Piobbico is a small town of medieval origin in the province of Pesaro Urbino, in Le Marche hinterland at the borderline with Umbria region. Situated on a valley between the Nerone and Montiego Mounts, in a green landscape with woods and waters of the Candigliano and Biscubio rivers, it is the perfect place to breathe clean air and enjoy the picturesque views of the Umbria- Le Marche appennine.
The historic centre
Despite its size, the historic centre of this town will surprise you with truly interesting attractions, including religious buildings, palaces and medieval architectures. In the street Via Roma there is one of the jewels of Piobbico, the Church of St. Stefano alla Murata. The current neoclassical makeover dates back to the end of the eighteenth century, but inside it preserves works of great value belonging to the ancient site destroyed by an earthquake. An example is the Baroque’s work depicting ‘The Holy Family Escape to Egypt’. Along this street, you will see also a reconstruction of a mill once used to produce blue colouring.
Beyond the bridge over the Candigliano river you get to Via Mercatale, the place of the ancient market, and Via Garibaldi, where you can admire the so called ‘porte del morto’ (doors of the dead), open at funerals to take in the body and then shut down. At the end of the road there’s the Church of St. Anthony overlooking the square of the same name. The Church of San Pietro al Borghetto was the church of the ancient medieval village, but it was restored in the seventeenth century, while the Shrine of Santa Maria in Val d’Abisso, at the foot of Nerone Mount, is the oldest in the territory and dates back to the eleventh century.
The Brancaleoni Castle
It is definitely the top attraction of the town dominating the whole village. It was the residence of the noble Brancaleoni family, that occupied the existing building from the thirteenth century and made improvements till it became what it currently looks like between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The gothic entrance is dominated by the Clock Tower, which goes counter-clockwise. Once you enter, you can walk in the Public Square, visit the octagonal church of St. Carlo Borromeo rich in stucco decorations, frescoes and secret passages. The Courtyard of Honour, with a rectangular shape, recalls the one of the Ducal Palace in Urbino. The building consists of 130 rooms, many of them decorated with frescos and stucco finishings. On the ground floor there’s the Museum of Ancient Traditions, where are preserved the natural essences for the staining of the wool, in addition to the tools from farm civilization. In some of the rooms there are exhibitions of ceramics found inside the castle, archeological findings, a collection of numismatics and an ornithological section, with species of the Nerone Mount wildlife. The oldest part of the complex houses the Fossil Museum of Nerone Mount and at the basement the speleological section. If you want to visit the castle inside, you should know that visits are always guided and upon reservation.
Castles and fortresses
In the mountain areas at few km from the town you will find the remains of several hermitages, fortresses and castles, many of them belonging to the Brancaleoni family and the Ubaldini family of Apecchio. One of the most important is the hermitage of Santa Maria di Morimondo, immersed in the green. This building was chosen as a place of burial by many Brancaleoni members and today you can just see a cumulation of ruins.
On the Nerone massif there are the ruins of Rocca Leonella and Mondelacasa, known as the Muracci. It is the ancient residence of the Brancaleoni family who lived there until the middle of 1300. On the reliefs around the hamlet of Monteforno there are the remains of the Castle of Castiglione S. Bartolo, while on the Croce Mount there are the ruins of the Castle of the Pecorari, partly demolished in 1930 to build a farmhouse.
Those who love outdoor sport activities cannot get bored here: trekking, fishing, horse riding, cycling and skiing in the winter months… all this being surrounded by a pristine nature! You’ll feel like in a high mountain town, but if you want to spend a day at the sea, the coast is just at one hour drive! But let’s go back talking about Nerone Mount and the many excursions available, some of which are of great difficulty. On the north-east side at 1050 metres of height, there’s the cave of the Tassare. It can be reached starting from Serravalle di Carda and then develops with a series of galleries, so equipment is needed. For those who are fond of canyoning, I recommend Fosso del Presale, a small creek that originates from Nerone Mount and which offers in its central part a well-equipped and easy path. The highest peak is 25 metres. Finally, the ski resort of Nerone Mount between 1290 and 1430 metres, with a 6 km track, a snowpark dedicated to snowboard and a bob track. Don’t miss the shelter serving tasting dishes of the local tradition.
And after such a hard training, what’s better than excellent food?! Homemade pasta is the central part of every menu, especially passatelli and tagliatelle seasoned with local mushrooms and truffles. A specialty of this place is the polenta alla carbonara (cornmeal mush) and the crostolo, a fried piadina served with cured meat and cheese. Main courses are meat-based: grilled rabbit (coniglio in porchetta), grilled pork, stuffed pigeon and chicken cacciatore, usually served with roasted potatoes, herbs and grilled vegetables. The typical sweet is bostrengo, prepared with poor ingredients: stale bread boiled in milk, wheat and corn flour, eggs, coffee and sugar. A very special drink is the pruspino, a liqueur made from sloes. Usually it is served after meals as a digestif!
A fun fact!
Arriving in Piobbico you will find a very special welcoming street sign indicating the National Association of the Ugly.
Actually the Club of the Ugly was founded in 1879 and it has now more than 30 thousand members and 25 offices all around the world.
Its message is reducing the cult of beauty in modern society. Over the years, the club has been able to gain great visibility even among celebrities such as Giulio Andreotti, Maurizio Costanzo, Mike Bongiorno, Paolo Bonolis, Pippo Franco, Piero Badaloni, Alessandro Cecchi Paone, Gerry Scotti, Maria Amelia Monti, Cinzia De Ponti, etc.
The Festival of Spingolo mushroom and the live music concert In Rock Piobbico open the event season in May. In June there is the Infiorata, called “La Fiorita” and during the religious procession of Corpus Christi the streets of the town are decorated with flowers as a long carpet. During summertime, the most important events are Cantine Jazz, Dilettanti allo Sbaraglio and Festa della Montagna (Mount festival), with organized excursions, cycling tours, and lots of entertainment activities for the little ones. In August there is the Renaissance Parade and the Palio della Pannocchia with shows, visits to the Brancaleoni Castle and costume parade. Finally, the Festival of Polentone alla Carbonara, the Feast of the Ugly and the folkloristic procession of Le Rocche.
To enjoy your stay and experience local habits and traditions of the Italian peninsula, I suggest you these three villas, equipped with every comfort.
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