The Villages and Castles of the Marche
discover the countryside
Perched on the top of a hill in the green Senigallia countryside, the pretty little town of Corinaldo is a real rural idyll. It was the centre of feudal battles until 1360, when it was completely destroyed by the papal army. It was then rebuilt by merging together numerous existing villages around the original centre and by strengthening the town walls that defended the population from successive attacks. These defensive walls date back to the 14th and 15th centuries and are some of the best preserved walls in the region. Visitors to Corinaldo should have a good wander round the numerous back streets with their little steps, which cut across the town. The Sperone Tower (18 metres in height) and the Scorticatore Tower (15 metres) are particularly noteworthy.
Corinaldo is also famous for its Halloween Festivities and the whole town dresses up for the occasion, attracting lots of tourists and celebrities.
Situated in the Ancona countryside, Arcevia has various tourist attractions, nine castles and lots of restaurants that serve good local produce. It was once called Rocca Contrada, due to a document that was found in 1817 that described the place with the name Rocka de Contrado, or Rocca di Contrado or Corrado. The most characteristic castle is that of Palazzo, on Monte Caudino 516 metres above sea level. Because of the town's position, its urban structure is on a series of levels and there are characteristic back streets, entrance ways and quirky little steps.
At 280 metres above sea level stands Mondavio, a perfectly preserved village where it seems like you are still living in the Medieval Age or the Renaissance. The main point of interest for tourists is the Rocca, a fort that looks as if it has just been built but actually dates back to the Malatesta family. The inside of the fort is particularly interesting with its medieval style decor, weapons and constructions. The famous torture chamber was once used for heretics and people the Court did not approve of – nowadays it is open to the public and houses an exhibition of ancient torture instruments.
This enchanting castle was built about 15 km from Arcevia and is one of the oldest examples of military architecture in the region. It has an impressive brick defensive wall, a circular tower with arrow slits in it and a stunning entrance bridge which dates back to the 15th century.
Gradara castle stands on a hill on the border between Marche and Romagna, with an amazing view over the Adriatic and along the Marche coastline.
It is particularly well-known for the tragic love story between Paolo and Francesca, which Dante Alighieri talks about in his Divine Comedy.
A visit to this town cannot fail to include a walk along the "Camminamenti della Ronda" i.e. the defensive wall that encircles the town. From here you can enjoy really lovely views, which are particularly spectacular in the evenings.
This picturesque castle is situated in the characteristic village of Nidastore on the border with the province of Pesaro. The name Nidastore comes from the falcons that were used for hunting in medieval times. In 1462 Pius II finally recognised the castle as part of Rocca Contrada. The current building dates back to the second half of the 15th century, when the castle was reconstructed by the town of Rocca Contrada.