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Ascoli to Penne

Hi all

We are staying in Ascoli Piceno for 4 nights in January 2014.

We will sight see and eat locally in Ascoli in general. We also have plans to drive to Civitella del Tronto, Campli and the area, maybe even go into Teramo. The idea of this trip is to see some of the less touristy destinations of the Adriatic coast and this region.

We plan a day trip from Ascoli to Penne, to visit Penne and probably have lunch there. The route I am looking at takes around 1:40 and is 100 km, straight through. It is via the SS81 and SS50 essentially. It passes through some valleys and small towns, which is the reason for going this way.

Question is, what towns along the way, on this or next to this route are worth visiting? What sights are there to see in particular on this path? Will this route likely be open i.e. what are chances of being snowed in??

I will just be looking forward to enjoying the country side, mountains and passes and seeing lots of original towns in this region.

Thanks in advance.

James