According to a great number of necropolis discovered, Offida has been probably founded during the stone age from Pelasgi people, coming from Asia Minor and probably the first to bring the signs of civilization in this town.
According to Allevi the Pelasgi people, fortunate connoisseurs of iron, rich in amber, bronze and glasses, had moved from the East and, after having wandered over the sea, had eventually landed on the Adriatic coast, on the site where – many centuries later – the actual Marano (Upper Cupra M.) would stand.
According to others, however, the Etrurians would probably come from the Italian peninsula and, once they had met the native civilized people, had reached themselves a high level of civilization.
Besides, other findings discovered in Offida and surroundings would date from the Lombard and Roman times as well. They are preserved inside the Town Museum.
A significant change improving the economic conditions of the Offida territory was given by Farfa Monks.
Offida would be included in the Presidato Farfense as well, and this happened up to 1572, when pope Gregory XIII (1502-1585) included it in the Diocese of Ascoli. Meanwhile pope Niccolò IV (early 13th cent.-1292), on February 18th, 1291 had granted the communes of the Marches, including that of Offida, the power to elect their podestà, consuls and priors.
Over the centuries Offida, as well as other important communes in the Marches, would be involved in the everlasting and intensified struggles between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines and between Ascoli and Fermo; these fights would continue for a long time up to the 16th century and Offida would definitely side with Fermo, against Ascoli.
On February 8th, 1797 the French army entered Ancona, on the12th it happened to Macerata and on the 13th to Tolentino. On February 28th Ascoli, that had been occupied the previous year, was declared republican and, consequently, there were no more signs of any papal authority.
The Marches were divided in three Departments (rather vast administrative territories)
– the Department of the river Metauro (it rises on the Alpe della Luna, on the border of Tuscany, and flows into the Adriatic Sea, to the South of Fano) whose chief town was Ancona;
- the Department of the river Musone (it rises on the range of Mount S. Vicino, 1485 metres high, and flows into the Adriatic, nearby Porto Recanati) whose chief town was Macerata
- the Department of the river Tronto (it rises on central Appennine, runs through Ascoli Piceno, and from here trough a valley that, for several kilometres, marks the border between the Marches and the Abruzzi) whose chief town was Fermo.
Offida, eventually, was included in the Department whose chief town was Fermo
Meanwhile, the Regal Decree of 22nd December, 1860 established the new administrative organization of the territory of the Marches.
The town, meanwhile, was going through a transition phase from a typically rural economy to a flourishing craft industry and eventually to an economy based on the processes of mechanization and industrialization.
Places of interest in Offida:
- Le town walls XII-XV sec.
- Palazzo De Castellotti – Pagnanelli (1800) the Palace also houses the “Archaeological Museum “G. Allevi “, the “Popular Traditions Museum“and the Municipal Art Gallery.
- Piazza del Popolo, with its unusual triangle shape, is the centre of the town, where the most important events take place.
- Palazzo Comunale ( Town Hall ), one of the finest examples of 15th century civic architecture in the Marche. The building’s lovely upper loggia and swallowtail battlements give the square true class.
- Teatro del Serpente Aureo is a beautiful 18th century theatre , decorated with stucco and gilded carvings
- Collegiata Church, whose its façade is a mixture of styles, Addolorata where is kept the “Coffin” (as it is commonly called the wagon with canopy where the statue of the Dead Christ lies) and Agostino Church of the Eucharistic Miracle.
- Santa Maria della Rocca Church, that stands a little way from the main piazza. The Romanesque -gothic church is one of the area’s most important examples of Piceno monastic art. The building began as a Longobard castle before being passed to the Abbey of Farfa around 1000. The present building dates back to 1330 and provides clear evidence of the peculiarity of Piceno monastic style.
Most important events in Offida:
- Biennial Fiction Prize – by Offida Municipality – Joyce Lussu (in January), for short stories collection
- Traditional Carnival (January, February ) with many related events like “lu Bove finte”
- Offida Festival, Threshing Noodles, boar and othe specialities (First week of July)
- Week of pillow lace (July), laboratori, concorsi, convegni dedicati alla tradizionale arte del merletto a tombolo.
- “Gustandoffida” (July), food festival through the narrow street.
- “Ciborghi d’Italia” (July), typical local dishes festival
- Offida Opera Festival (September),
- DiVino in Vino (Settembre), guided tastings and dinners,
For further information on the events and itineraries please visit official website.