La Gola di Jana, dimora della Dea dei boschi
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Nestled in the Esino valley, between Mount San Vicino and the Sibillini Mountains where the Verdicchio vines grow (the precious “gold” of the city), MATELICA is known for its wine production, as well as for its precious honey and especially for oak honeydew. Also it is known for its saffron production.
Piazza Enrico Mattei (Enrico Mattei Square) is the core of the town, and is dedicated to the founder of ENI, who lived here. A monumental 16th-century fountain with an octagonal shape lies in its centre, built in white stone and designed by the Santa Casa di Loreto’s architect, Lattanzio Ventura of Urbino. Four statues of marine deities emerge from the central basin, and to them, locals have given affectionate nicknames: La Sirena (The Mermaid), Maccagnano, Biutino and La Veloce (The Fast One).
Some of the main buildings in Matelica also overlook Piazza Mattei. The Government Palace (Palazzo del Governo) forms one joined complex with Torre Civica (Municipal Tower) and has a loggia dating back to 1511, designed by Lombard architects Costantino and Giovan Battista da Lugano. In front of them, the City Hall (Palazzo Comunale) was built in the 19th century by Architect Vincenzo Ghinelli. It shows the municipality’s emblem inside its tympanum and under a statue representing the Virgin of Loreto. Beside the City Hall there is the Renaissance Palazzo Ottoni, which was built in 1472 on behalf of Alessandro and Ranuccio Ottoni by architects Costantino and Giovan Battista da Lugano. This palace, also, hosts the Municipal Art Gallery.
Along Matelica’s streets and alleys there are several churches that preserve valuable works of art. Among them, the Church of St. Francis (Chiesa di San Francesco), 1268, stands on the homonymous square. It is rich in 15th-century art such as the most important franciscan hagiographic cycle of the Marche region, while Saint Maria Assunta Cathedral boasts a small and precious 18th-century crucifix in wood and silver by Giovanni Giardini, born in Forlì and known for the fineness of his workmanship. Unmissable the Church of the Beata Mattia, built in 1225 and destination of pilgrimages, and also the beautiful Church of St. Agostino dating back to the 13th century with its beautiful Gothic entrance.
The Municipal Theatre (Teatro Comunale) was designed by the same architect of the Scala di Milano, Giuseppe Piermarini, and dates back to 1805. Its structure is impressive for its great elegance, with three orders of boxes plus the gallery. Inside there is the Foyer Wine Shop, a wine tasting point of the “Verdicchio di Matelica”. Moreover, it is also possible to pay a visit to the archaeological area of the ancient Roman thermal baths of the city as well as a polychrome mosaic of an ancient Roman domus.
Palazzo Piersanti hosts the homonymous museum, pride of the city. Its name comes from Venanzio Filippo Piersanti’s collections donated in 1901 to the so-called Capitolo della Cattedrale, that is the organisation managing the Cathedral. Among the notable works preserved here, there are paintings by Bellini, Antonio da Fabriano, Francesco di Gentile da Fabriano, Salvator Rosa, and Carlo Maratta, along with precious silver pieces, and rare and valuable furniture.
Also the Archaeological Museum (Museo Archeologico) is not be missed: set up inside Palazzo Finaguerra, it focuses on the Piceni civilization, and displays rich grave goods from tombs dating back to the 8th-9th century BC. Exceptionally interesting, also due to its rarity, is the marble spherical solar clock with inscriptions in Greek, known as Globo di Matelica, dated between the 1st and 2nd century AD.
The village of Braccano is a unique gem: it is an original open-air museum, with about 70 murals by various artists painted on the houses’ facades. Also another museum is located here: it’s the Museum of Resistance and Culture of Territory. For the lovers of nature and hiking, from Braccano a lot of routes start towards the Regional Nature Reserve of Mt. San Vicino and Mt. Canfaito.
Matelica is the setting of the International Folklore Festival, a celebration where people can share their different cultures and religions, all united in a great show of music and colours. Every summer, the event features eight groups from every continent, performing traditional dances and songs from all over the world.
Have fun by taking part in one of the most entertaining “rituals” of the true locals: clear your mind and warm up your leg muscles…3, 2, 1 go! You have to take seven laps around the town’s fountain to win a characteristic and ambitious prize: the so-called “patente da mattu” (“the crazy person license”)!
It is a delightful village of about 150 inhabitants, decorated with 70 murals. While walking around the houses and barns, you can see colourful drawings by the students of the Academy of Macerata and the Academy of Brera, with the participation of artists from all over the world. The Museum of Resistance and Culture of Territory is also located here ,and for the lovers of nature and hiking, Braccano is a good start to walk towards the Regional Nature Reserve of Mt. San Vicino and Mt. Canfaito.
Nature’s woders and strengths all in one place! This magical and pleasant gorge, framed in the Regional Nature Reserve of Mt. San Vicino and Mt. Canfaito, offers an amazing series of rock jumps. Here, the waters form small, crystal-clear pools, painting a magnificent, lively picture.
It goes without saying that the knowledge of a place is also possible through the experimentation of its flavours. So, you must indulge in the tasting of a good glass of Verdicchio! This white wine, certified with DOC (controlled designation of origin) and DOCG (controlled and guaranteed designation of origin) labels, is actually a gem of the territory, as it comes from a native vine known throughout the world for the quality of its fruit! You can taste it at the Theatre “G. Piermarini” which hosts the municipal wine shop Foyer.
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