Once again we’re travelling among the most exclusive places of Pesaro and Urbino province, in Le Marche region. Mondavio is a small town with less than 4000 inhabitants but it really has a lot to offer its visitors. Just think that it’s been included among the most beautiful villages of Italy and awarded the Orange Flag, a certificate for quality ecological tourism. Rising at the top a hill at 280 meters above sea level, it offers breathtaking views over the Apennines and the Adriatic cost, which is only 20 km away. And what about the old town, among the best kept ones in Le Marche region?
If you don’t know where to begin your trip, just keep on reading these few tips!
A visit to the Rocca Roveresca
It’s certainly the biggest attraction of Mondavio, an imposing fortress dominating the town and which makes it so fascinating! You can start your free visit from the moat, where you can see many war machines, catapults and mobile towers, while enjoying the views over the wonderful surrounding landscape. Entering the fortress it’s a throwback in past history. Follow the underground tunnels, winding stairs and find some installations reconstructing scenes of those ages. Inside you will find the Museum of Historical Reconstructions, divided into 8 different areas and presenting wax statues enacting scenes of daily life at the fortress: banquets, stables, armoury and even the torture chamber!
The building was constructed between 1482 and 1492 by Giovanni Della Rovere on a project by the architect Francesco di Giorgio Martini. This amazing architectural complex was an impenetrable fortress, a defensive stronghold for the entire area.
Enjoy the beauty of this place at sunset…there’s a kind of magic and romantic atmosphere!
A tour among palaces and churches
The whole town centre of Mondavio is enclosed within the city walls. Going through these walls, you will reach the central square Piazza Matteotti with the Town Hall and the Church of San Francesco with its Cloister. The story goes that the church was built by the will of Saint Francis of Assisi when he visited Mondavio in the 13th century. Inside the church there are valuable works of art, such as an important painting by Giuliano Persciutti depicting the Immaculate Conception. From the Cloister you access the Civic Museum, with a collection of paintings, furnishings and stone foundations from religious buildings. Another religious building is the church Insigne Collegiata di San Pietro e Paterniano, which houses several valuable works. Even the small streets of the town center are very characteristic, with their lovely courtyards and squares.
The local theatre – Teatro Apollo
In Piazza della Rovere, just in front of the Rocca Roveresca, lies the theatre Teatro Apollo, in Art Nouveau style. This late eighteenth-century building was taken from the former 15th century Church of San Filippo Neri, but its current appearance dates back to the last major renovation in 1887. The structure still preserves the perimeter walls and the underground crypt of the old church. Today, the theater has an important cultural and social purpose for local people. It holds up to 99 seats, divided between the stalls area and 38 tiers of boxes.
Walking around Mondavio
Moving towards the outskirts of the town, you’ll get to the Capuchin monastery, a proof of the architecture of the second half of the 16th century of the Friars Minor Capuchin. Do not miss the Castle of Sant’Andrea di Suasa, among the hills at about 10 km from Mondavio. The village is still surrounded by imposing medieval walls with a single entrance through an arch. It was built by Benedictine monks who hosted neighboring populations that lived and worked under their protection. You should definitely walk along the alleys and walls to enjoy the view and take souvenir pictures!
If you want to immerse yourself in the local tradition, watch out for these dates!
In July, don’t miss the Renaissance Evenings (Serate Rinascimentali). The visit to the castle is animated by a group of maidservants, musicians and armed men. You can taste the local food, excellent wines, cheeses and other Renaissance delicacies.
On 13th, 14th, 15th of August you can take part in the famous historical reenactment of the Wild Boar Hunting (Caccia al Cinghiale). The event follows the traditions and events happened in the 15th century, with banquets, dances, stories and shows, all in and around the castle. The most spectacular moment is the final fire simulation at the castle, accompanied by ancient music.
By the end of January, in the village of Sant’Andrea di Suasa a popular local festival takes place called the Pig Festival (Festa del Nino) dedicated to Sant’Antonio Abate, the protector of animals. The event includes tastings, meetings with food & drink experts, children’s animation, art and craft exhibitions, workshops about cold cuts processing and a street market with typical products.
Eating the Tacconi
Tacconi is the most famous dish of Mondavio’s cuisine, that you can only eat in this area. It’s a compact and rough hand made pasta very similar to tagliatelle, but prepared with bean flour. It is a poor product, typical of farming tradition, which is served today with various delicious sauces. And what’s as main course? A good dose of grilled meat!
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 Alis – Fano (PU)
Villa Monica – San Costanzo (PU)
Casale della Rovere – Mondavio (PU)