Visit Date: May 3, 2019, at approximately 4:00 p.m.
Offida is the last stop on our tour of beautiful villages in the Marche region. It is located about half an hour inland from Grottammare, where we had just visited. It is surrounded by vast vineyards.
We thought it was easy to get there with Google Maps. Nevertheless, we got lost because the Google Maps pointed to a place quite far from the center. You should be careful when you go to the place by checking Google maps. It’s a bit tedious, but it’s better to look more closely at the map itself, for example, where churches, city halls, and central squares are located, rather than overconfidently using Google Maps.
Despite some trouble with Google Maps, we successfully figured out where the center of the village was and we were on our way there. This village had a lot of people and cars, in contrast to Grotamalle, which we had just visited. There seemed to be some kind of event going on, which made it very difficult to find a parking spot. Eventually, we found a good spot near the center, but it took us less than 10 minutes of wandering around the village in our car to do so.
As always, I give a map showing you where to park.
The history of Offida is explained very carefully on the official website (in Italian, English and German). Roughly speaking, the city was settled from the Stone Age, and then, as is standard Italian history, came under the rule of the Etruscans, the Roman Republic, the Empire, the Lombards, and then the Middle Ages. It was in the 12th century, during the reign of Innocentius III and the heyday of the Papacy, that the city experienced its greatest economic development.
By the way, the name “Offida” is derived from “oph” which means “rich, mountain, hill” in Indo-European language. The Greek word “ophis” and the Roman word “oppidum” mean “snake”, but they don’t seem to be derived from this root. Offida was bigger than I expected, and each building was very fine.
After walking for about a minute from the parking lot, we arrived at Piazza del Popolo, the triangular-shaped central square. The city hall in front of the square was built around the 15th century.
There are two churches in Piazza del Popolo. The one in front of the City Hall is the Church of Santa Maria Assunta. The white marble ceiling was impressive.
The second was on the left side of the town hall.
By the way, I just found out by researching to write this article, there was a church called “Santa Maria della Rocca” (Santa Maria della Rocca Church) on the outskirts of the village, which is a characteristic church architecture in Marche. I had missed it. It was very regrettable. Even though this village was relatively big, we missed a tourist information center there.
I want to visit as many places as I can, so I tend to do a little research on each place. This is what I have learned through visiting beautiful villages for almost 10 years. As for the church of Santa Maria della Rocca, I could have easily found it out by looking up the village on wikipedia, so from now on, I’ll be sure to look at wikipedia when I get to the village, even when I’m there.
After a quick look around Piazza del Popolo, we strolled around the village at will.
The village itself was very clean and neat, and I thought it was easy to do sightseeing with many shops.
I didn’t see any accommodation facilities when I walked around, but it looks like a great place to stay for the food and wine, not to mention the scenery.
Finally, as mentioned above, the area around Offida is covered with vast vineyards. Therefore, this village is also a major wine production area. Terre di Offida is a D.O.C.G. in the Marche region of Italy. Originally called “Offida” in the D.O.C., the name was changed to the current “Terre di Offida” when it was promoted to D.O.C.G.
There were enotecas everywhere in the village. However, we had already bought a lot of wine in Tuscany, so we decided not to buy it this time.
This was the end of our energetic tour of beautiful villages for the day. After this, we went to the town of Ascoli Piceno, which is more than 10 kilometers away. This was where we would stay for the night. We decided to hurry our journey as we had to meet the janitor of the apartment.