Pollenza is a small town located in the province of Macerata in Le Marche region. North it is delimited by the river Potenza and south by the river Chienti. It is located at around 341 m above sea level and it is surrounded by a hilly landscape. The area boasts more than five hundred years of arts and handicrafts, excelling at first in ceramics and earthenware, then in wood processing which has now evolved in antique art and restoration of antique furniture.
The town centre
The historic centre of Pollenza hosts monuments and churches of great value. The Church of San Giuseppe is near the Monastery of the Clarisse (Poor Clares) which has very ancient origins. The facade is characterized by a sixteenth century portal with stylised flowers, while the interior consists of a single nave with three altars in Baroque style. The Church of Immacolata Concezione (Immaculate Conception) is located in Piazza della Libertà and it stands out for its neoclassical facade. The Church of San Biagio, located near Porta della Croce, has a cross plant. It is open only during religious services. In the main square, within the Town Hall consisting of an elegant Baroque portal and a Civic Tower, there is the XVII century Theatre Giuseppe Verdi. It was designed by Ireneo Aleandri, designer of the Sphaeristerium of Macerata and of the New Theatre of Spoleto. From the theatre, crossing a beautiful cloister, you can enter the Church of the Saints Francis and Antonio. Inside you’ll find a valuable altarpiece depicting St. Anthony of Padua, painted on a gold background by the great master Lorenzo D’Alessandro from San Severino. Among the historic buildings not to be missed there’s Palazzo Cento, an ancient building dating back to the sixteenth century. Today it houses the Museum of Vespa, the Library, the Municipal Art Gallery and the Civic Museum with a collection of historical records of the city, from the Roman age till present times, including a beautiful pagan altar, locally produced ceramics, belongings of the Cento family and a curious reproduction of the old town centre. The most important monument in the town of Pollenza is the Abbey of Rambona located at a short distance from the historic centre. During High Middle Ages, this monastery exercised its jurisdiction over a large area that stretched from the slopes of the Sibillini mountains to the mouth of the Potenza River. Inside you can admire numerous works; it is open from Monday to Friday and during the weekend many guided tours are organised.
The local cuisine
The typical products of the province of Macerata reflect its rural tradition. The production of cheeses and cured meats is very rich: lonza (pork loin), salami, coppa (air-cured pork meat), ciauscolo (a variety of Italian salami), pecorino and ricotta cheese. The vincisgrassi (a type of regional lasagne) is the typical dish of Le Marche cuisine. Among the first courses, it’s also appropriate to mention the “gnocchi con la papera” (potato dumplings with duck sauce) and the “calcioni di magro”, large hand-made ravioli, stuffed with sheep ricotta cheese and nutmeg accompanied by a meat sauce flavoured with marjoram. Among the second courses, you should try the “pollo in potacchio” or “macerata style”, tender chicken pan-cooked with tomato sauce, onion, pepper, garlic, rosemary and white wine. Another typical dish is the so called “parmigiana di gobbi” prepared with boiled cardoon, then fried with the addition of bechamel sauce and parmesan. Among the local sweets there are the Cavallucci of Apiro, the Torrone of Camerino, the Easter Pizza, the Calcione of Treia, biscuits with must and the Sughitti (made with must, flour and corn), the Serpe, a serpent-shaped cake consisting of pastry with chocolate filling. Another excellent product is the wildflower honey of the Sibillini Mountains. All can be accompanied by great wines such as the classic white Bianco dei Colli Maceratesi, the Verdicchio di Matelica, the red Rosso Piceno and the Vernaccia di Serrapetrona.
Among the most relevant events organised in town, there is the exhibition of handicrafts, antiques and art restoration which is held every year in the centre of Pollenza. For two weeks in July, the town becomes a real showcase with workshops of cabinetmakers and antique shops open until late at night. On this occasion many typical dishes from Le Marche can be found and tasted in the various food stands of the historic centre. In late June there’s the famous Palio di San Giovanni, during which the various districts compete in ancient folk games such as the break of the pine cone, the sack race and much more. There are also festivals linked to local products, such as “Cantine e castagnata a Pollenza” (literally cellars and roasted chestnuts). All cellars of the town are open to visitors for the tasting of local wines and eat cold cuts, cheeses, polenta (cornmeal mush), chestnuts and any sort of sweet. But that’s not all! Live concerts of folk bands, jugglers, acrobats and any kind of entertainment for all ages is organised. The Town of Pollenza also proposes theatre shows such as works of prose, plays, concerts and musicals. There are also art exhibitions, especially during the summer months!
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.
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Casa Polly – Pollenza (MC)
Casale Francesca – Morrovalle (MC)
Casa Sant Antonio – Mogliano Marche (MC)