There’s a lot to see in Cagli: abbeys, monuments, medieval churches but also beautiful buildings hiding wide gardens and old cloisters…all of this and a lot more! This lovely town is located in Le Marche, along the Flaminia road that links the province of Pesaro and Urbino with the Umbria region and Rome, the capital city! Its territory is very extended and includes many hamlets, actually it is the third largest district of Le Marche. It is surrounded by the mountains Petrano, Nerone, Catria and Paganuccio, between the rivers Bosso and Burano.
Scenic Mountains and Rivers
If you want to spend some time surrounded by nature, Cagli is the right place! The mountains of its premises are a great starting point for excursions and walks: relaxation and fun are the watchwords! Let’s start our itineray from the Petrano Mount at 1162 metres above sea level. Thanks to its particular shape different types of sports are possible: cross-country skiing in winter and kite-surfing in the summer. From the town centre of Cagli you can reach the plateau with a suggestive walk through its curves – all your efforts will be rewarded once you reach the summit! Don’t worry if you get there totally exhausted, you’ll find two bars and several areas for picnics and outdoor eating. The extensive network of trails available is really suitable for everyone: from experts to beginners just like me, who don’t like too much hard work. More and more sportspeople come here to enjoy activities such as kite buggying and land-boarding with kites; meetings and dedicated events are often organised.
The Catria Mount with its 1,702 metres high can be easily recognized thanks to the huge cross on its peak; there are many activities suitable for both adults and children, i.e: mountain biking, hiking, downhill, nordic walking, etc. As alternative, you can just have a good meal at high altitude! There are in fact several shelters to eat typical local dishes. For your kids there is also an acrobatic playground, the Kinderland Adventure Park. During winter, the mountain offers several options such as downhill skiing and snow-shoeing.
Finally, the Nerone Mount which reaches an altitude of 1526 mt above sea level. It is the perfect setting for trekking, mountain biking, cycling and horse riding along the many marked paths, as well as for hang-gliding, paragliding, climbing and caving. There is no shortage of ski slopes where you can ski in the winter, even in absence of natural snow.
During summertime there’s no need to reach the coast to cool off in peace and quiet. There are actually beautiful rivers to relax and sunbathe, or simply bathe in the nature! The bravest ones can experience the thrill of diving among the rocks. All I can add is that you’ll never get bored in Cagli!
The Town Fortress and Torrione
The Town Fortress (Rocca di Cagli) was considered as one of the most significant military facilities and it was built to defend the town against enemy attacks. It is located in the hills of Cappuccini (Capuchins) dominating the city from above. This fortress also included a fortified tower, the Torrione, built across the medieval walls of the town. Both structures were connected by a long underground tunnel, the evocative soccorso coverto – a secret passage made up of over 367 steps which still exists! The fortress was dismantled and its few remainings are still preserved on the hill where the Capuchin Monastery rises. The ovoid-shaped Torrione is on 5 floor connected by a semicircular stairway that leads up to the large balcony on the top. It is one of the most important monuments of the city and it has been house to the Centre of Contemporary Sculpture since 2001.
For further information and tour reservations: Tourist Information Centre – Via Alessandri, 4 TEL. 0721/780773
This theatre was designed between 1870 and 1878 by the architect Giovanni Santini from Perugia with further amendments by the engineer Coriolano Monti. It rises in the historic centre of the town and is the heart of local cultural activities. Every year it welcomes artists and companies performing shows of all kinds. The horseshoe shape auditorium offers 50 boxes divided between 3 orders and a gallery with balconies. The interior is decorated with high quality and fine materials. In the same building there is the library, the music school and ballroom.
The main square, Palazzo Pubblico and the Cathedral
The main square of Cagli has always been the favourite meeting place for its citizens, where they usually spend their time shopping or having a little chat in one of the bars! In this eighteenth century square stands the Palazzo Pubblico, today seat of the town hall. The building includes Palazzo Grande, once seat of the judiciary and Palazzo del Podestà, what it is now the Archaeological Museum of Flaminia. The atrium leads to the upper floor which houses the Hall of Emblems – take your time to enjoy this nice tour! The façade instead is enriched with a large balcony, a niche with a statue of the Madonna and Child and a bell tower. Inside there is a courtyard that houses the contemporary sculpture “Cosmic Order” by the artist Eliseo Mattiacci. This courtyard was once the access way to the prisons of the palace. Always remaining in the square premises, you can visit the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the town’s main church. It consists of three naves and is 54 metres long, for this reason it can be considered as one of the largest cathedrals in Le Marche region. There you can admire frescoes and works of great artists.
Cagli and its buildings
There are many historical buildings in the city, on top of them Palazzo Berardi Mochi-Zamperoli. It is one of the largest and most valuable noble palaces in Cagli, built by the richest branch of the Berardi family on a pre-existing medieval base. The Palace is now home to the CESCO (Documentation Centre of Drawing and Maquette of Contemporary Sculpture). Its rooms contain works of famous artists and it’s an exclusive place for the study and documentation on contemporary sculpture. Other remarkable buildings are Palazzo Felici, Palazzo Preziosi Brancaleoni and Palazzo Tiranni-Castracane, now seat of the Town museum and of the Diocesan museum of Cagli.
Mallio bridge and the town gates
Mallio bridge is one of the most impressive Roman monuments set along the Flaminia road. Despite the passing of centuries and the earthquake that destroyed most of the town, this bridge is still almost completely intact.
Right before entering the historic centre, don’t miss the old Longobarda gate, entry symbol of the town still perfectly preserved; on your way out, stop for a while in front of the Massara gate, the exit symbol.
A city of Churches
Cagli is known as the city of churches: you can literally find one in every corner of the historic centre! They’re 22 to be precise: the church of San Nicolò, San Domenico, San Pietro, the church of Sant’Angelo Minore, Santa Maria della Misericordia, San Giuseppe, Santa Chiara, San Filippo and San Bartolomeo, just to name a few… Besides the main cathedral, another church of great interest is that of San Francesco, with its distinctive bell tower and cloister, now premise of the local middle school.
Throughout the year Cagli is setting for many courses, tasting in the rich palaces, theatre performances of various types and special events relating to nature and food & wine traditions.
Some of the most popular events you should know are the Pipe festival (Festa della Pipa), the historical Game of the Goose (Gioco dell’Oca o Palio storico), the great Barbecue party in the town square (Grigliata in Piazza) and the Good Friday Commemoration. The Pipe festival was created 14 years ago to become an attractive and unmissable meeting for pipe smokers coming from all over Italy. You’ll find exhibitors, stands and international slow-smoking competitions! It usually takes place in late May. The Game of the Goose is being held every year on the second Sunday of August through the streets of the historic centre. There are Renaissance parades, flag wavers, fire shows, archers, crossbowmen and then finally the classic game of the goose performed at the Arena of Sant’Emidio: the four city quarters compete to win the iron goose, symbol of the Palio of Cagli. No shortage of taverns serving typical local dishes and dance till late at night. Meat lovers cannot miss the annual Barbecue party in mid-June with food & wine stands and grilled meat, the unique protagonist of the event. Last but not least, the Good Friday Commemoration consisting of an evocative parade through the streets and squares of the town adorned for the occasion with fragrant flowers and petals.
To enjoy your stay in Le Marche and experience local habits and traditions of this territory, I suggest you these three villas, equipped with every comfort.
Are you ready to leave?
Villa Doriana – Cagli (PU)
Casale del Sole – Cagli (PU)
Villa Elisabetta – Cagli (PU)