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Fermo, Province of Fermo, Marche

A splendidly preserved medieval town, Fermo rises at the foot of the Sabulo Hill, 6 km from the sea. Its unmistakable skyline is dominated by the profile of the Cathedral, and the palaces that still bear witness of its grorious medieval past, when it was the largest town in the region and capital of a Marquisdom going as far as Vasto in Southern Abruzzo.

Info

  • Altitude: 319 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 37,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 63023
  • Phone Area Code: 0734
  • Patron Saint: Santa Maria Assunta, celebrated on 15th August
  • GPS Coordinates: 43°9'56"N 13°43'27"E

Administrative Division

The comune includes the following Frazioni & Localities: Boara, Camera, Cantagallo, Capodarco, Cartiera di Tenna, Campiglione, Ete Palazzina, Faleriense, Gabbiano, Girola, Lido di Fermo, Madonnetta d'Ete, Marina Palmense, Moie, Molini Tenna, Montesecco, Parete, Pompeiana, Ponte Ete Vivo, Sacri Cuori, Salette, Salvano, San Biagio, San Lorenzo, San Marco, San Michele, San Tommaso, Santa Caterina, Torre di Palme, Villa San Claudio, San Girolamo, Santa Petronilla.

History

Fermo was inhabited since the 11th century BC by Villanovian people, later by the Piceni and subsequently became a foederata civitas (ally) of Rome, to which it remained loyal during both the second Punic war and the Social war, and later became an important Roman municipium in the Quinta Regio or Picenum.

After the fall of the Roman Empire and a dark period of invasions, in the year 825 AD Lothair I, king of Italy and later Holy Roman Emperor, established in Fermo the first public school in Italy, and made it the capital of the Marca Fermana going from the Musone to the Pescara river.

In 1199 Fermo became a free Commune, and in the following centuries was often at war with nearby castles; at that time the mighty fortress called Rocca di Girfalco was erected, which was to be razed to the ground during a rebellion of the population in 1445 as a symbol of the hideous feudal power.

What to see

  • Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, built in 1227 by architect Giorgio da Como on the site of a previous Christian temple of the 5th century AD which had been destroyed in 1176 by Christian of Mainz, a chancellor of Frederick I Barbarossa. The cathedral is a fusion of Romanesque and Gothic styles. The bronze doors, placed in 1980, are a creation of Aldo Sergiacomi from Offida. The facade, which is a national monument, has a wonderful rose window carved in 1348 by Giacomo Palmieri. To the left a massive bell tower with 4 levels of two bilobate windows each. Inside the cathedral, of great interest is an early Christian mosaic placed before the presbyterium, and the Altar of the Holy Crucifix, where the urn preserving the body of Blessed Adamo is placed, surrounded by four wooden statues representing the cardinal virtues Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance. Through a stairway near the first pillar to the right, it is possible to descend into the Ipogeo, where the traces of the previous 3 churches can be seen. In this ambient over 400 archaeological items are preserved, from Picenian to the medieval times.
  • The Roman Cisterns, a great example of Roman hydraulic engineering, which supplied and distributed water to the whole town.
  • The Teatro dell'Aquila, built between 1780 and 1790, is still today among the largest, most prestigious theatrical centres in the Marche Region, seating 870 people. Of great interest the chandelier in wrought iron and gilded wood, and the frescoed ceiling, painted with mythological scenes.
  • The Musei Scientifici hosted in Villa Vitali, a splendid mansion built by a local family in the early 19th century outside the city walls. The Villa hosts the Silvio Zavatti Ethnographic Polar Museum, preserving items from Zavatti's explorations in the Arctic, the Tommaso Salvadori Ornithological Museum, a private collection of embalmed birds, some of which extremely rare today, and the Sala della Meteorite, where a meteorite that fell in the countryside of Fermo on 25 September 1996 can be seen.
  • The Palazzo dei Priori, situated in Piazza del Popolo, built in the late 13th century merging some previous buildings, which explains the irregular roof outline, was completed in its present form during the Renaissance. The facade is parted into three horizontal and vertical sections, and a double stairway leads to the central entrance; before the door a bronze statue representing Pope Sistus V is placed, a work of Jacopo Sansovino. Presently the Palace hosts the Pinacoteca Comunale, a rich collection of paintings including masterpieces as the Histories of St. Lucy by Jacobello del Fiore and the Nativity of Pieter Paul Rubens. Of great interest is also the Sala del Mappamondo, created in 1688 by Cardinal Decio Azzolino, a huge library with oakwood furniture preserving 1250 precious volumes belonging to physician Romolo Speziali, the personal doctor of Queen Christina of Sweden, and an imposing globe with a diameter of 185 cm made in 1713 on royal Fabriano paper by geographer Abate Moroncelli of Venice.

Events

  • July and August, Antique market every Thursday
  • 15th August, Palio dell'Assunta, with historical re-enactment, international amateur cycling competitions, Guitar Festival.

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