One of the legends has it that the origin of the town of S.Benedetto del Tronto is deeply connected to the finding of the mortal remains of a soldier from a Roman garrison named Benedetto who had refused to abjure his Christian faith and who, for this reason, was executed and thrown into the sea. The legend goes on telling that his corpse was found the following morning by a peasant and it was laid into a catacomb. Some huts were built all around the place and later on those first houses gave origin to the village of S.Benedetto.
Few documents, concerning the Holy Martyr Benedetto, arrived up to our days. According to the oral tradition, the Roman soldier lived in Cupramarittima (little Roman village 4 miles north of San Benedetto) at the time of Emperor Diocletian. A description of the life and the martyrdom of Benedetto was written by the parish priest Polidori around the first half of the eighteenth century:
"Benedetto from Cupra was very young when, convinced of the truth of the Gospel doctrine, embraced the Christian faith".
Grifo was the governor of that city and, during the Christian persecution, he ordered to put Benedetto in a dark prison. Since the youngman belonged to a family of noble blood, the same governor wanted to dissuade him from the Christian faith. Benedetto refused all offers, he chose to die for Christ and was martyred on October 13th, 304, on the deck of Menocchia creek.
His body was thrown into the tumultuous river underneath which dragged it to the nearby Adriatic Sea. The marine stream drove the corpse 4 miles south of Cupra and laid it on the beach where today the City of San Benedetto del Tronto stands. A farmer found the body of the martyr and brought him by means of a cart onto the opposite little hill where he digged a tomb under the shadow of trees, away from prying eyes .
Soon after the Edict of Constantine in 313, some believers built a chapel around the tomb. Since then, St. Benedetto has always been venerated and invoked, for headaches, not only by locals but also by those living the surrounding area. It was later built a small church with the apse facing east and the entrance oriented to west. According to the early Christian tradition it is the east where the sun rises and the rising sun is one of the figures of rising Christ. Historians argue, however, that some archaeological findings testify to the Roman origins, linked to the ancient city of Alba Picena on the right bank of Albula creek.
The first document actually carrying the name of the village dates back to 998:
it is an act related to the investiture of Saints Vincenzo and Anastasio's
benefice within the territory of Acquaviva Picena by Umberto, the bishop of
Fermo. In this precious document the following Latin expression is mentioned
"pede sive terra et silva Sancti Benedicti", undoubtedly referring to the area
of S.Benedetto del Tronto. In 1145 it is given as a feod to Bernardo and Azzo,
sons of Gualtiero from Naples. In 1211 the emperor Ottone IVth grants the town
of Fermo the portion of land extending from the stream Ragnola to the river
Tronto in order to have a fortified port built there. In the same years a long
series of quarrels between the towns of Ascoli and Fermo begins, involving other
municipalities and ending up impoverishing the territory of S.Benedetto.
In 1478 a plague causes a further decimation of the population and the town remains practically deserted until the refugees from Romagna region and the northern part of the Marches region, to whom the land has been given by emphytheusis, start re-populating the area. The town history in the following years is marked by Turks' raids to capture sailors and keep them in slavery: these frequent episodes are destined to last from the XVIth to the XIXth century. From 1650 the town centre expands beyond the town walls and in 1754 the first boroughs of St.Antonio and Marina are born. In 1860 the alpine troops set the town free from the dominion of the Church. The royal decree dates back to 1896 and with it the town acquires the epiteth "del Tronto"; since 1943-44, the town goes through 144 bombing air raids and 6 navy cannonades.