Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Marche Itineraries

The Renaissance in Urbino, Fortresses, Castles and Myths

The Renaissance in Marche is world renowned Raphael, Urbino and especially Lorenzo Lotto, with the Loreto Sanctuary as regional symbol of perfection for this era.

Sponsored by the “Signori” of Montefeltro and Urbino, anxious to adorn their courts with great works to symbolize their power and wealth, other great artists of the Renaissance called Marche their home at one time or another: Piero della Francesca, Francesco di Giorgio Martini, Bramante, Signorelli, Pomarancio, Melozzo da Forlì, Titian and Paolo Uccello.

The Church also enriched sanctuaries and other places of worship with art designed to attract worshippers with Loreto, home of the Virgin Mary, holding, to this day, the most valuable works, thanks artists and engineers “commuting” between Saint Peter’s in Rome and Loreto, in a continuous cultural and creative effort.

Lorenzo Lotto has opportunities to travel as well and is influenced by other renaissance masters; but it is here in Marche that much of his work can be found on an itinerary that includes several churches and picture galleries.

Highlights National Gallery in Urbino, truffle hunt, production and dinner, Ancona historic center, Rosso Conero wine tasting, Jesi picture gallery, Loreto sanctuary-fortress, Recanati old town, picture gallery and olive oil mill.

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Fortresses, Castles and Myths “Marche” means border land, from the ancient German word mark, implying the confine of the Holy Roman Empire. This fascinating land, with its fortresses and dungeons, has witnessed unique characters and stories over the centuries: the alchemist Cagliostro in his prison cell, the impossible love between Paolo and Francesca and their death in Gradara Castle, as recounted by Dante in the Divine Comedy.

The Templars have left their mark in this region as well; from the Camerano grottoes to the Madonna’s house foundations in Loreto. Then, Osimo with its headless statues and Tolentino and its bridge built in “collaboration” with the devil, a situation quickly rectified by Saint Nicholas, the town’s patron saint.

The quintessential medieval region, with fortresses and castles, many still in existence today, that have tested the creative engineering skills of the time to house refined artworks, myths and mysteries of pagan origin that fed popular superstitions.

Highlights San Leo and Cagliostro’s castle, Gradara, the Templar Grottoes of Camerano, Red Conero wine tasting, Loreto,olive oil mills and classic farmer’s meal, the Roman town of Osimo – grottoes and statues with the missing heads, Caldarola castle, San Nicola cathedral and devil’s bridge in Tolentino.

Paper Making Workshop Fabriano has been producing paper since the Middle Ages, taking this Chinese invention and improving it by making it more durable, introducing large scale production - hence allowing for a wider dissemination of printed materials – and inventing the watermark (100% made in Fabriano). Today, this world class industry still preserves its artistic and artisan traditions in a few remaining laboratories.

Highlights paper making workshop, Fabriano historic center, paper museum and picture gallery, Frasassi Grottoes.

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