Terre d’Apiro: dalle acque alle rocce
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Mount San Vicino
Mount San Vicino dominates the valley with its 1,484 meters above sea level and stands out against the background of the city of APIRO. The mountain has a peculiarity: when seen from the South, it has a camel hump shape; from the North it assumes a tricuspid shape; from the East or West it resembles an extinct volcano. Given it isolated position, the mountain is easily distinguishable even from very far away and from its top you can enjoy the view of a vast landscape that extends all the way to Dalmatia.
In the past it was taken as a reference and orientation by sailors and fishermen of the Adriatic Sea as it is clearly visible off the coast.
Near the summit, which can be reached with marked hiking trails, there is a large iron cross; it is possible to start from the Prati di San Vicino (located South of the summit) or – with a greater difference in height – from Pian dell’Elmo (located North).
Mount San Vicino and the surrounding area are part of the Monte San Vicino and Monte Canfaito SPA (Special Protection Area), established as part of the European Natura 2000 network.
Lake Castreccioni (or Lake Cingoli)
Lake Cingoli or Lake Castreccioni is an artificial basin created by a dam on the River Musone in the 1980s (1987).
The environment, with the silouhette of the mountains surrounding the water mirror, is particularly suggestive, rich in aquatic wildlife and migratory birds.
On the banks there are several farmhouses and bars and it is possible to navigate with electric and pedal boats.
The Monastery of Santa Maria Maddalena and the adjoining monastic church of Santo Stefano, whose origins date back to 1300, was heavily affected by the 2016 earthquake, which also forced the last cloistered Sisters to evacuate the monastery. They were welcomed in the nearby community of Filottrano.
Several projects and ideas were planned for the restoration and future destination of the towering and important structure. Over the years, it has also been home to a kindergarten and an embroidery school. Its enclosure walls are part of the castle walls of the town.
The walls, dating back to the 12th century, surround the historic center and are well preserved: it is still possible to see the five polygonal shaped towers that rise majestically, as if to protect the architectural beauties of the village.
There is no shortage of important buildings, among which there are many religious buildings of great value:
the Church of Santa Felicita, a Romanesque building that preserves the Gothic inscription “1256” on the archivolt of the small portal, a date that historians agree refers to the year the portal was built;
the Church and the former Convent of San Francesco within the walls, dating back to the 11th century, the current location of the Municipal art gallery;
the Church of the Capuchins, built in 1546, whose brick-cobbled inner courtyard encloses the cloister and the well;
the Church of the Madonna della Misericordia, built in the 14th century around a frescoed wall called “Figura”, attributed to painter Ottaviani Nelli di Martino da Gubbio (1375-1444);
the Collegiate Church of Sant’Urbano, in pure Baroque style, is the treause trove of a 17th-century altarpiece placed on the high altar. It depicts the Coronation of the Virgin and St. Pope Urban I, by painter Angelo Scoccianti di Andrea.
Furthermore, the 17th-century Collection Sant’Urbano is kept in the sacristy. It also preserves a Callido organ from 1771 and wooden carvings by sculptor Andrea Scoccianti, also known as Raffaello delle Fogliarelle (1640-1700);
the Monastery of Santa Maria Maddalena, home to an embroidery school until not too long ago; the monastic church of Santo Stefano, dating back to before 1300 and the Church of San Michele Arcangelo and its very particular “alley of the catacombs”;
to the South of the town is the Church of San Salvatore and Santa Maria ad Nives, erected at 513 meters above sea level on a panoramic hill, while, at a short distance from the town, the main attraction is the Abbey of Sant’Urbano, consecrated in 1086 but dating back to before the year 1000;
the Church of San Francesco delle Favete is located a few kilometers from Apiro: its importance comes from the tradition that says Saint Francis of Assisi stopped here and performed various miracles in these places.
Not only places of worship, there are also other buildings of great interest: the Palazzo dei Priori (Municipal Palace), a massive quadrangular building built in 1246 and current seat of the Municipality;
the San Sebastiano Historical Archive and the prestigious collection of works of great value ranging from 1213 to 1900 kept inside;
important for the Performing Arts is the presence of the Mestica theater, with its horseshoe-shaped hall, with two tiers of boxes and a balcony gallery.
Here in Apiro you can not only enjoy the view, but there are also several initiatives dedicated to tradition.
Since 1970, every year, from 8 to 15 August, Apiro hosts Terranostra, a folkloric event during which groups from different parts of the world perform with their music and their colors, becoming ambassadors of international customs and traditions.
Also not to be missed is the appointment with the Polenta Festival, scheduled for the last weekend of September. It is an event that brings back the typical life of the past centuries, with food stands serving the very tasty “polenta”, made according to tradition.
Among other events, the traditional preparation of the Artistic Altar of the Candles is particularly relevant: for two days prior to the carnival, the monstrance with the consecrated host is placed on an altar for Eucharistic adoration. The altar is specifically set up with hundreds of candles, representing a subject that changes every year.
If rest is what you are looking for, then you must take advantage of a stop at the Pian dell’Elmo campsite. You can enjoy the tranquility of the mountain and then choose to try your hand at climbing the summit of Mount San Vicino, organize an excursion to discover gorges and unspoiled corners … and why not, even on horseback!
If the sun is hot, the solution is to dive into one of the many pools of the water park: in the shade of a centuries-old pine forest you will find refreshment and also enjoy the splendid view of the valley!
If you want to discover local art and architecture, then a visit to the medieval Abbey of Sant’Urbano is a must. With its highly original style and a three-storey floor plan, immersed in lush countryside, it houses the “Mystery of the Luminous Eye”, which takes place on May 24 every year. Ready to find out?
It doesn’t matter when you arrive: in the winter Apiro attracts visitors thanks to a rich and captivating theatrical season, the Living Nativity and the Pasquella; in the summer thanks to the historic Polenta Festival and the very famous and eclectic International Folklore Festival “Terranostra”.
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