The origins of Offida are debated. In its territory have been found tombs of the Piceni (7th-5th century BC) and Roman remains; however, the town is known only from 578 AD when the population, fleeing the Lombard invasion, founded several castles in the area, included that of Offida. The true first historical mention dates to 1039, when the Abbey of Farfa received the castle of Ophida, being confirmed in 1261 by Pope Urban IV.
During the war between the communes of Ascoli and Fermo, Offida sided for the latter. In the early 16th century Offida signed a truce with Ascoli while, in the same period, all the lands of the Farfa Abbey went to the Papal States.
From the late 19th century the economy, from a wholly agricultural one, started to rely on handicraft also.
The Palazzo Comunale (“Town Hall”), built between the 13th and 14th century. It has a merloned central tower, while the façade is preceded by a portico with seven arcades and a loggia added in the 15th century. The interior houses a small art gallery with works by Pietro Alamanno and Simone de Magistris.
Santa Maria della Rocca
The church of Santa Maria della Rocca is considered one of the main architectural features of the whole Marche region. It is located on the westernmost tip of the town, surrounded on three sides by ravines that enhance its size. It is a large brickwork construction in Romanesque-Gothic style, designed by a master Albertino in 1330 on a pre-existing Benedictine church.
Ex-Convent of St. Francis
(Regional wine shop of Marche)
The edifice, though ruined to a large extent, shows the earlier structure of a medieval castle. Inside the structure, in the first half of the thirteenth century was found the earlier monastery; it became a possession of the Clarisse Nuns in 1245 and assigned to the Franciscans in 1554. Today, thanks to the restoration of the whole building at the behest of the Municipal Administration, the ex-convent has become the main seat for social and cultural events as well as for tourism. Besides it has housed, in the inside rooms, the Enoteca Regionale of the Marches (Regional Wine Shop and Tasting Room) as from 1999.
The Pillow Lace
Through the alley and lanes of Offida, the visitor cannot help, especially in summer, meeting local women of every age who stand outdoor working at the production of lace. It is wonderful to see the speed with which they work the bobbins, or “cann’itt”, interlacing and pinning threads. The lace pillow, or “lu capzzal”, and the threads are fundamental to produce every possible figure: Offida Cantù, Punto Venezia, Punto Rinascimento, are different kinds of stitches reproducing animals and flowers, as well as precious and refined jewels. n 2009 Offida got the trademark protection that guarantees the quality of such a precious product.
The trademark “Merletto a Tombolo di Offida” (Offida Pillow Lace) distinguishes Offida production of art and traditional laces, in order to protect the denomination of origin and to defend and preserve its work and productive characteristics. It can be exclusively used by lace makers who are included in the Offida lace producers’ register which has been specially set up for this purpose by the Commune of Offida.
In 2010 there was the opening of the “Via del Merletto” (The Lace Street), a central narrow street historically devoted to lace making, with the installation of explanatory plates and panels.
The characteristic geographical configuration of Offida Territory has determined the production of excellent wines whose quality is improving thanks to analysis and expedients that did not exist in the past. A new DOC (Controlled Denomination of Origin) wine, named Offida, has recently been approved; it’s got to be added to the former and well- known three DOC wines. The Piceno wine reality is based on one DOCG – “Offida” characterized by three typologies, Pecorino, Passerina and Offida Rosso, and three DOCs, Rosso Piceno, Falerio and Terre di Offida.
Offida wine history came to a fundamental turning point on 30th May 1999 with the opening of the Enoteca Regionale of the Marches (Regional Wine Shop and Tasting Room), currently the only one recognized by the Region, located inside the ex convent of St. Francis.
Ciù Ciù wines
Ciù Ciù wines are the authentic expression of the company’s commitment and tradition, the result of research and quality in both the vineyard and in the cellar, but also of a natural wine-growing ecosystem of quality with a “terroir” (microclimate, soil and subsoil) that is unique and irreplaceable. In the farm, even if it is a family run business, works a technical group which aim is to restore the wine and oenology inheritance of the wines of Region Marche. The scrupulous care and growing systems of the vineyards, have brought the wines Ciù Ciù to quality range that made them famous in the national and international market.
In the centre of Offida there is a place where visitors can sample the tradition of wines from the Marche region. The hospitable and elegant Ciù Ciù showroom is open to anyone wishing to embark upon a tasteful experience such as this: the red and white organic wines are matched with samplings of products typical of the Marche tradition, bringing out the best in them and offering an explosion of taste in perfect harmony. If you want to live this experience, book your tasting.
Company website: ciuciuvini.it
Offida culture and tourism website: turismoffida.com
website of the Municipality of Offida: comune.offida