We’re in Le Marche region, in the province of Pesaro-Urbino and today destination is Fossombrone, a quiet town of Roman origins rising along the ancient Flaminia road. The area, which consists of a modern core and an older one, is located between the Cesane mountains and the hill Colle dei Cappuccini, while the beautiful Furlo Gorge appears in the background. Halfway between the Apennines and the Adriatic Sea, this location is a great starting point to explore the villages of Le Marche hinterland and relax in the sun at the beaches of Fano, a seaside city at just 25 km.
Here’s a short tour to discover this lovely town!
It’s the main street of Fossombrone, located in the historic centre. All along there are historical buildings and churches but also many shops, bars and restaurants. It is the meeting place for locals and thanks to the presence of porticoes which offer shelter in case of bad weather, this area becomes an open-air shopping centre. Here is where major events, exhibitions and performances are organised.
Palaces and Churches
Along Corso Garibaldi you can admire many palaces, such as the Town Hall, the fine Bishop’s Palace, the Palace Seta-Cattabeni also called Monte di Pietà (Pawnshop), the Dedi Palace, the Sturenghi Palace and the Corte Rossa (literally red court – XVI century), one of the ducal seats as well as the Corte Bassa (literally lower court), a sixteenth-century building that is mainly remembered as the residence of the Cardinal Giuliano Della Rovere, brother of the Duke Guidobaldo II. As for the religious buildings, let’s begin our visit from the baroque Church of St. Filippo, a former monastery that is now deconsecrated and serving the community as a concert and exhibition hall; the Church of St. Agostino with its cloisters; the town Cathedral, located at the end of the street facing the square Piazza Mazzini and the Church of St. Francesco.
Corte Alta or Ducal Palace
On the upper part of Fossombrone overlooking the historic centre, you’ll find the original core of the town, built by the Romans as a fortress around the years 200-300 BC. In this area there is a Renaissance palace called Corte Alta (literally high court) or also Ducal Palace. Started by the Malatesta in the thirteenth century, it was expanded with the contributions of the famous architect and painter Francesco di Giorgio Martini by the wish of the duke Federico da Montefeltro. Today it houses the Civic Archaeological Museum A. Vernarecci and the Municipal Art Gallery. A really great spot with an amazing panorama!
Going up from the Corte Alta by car or foot through a steep staircase, you’ll reach the Citadel, originated by the time of the barbarian raids. You can still admire the imposing ruins of the Malatestiano-feltresca Fortress from XIII-XV centuries. In case you get hungry, here you find a great inn La Rocca da Cinzia, where traditional dishes are revisited with a touch of originality but without altering the authentic flavours of local cooking.
The Corte Alta palace houses the Civic Museum A. Vernarecci with its rich archaeological section and the Municipal Art Gallery. The archaeological museum gathers material from the prehistoric, pre-Roman and Roman, Middle Ages and Renaissance periods. The Art Gallery offers a collection of paintings from various centuries (works by Federico Barocci, G.F. Guerrieri, Claudio Ridolfi etc.), drawings and engravings by great masters (such as Rembrandt, Albrecht Dürer, G.D. Tiepolo, Carracci, Salvator Rosa), ceramics ( XVI and XVIII centuries) and coins.
A prestigious art collection is the Quadreria Home Museum, that belonged to the notary Giuseppe Cesarini and is now of town property. Here you can admire the different rooms of a middle-class house of the first half of the twentieth century as well as sculptures and several Italian art paintings of the period between the two World Wars, with works by Carpi, Carena, Ropes, Marini, Messina, Morandi, Severini, Tosi and many others.
The archeological area of Forum Sempronii
In the area of San Martino del Piano, about 2 km north-east of today’s town centre, there are the remains of the old Roman city known as Forum Sempronii, literally ‘the Forum of Sempronio’ and it was therefore linked to commerce activities. All around the church of San Martino del Piano the excavation works have brought to light part of the consular Flaminia road, numerous arcaded buildings, few remains of the walls, a building partly used as thermal baths and a second large thermal building, dating back to the first century BC.
The Capuchin Convent
It’s located on top of the hill Colle dei Santi, also known as Colle dei Cappuccini, overlooking the town of Fossombrone. You’ll easily recognise it thanks to a large bright cross. This religious building, now shrine of the Blessed Benedetto Passionei, dates back to the sixteenth century and houses a convent of the Capuchin Franciscan Fathers. Inside this church is very simple and welcoming, but I definitely recommend a visit to enjoy the beautiful view and peace that this location offers. My advise to all reckless tourists for an unforgettable experience: park your car and reach the top of the hill by bike or foot.
Le Marmitte dei Giganti
Along the Metauro river, at about 2 km from Fossombrone in the hamlet of San Lazzaro, you’ll find a unique geological formation throughout Central Italy! It is a narrow depression with a depth of about 30 meters, carved by the river. Basically water current has used the pebbles dragged along as large chisels to shape the banks and carve out characteristic rounded cavities of different sizes (the diameter varies from 3 or 4 metres to less than a metre).
The Bridge on the River Metauro
Also called bridge of Diocletian, it dates back to the second half of the eighteenth century and has a single donkey back arch basing on the model of traditional medieval ‘devil’s bridges’. It connects the old side of the town with Sant’Antonio’s quarter. Take your time for photos and enjoy the priceless view when walking on the bridge!
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 Rosa – Fossombrone (PU)
Casa del Duca – Fossombrone (PU)
Casale della Rovere – Mondavio (PU)