Along the hand-crafted tradition

Massa Fermana, Montappone, Monte Vidon Corrado, Monsampietro Morìco e Montottone

Marca Fermana is a land that still keeps its own identity on traditional activities, from ceramic manufactury to straw making. This territory is mostly characterized by the artistic craftmanship based on ancient traditions and typical material of this area which are living side by side with modern technologies. Ancient and glorious medieval castle owned by Bunfonte’s family, Massa Fermana is a flourishing rural town, with many straw hats and bags’ factories. One of the main focal points of the town is certainly the Museum of the Ancient Street’s Crafts, located at the ground floor of Porta Sant’Antonio, remain of the ancient XIV century’s Castle. The latter is now composed by a tower with machicolations and ghibellines merlons and is flanked by two double loggias.

Continuing in the old town center there is the parish Church of S. Lorenzo, within which are preserved art works of great value such as Carlo Crivelli’s polyptych (1468), a painting on board with golden background portraying the “Virgin with child on throne and holy saints John the Baptist, Lawrence, Francis and Sylvester”. The latter represents the most ancient work of the venetian painter in the Marche region. Feudal castle in year 1000 and feud of Nobili’s family, Montappone rises up on a hill like all the centers of this area founded in the Middle Ages. The town owes its wealth to the straw hats’ manufaturing industry. On behalf of this tradition there is the Hat Museum that preserves machineries, documents, photographic material and designs collected in the neighboring municipalities committed to this same activity. Of environmental interest is the medieval nucleus, at the beginning of which there is a small square where stands the Oratory of SS. Sacramento, with a XIV century cotto tile gate dominated by the brotherhood coat of arms. Inside the oratory are visible some XVI century frescos among which there are: “Virgin with child between John the Baptist and George holy saints” wrongly attributed to Vincenzo Pagani.

Homeland of the well-known abstract painter Osvaldo Licini, Monte Vidon Corrado rises up on the communication route between Tenna’s and Chianti’s valleys, on a panoramic spur dominating the territory from the Sibillini and the sea. The town’s medieval matrix is strongly detectable in the urban structure, based on the ancient features of the feudal castle. Its polygonal walls date to the XIV-XV century. The old town center is dominated by the façade of the parish church of S. Vito, which contains XVIII century canvases by Monti, a strong crucifix of Guercino’s school and the saint’s small XVII century chapel completely covered with stucco. Together with Falerone, Massa Fermana and Montappone, Monte Vidon Corrado belongs to the historical straw district, originated in the XVIII century. Renowned  for the traditional crochet and lace pillow activities, Monsampietro Morìco is a small inland hamlet in the province of Fermo, rising up on a delightful hill on the bank of the Ete Vivo river. Of ancient origins, the town owes its name to the castle founder’s wife - Morica - as a homage for giving his husband, son of the Apulia’s count, three sons. As integral part of the original XV century merloned castle, in the old hamlet’s nucleus there is still the Polygonal Tower, located in the proximity of the Church of S. Francesco. The latter preserves XV century canvases and a fresco above the central altar portraying “Madonna of Mercy”, fine work of a XV century painter. Inside the Townhall, instead, it is visible a XV century Carlo Crivelli’s triptych.

Historical and artistic point of interest of the Fermo’s inland, with its delightful downward slopes, Montottone enjoys a magnificent scenic position. This hamlet, renowned for centuries in the neighboring area for clay manufacturing, is also called “lu paese de li coccià” (the town of ceramists). Artisans passed down this art from father to son. Nowadays, to continue the tradition there is only one workshop, the one owned by the Bozzi’s family. The terracotta working technique has always been artisanal and the steps of the traditional clay manufacturing can be admired with a visit to the Museum of rural culture and to the Ceramic Museum.

The main access to the town, connecting it to the city of Fermo through via Grande, is called Porta Marina and has been preserved in its entire medieval configuration until the whole XVIII century. Of particular interest is the Church of Madonna delle Grazie, originally built in a greek crossed shape, is maintains on the main altar a wall XV century fresco portraying the “Virgin on throne with child and musician angels”.

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