marble building in typical pre renaissance architecture – now the town hall (formerly the bishop’s residence) that houses a museum - flanks an adjacent side. More modern buildings that house restaurants, cafes and galleries complete the square and an elaborate fountain takes the centre. As the historic areas are closed to traffic, the sounds you hear are the tock – tock of heels on cobblestone and the bitonal peel of the church bells that lend an aural dollop of charm. I recollect reading that the beauty of this town takes even blasé Italian tourists by surprise; it really is difficult to remain unmoved by the mystical energy of this place.