Nature and archaeology
Fano, Fossombrone, Gola del Furlo
The Metauro Valley, crossed by the ancient Via Flaminia, is a fascinating itinerary reaching some of the main archaeological sites of the territory and revealing a great number of the roman civilization. Mentioned for the first time in Caesar’s “De bello civili”, Fano is connected with the temple of the goddess of Fortune, around which was developed the residential area. With Augustus the city becomes “Colonia Julia Fanestris” and was provided with walls preserved to this day and with a triumphal arch dedicated to the emperor. The Arch of Augustus and the namesake walls consitute a great evidence of the roman period, also documented by the materials displayed by the Civic Museum. In the upper loggia is located the Civic Gallery where are preserved paintings of artists like Morganti, Domenichino and Guerrieri. Fano’s urban fabric is affected by the malatestian medieval enlargement; the city, in fact, was subjected to the Malatesta domination from the end of XIII century until 1463, when it fell under Federico da Montefeltro. To the long Malatesta domination the city owes urban constructions such as the rectangular Piazza XX Settembre, overlooked by the majestic Palazzo della Ragione (Reason’s Building). The building, erected in 1299 in gothic-romanesque style, is a clay-bricks building with a five-arcade portico and an upper floor decorated with four-light full-centre windows. To the Malatesta, Fano also owes the majestic Malatestian Stronghold; even if it underwent adjustments and modifications, maintained in its entirety the original appearance of wide fortified rectangle with solid angular towers and the donjon built by the architect Matteo Nuti. Close to the stronghold rises the Church of S. Agostino, built in ‘200 on the remains of a roman building; the right side is gothic-romanesque with long single-lancet windows and a frame with a small arches double strip. In front of the building there is the access to a staircase climbing down to the ruins attributed to the Basilica of Vitruvio. The ruins are majestic masonry works extended below the church and the former monastry, belonging to a wide roman building complex hardly identifiable located in the heart of the ancient city. Proceeding towards Fossombrone, you get the chance to visit the archaeological site of the roman municipium of Forum Sempronii where it has been brought to light a long portion of the roman street with buildings’ remains and fine Roman Baths. Founded on II century a.C. Forum Sempronii owes its name to a personality of the gens Sempronia who reinforced the ancient settlement and reorganized the city. After becoming municipium around half of the I century b.C., Fossombrone has been considered for centuries the main center of the medium Metauro valley, until its desertion during the barbarian era. The urban layout of the city was certainly influenced by the pre-existing via Flaminia, which constituted the most important travel hub of the city (decumanus maximus), determining the orientation of the whole urban street nework. In the neighborhood of the small Church of S. Martino was presumably located the center of the roman city; there were found ruins of a residence with mosaic floors and sections of paved roads. A building partially intended to thermal baths was rediscovered within the walls perimeter in the direction of the Metauro river. The whole complex, dated from the I to the V century d.C. , counts at least twenty longitudinal spaces, some of them provided with suspensurae and heated through a system of ducts. The spaces were decorated with marble sheets (crustae), serving as walls’ decorations. The itinerary ends at the Furlo Pass, one of the most important and evocative natural reserves of the Marche region, combining the landscape beauty to remarkable historical-artistic treasures dating back to different eras. Also called by the ancients petra petrusa (perforated stone) or forulus (small hole), the roman gallery of Vespasian was built by the emperor’s will in the narrower spot of the canyon, to give an easier transfer to the Via Flaminia. From here in 403 passed through Onorio after defeating the Goths, while going to Rome to celebrate the victory. Where the canyon widens are located the Furlo’s houses and on their left side rises the Church of S. Vincenzo al Furlo, rare example of romanesque architecture of the region. According to an epigraph above the gate, the church was rebuilt in 1271.