San Benedetto del Tronto
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In 1245, the emperor Frederic II granted Ascoli a stretch of coast between the Ragnola and the Tronto to build a fortified port, hereby unchaining a series of dramatic clashes between the towns of Ascali and Fermo: they went to war repeatedly against each other, involving San Benedetto and many other castle in the Fermo area. Besides the battles, plague and many incursions by the Turks and Saracens afflicted the borough, which was practically uninhabited and had to be repopulated by Albanian and Romagnoli refugees and by families from the High Marca or neighbouring territories. In 1650, the town, that was at first perfectly contained within the walls, began to expand towards the sea-shore: near a little church, dedicated to Saint Anthony and also known as Madonna della Spiaggia (of the Beach), the first houses were erected and finally, in 1754, the suburbs of Sant'Antonio and the Marina were built. In 1860 the Hunters of the Alps liberated the town from temporal dominion by the Pope. Porto d'Ascoli, at first aggregated as a district, was united to San Benedetto in 1961. And the Presidential decree granting San Benedetto del Tronto the title of "City" dates back to just a few years ago.
San Benedetto del Tronto today is a fishing and tourist pole of national importance. The port activity, for centuries fundamental for the town, registered a real turnaround as of 1912, when the launching of a motorized fishing boat marked the beginning of a process of transformation of boat propulsion that led to the creation of today's motorized oceanic fishing boats. Besides the innovations in propulsion systems of boats, modernization was carried out in other sectors too, directly connected to activities at sea: shipbuilding, hemp processing, cable and fishing net making, ships' motors, ships' instruments, trade in fish, and cold-storage chains for fish transport. The Port and the Fish Market of San Benedetto, built in the early twentieth century, were greatly enlarged and the spaces used for activities connected to fishing have grown: this is why the district of San Benedetto is one of the most active in Italy in the field of fish processing and trade. Moreover, of great importance for local economy is the processing and trade in fruit and vegetables: thanks to this activity our town currently occupies on of the first places in the country in terms of volume of affairs and human resources. Recently, in San Benedetto the first of 10 Agro-alimentary Centres in Italy was set up, these being support structures for the wholesale trade in foodstuffs in our country. Tourism is now a traditional resource in San Benedetto: the first hotels date back to the late nineteenth century, as does the first bathing establishment, soon followed by many interventions promoted by the local community and aimed at improving the town structures. In 1931 the local Sojourn Bureau charged the young engineer Luigi Onorati with the improvement of the aesthetic and tourist-related aspects of the railway line next to today's viale Secondo Moretti. And so the wide avenue along the sea was realized, at the time considered absurd, but today one of the most majestic and beautiful in Italy. The public works aimed at making San Benedetto hospitable and attractive did not however stop here: the town was embellished by the works o artists of the calibre of Kostabi, Nespolo, Salvo and Baj; moreover, the splendid Blue Palace was restructured, the symbol of local tourism, initially the headquarters of the Sojourn Bureau, then a dance hall among the most famous on the Adriatic coast, and now the location for exhibitions and happenings, surrounded by a public park full of exuberant and colourful vegetation. Of great interest for tourists was then the creation of a cycle track along the 4 kilometres of the sea promenade, of two rotundas on the sea and the total rebuilding of viale Secondo Moretti, the town's "corso". There is a great selection of places to stay and there are also many opportunities for practising sports and for entertainment that integrate classical "beach life": available to guests are the tourist Port, the nautical Club, the tennis Club, the Sports Palace, the hockey and skating complex, the bowling alley, swimming pools and the athletics track. San Benedetto also has a very modern Congress and Culture Hall, a structure endowed with ample spaces used far events, conventions and theatre shows.