Acquaviva Picena is on the Piceno hills in the area between the Tronto and Tesino rivers, and vaunts considerable archaeological heritage including many discoveries that prove the area has been populated since Neolithic times. Of particular importance are the archaeological finds relating to the Piceno people, an Italic population coeval to the Etruscans.
The old town is dominated by the distinctive majestic Medieval fortress, a masterpiece of military architecture, built by the Acquaviva d’Atri family in around 1300. The fortress originally had a tower and fortifications with swallowtail battlements, and following a siege was rebuilt in 1474 by the architect Baccio Pontelli. It has an irregular square layout with corner towers and encloses a large central courtyard with its own well.
The church of San Rocco, built in the thirteenth century, is in the old town and the oldest church inside Acquaviva’s walls. The church of San Nicolò dates back to the sixteenth century and is named after the patron of Acquaviva. Leaving the historic centre we see the convent of San Francesco with adjoining church, built in the twelfth century and one of the oldest Franciscan monasteries of the area, as well as the Madonna della Pietà church, built in the seventeenth century in the Baroque style, over a previous fourteenth-century building.