Sentieri monastici, la Via per Valdicastro
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POGGIO SAN VICINO is a small village that rises along a ridge between the small hills that rise under Mount San Vicino, on whose summit of about 1500 meters above sea level you can enjoy a magnificent view. The wide views and the clean air make it an ideal place for those who love peace and natural beauty.
Precisely because of its position, Poggio San Vicino almost seems enchanted and suspended in time. It can be fully appreciated and experienced in all seasons: for the abundant snowfalls in winter, for the flowery landscape of brooms in spring, for walks immersed in nature and outdoor activities during the summer, for the suggestive foliage in autumn.
There are several natural trails to choose from in the municipal area. Among these stand out the so-called Path of Ginocchielli of San Romualdo, along which you can be fascinated by the ancient popular belief that describes the place as the site of a miracle, and by the suggestive Path of the Valley of the Water Mills.
Perhaps it owes its origins to a Roman settlement and to the ancient fortifications that characterized the appearance of the town in the past. Nowadays, the only remnant is a robust, recently restored Civic Tower located on the highest point of the Poggio.
Definitely worth a visit is Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta, built between 1876 and 1888 on the area of the building that preceded it, the vestiges of which remain inside. The facade is brick with a four-pillar spire and ending in a large apse, while a wooden Christ on the cross is venerated in a niche, a valuable Florentine work of the 16th century with excellent modeling work. The, along Viale Leopardi you arrive at Church of St. John the Evangelist and St. John the Baptist (Chiesa dei Santi Giovanni Evangelista e Giovanni Battista), which bears the coat of arms of the basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano above the portal, while inside it preserves frescoes from 1557 attributed to Andrea de Magistris.
The history of this village is full of fascinating and definitely relevant events. The original settlement, probably built in Roman times as a defensive outpost of the colony of Tufficum, was called Podium Tufficanum, but from the early Middle Ages it was known as Ficano, a name that it kept until 1927. Fortified by the Community of Apiro, Ficano fulfilled the task of an advanced lookout against the raids of Matelica and Fabriano. The ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the territory belonged to the bishop of Camerino, but a certain influence was also exerted on it by the Abbey of Val di Castro.
Starting from the first decades of the 14th century, Ficano entered the orbit of interest of Smeduccio di Nuzio di Rinaldo. The village was donated to him and it remained in his hands until 1426, albeit with several interruptions.
It was then by the will of Pope Eugene IV that the castle passed under the jurisdiction of San Severino for over three centuries, until 1808. With the proclamation of the Italic Kingdom, the castel went on to represent an autonomous Municipality in the Tolentino district. During the Restoration period, it was registered in the district of San Severino. Ten years later it was included in the Delegation of Macerata and Camerino and, in 1860, with the unification of Italy, it was registered in the Province and District of Macerata.
In 1927 the Municipality changed its name to Poggio San Vicino but in 1929 it was suppressed and aggregated to Apiro. Twenty years later, in 1949, it returned to being an autonomous Municipality.
Would you like to retrace the ancient road trodden by the saint to get to build the hermitage of Val di Castro? Popular belief has it that a miracle occurred in correspondence to a boulder lying along the road: right here the saint would have crossed paths with the devil, who made the mules that transported the columns to the hermitage slip. The animals came out incredibly unscathed but left knee prints right on the boulder, where they are still visible.
All the charm of a not-too-distant past unfolds along this path among the ancient buildings used to grind wheat. The path follows the remains of two mills and a third that has been renovated and is now being used as a B&B. The three sites are connected by the same channel of water that flows into the San Clemente Valley, which houses two other mills.
Surprise! Regenerate your mind and body while walking in the greenery, and heading towards the old entrance to the Val Di Castro. You’ll see traces of an old manganese mine, a small testimony of the history of the Italian mining industry.
Take part in this event between August and September that animates the streets of the town with pleasant moments of entertainment.
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