San Severino is a city of a thousand stories, as harmonious as its square, one cannot remain indifferent without visiting it. It draws its origins from the ancient Septempeda, an important Roman colony due to its position on the road that connected the Adriatic to the Flaminia. From the Castle you can enjoy an incomparable view, and the countryside, dotted with farmhouses, is the constant image that accompanies this stage, between shady rows of trees and the ancient villas that announce the arrival in Treia. The hiking route is the longest of the way; it crosses stretches of asphalted roads and cart tracks, and due to its distance and difference in height, it requires good training and an aptitude for walking.
A fundamental stop on the way in the Marche region is San Severino Marche, formerly known as the Roman municipality of Septempeda, located along the diverticulum of the Via Flaminia that connected Rome with Ancona. The medieval nucleus built on Mount Nero – the Castrum Regale – from which the municipal tower and the bell tower of the old Cathedral still stand today, underwent a great development from an economic point of view starting from the 13th century. The ancient castle expanded at the foot of the northern slope of Mount Nero, giving rise to the Platea markets – today the magnificent Piazza del Popolo – with a perfect elliptical shape and a new city center. The economic fortune of the city brought a rich artistic flowering, with the workshops of the painters Lorenzo and Jacopo Salimbeni, of Lorenzo D’Alessandro and of the sculptor Domenico Indivini. Raised to the rank of city by Sixtus V in 1586, with the restoration of the bishop’s seat, San Severino experienced a reinvigorated cultural season in the 17th century which stopped only at the end of the 19th century.
Leaving San Severino Marche, walking for 3.1 km, the ancient Roman-Lauretana road touches the site of the Roman city of Septempeda, in the locality of Pieve. The town hall, mentioned by Strabone and Pliny the Elder, gives its name to Street Septempedana, a diversion of the via Flaminia which originates in Nocera Umbra to reach Ancona. The ancient route is a fundamental infrastructure connecting the city with the East and the northern Adriatic and favored the economic development of this area throughout the Middle Ages, remaining the fundamental director of trade and pilgrimages. With the lack of military control of the borders guaranteed by the Roman Empire, the roads at the bottom of the valley became unsafe. Thus, the cities developed on the hills, giving rise to the Free Municipalities, and the roads, without prejudice to the direction, moved mostly in the ridge position.
Continuing the walk for 8.7 km to Borgianelle.
Here begins a short stretch of the road called Septempedana that from San Severino Marche, flanking the Potenza in the Berta district and crossing the territory of the Municipality of Treia, flows into Santa Maria in Selva, just before Villa Potenza. It is a strategic segment, but largely diversified compared to the ancient diverticulum of the Via Flaminia that, in Roman times, detached itself from the valley floor to go up to Montecchio (today Treia) and reach Osimo and Ancona: in the Middle Ages, running parallel to Potenza in the direction of the Macerata Pass (or Villa Potenza), Recanati and Loreto, it allowed pilgrims in transit an easy path between Rome and Loreto. It is defined in contemporary sources as “strata magistra”.
3- VILLA VALCERASA
The next stop is the Convent of Valcerasa.
Built in the second half of the 14th century by the followers of Angelo Clareno in the woods where the blessed Pietro da Treia, a follower of San Francesco, went to pray, it constitutes one of the most important testimonies of his life. Located near the main road in the direction of San Severino on one side and Loreto on the other, the humble convent of the Clareni was renovated in the mid-15th century to become a hospice for the rest and relaxation of travelers and pilgrims, especially nobles and high prelates. In 1449 Pope Nicholas V stopped there, the first pontiff who went to visit the Holy House of Loreto and, in March 1523, the Duchess of Camerino Caterina Cybo Varano, for whose reception the hospice was enriched with rich drapes and furnishings. It was transformed into a villa in the 18th century and a splendid church with a bell tower still visible today was annexed to it.
The penultimate stretch of this third stage arrives at Villa Spada.
It is a monumental complex not inserted along the ancient route of the Roman-Lauretan road, but of undoubted landscape, historical and cultural interest as it consists of perfectly harmonized buildings and green spaces, evidence of a history spanning more than a thousand years. The villa, built by the neoclassical architect Giuseppe Valadier in 1815, takes its name from the most illustrious of its owners, Lavinio de ‘Medici Spada, and stands on the site of a pre-existing Capuchin convent built starting from 1578, which today gives its name to forest of the capuchins. It is in turn built around the church of San Savino, the first evidence of which dates back to the first decades of the 11th century.
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