From Passo di Treia, continue along what will be the last part of this ancient road and you will reach S. Maria in Selva. Having faced a first section of the S.P. 361, the Septempedana will soon leave room for secondary roads and cart tracks, along the cultivated countryside. You will discover the beautiful paths that often appear between the mountains and the sea, as precious as the stories they tell. These roads recall the historical need to create connections, and the need to express that fundamental union between the silent places of the hills and the lively valleys, through the hill villages. The route is easily accessible and suitable for all skill levels.
The Montecchio Pass (now Passo di Treia) is a few kilometers from the ancient Trea, a military colony and Roman municipality located on the crest of a hill which overlooks a vast horizon from the Apennines to the Adriatic. In the Middle Ages, when it surrounded itself with imposing walls, “Trea” changed its name to Monticulum, then to Montecchio. The Pass, arranged along a road frequented by soldiers, captains, adventurers, was crossed in 1382 by the army of Louis I of Anjou and Amedeo VI of Savoy traveling from Ancona to Camerino. In the last centuries of the Middle Ages it was a place of refreshment and accommodation for pilgrims in transit to or from Loreto, who also had the nearby convent of the Clareni di Valcerasa as a point of reference.
FROM SANTA MARIA IN SELVA TOWARDS THE 16TH-CENTURY VIA LAURETANA
We have reached the end of the ancient via Romano-Lauretana, but it is not the end of the road. You will have to continue as other important stories always continue, to get to where the two paths, the ancient medieval road and the 16th-century road, join again up to Loreto. The entire path lost in time, from Serravalle di Chienti to Loreto, has been stitched up and reinterpreted through the new symbolic and functional vision of the landscapes crossed. Back on the S.P. 361 you reach the important archaeological site of Helvia Recina, in Villa Potenza, Macerata. Then you go back to walk near the Potenza River, until you cross the next signs of the Via Lauretana.
Some Historical Notes on Santa Maria in Selva
The name of the current church, built on the ruins of a building built in 1042, derives from the remote presence of extensive forests and dense woods along the banks of the Potenza River and on the slope of the surrounding hills. In 1096 it was aggregated to the Rambona Abbey, an important landmark for the religious and cultural development of the area. A few kilometers away is theMacerata Pass (today Villa Potenza), the meeting point between the medieval route and the late 16th-century road, commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII near the jubilee year 1575 to allow the passage of carriages on the route between the “holy cities” of Rome and Loreto. For those who come from Loreto, this is the beginning of the route along which myriads of pilgrims headed to Rome between the Late-Middle Ages and the early modern age began. This is a particularly suggestive segment of the “straight street” that connected Loreto with the capital of Christianity, inserted in the international network of medieval pilgrimages, which allows you to know places of considerable religious importance such as the convent of Renacavata near Camerino, cradle of the Capuchin Order and, touching small villages and important cities of art such as San Severino Marche and Camerino, to reach the Apennine ridge.
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