Loreto and Recanati
Discovering inland’s meditative locations in the Conero Riviera
The inland of the Conero Riviera towards Macerata is an area rich in delightful hills and green valleys, where, during centuries, were formed urban settlements characterized by the presence of striking spots full of spirituality and contemplation. Among the places that have always created a magnetic lure in many visitors there is the Sanctuary of the Holy House of Loreto. Town developed almost exclusively as a function of the highly honoured monument - constant destination of pilgrimages from all over the world - Loreto is located on the top of a scenic hill in one of the most fertile territories of the region. Partly surrounded by XVI century walls and bastions, the main feature of this urban center is the Sanctuary, which constitutes one of Italy’s most important religious monuments. Begun in 1468 with a gothic design, the Sanctuary was continued until mid XVIII century in a Renaissance style from a pool of talented architects such as Martini and Bramante. The façade decorated in the Renaissance’s style is built in Istrian stone and is composed by three main gates. The central one in particular is surmounted by a niche containing a bronze Virgin with child’s statue sculpted by Girolamo Lombardo. Continuing the central nave located within the Sanctuary, you reach the dome under which takes place the Holy House, admirably upholstered with a Bramante’s marbly design representing the Virgin’s earthly joys announced by Sybils and Prophets. To protect the Sanctuary’s treasure from the saracens’ raids, in 1485 was built a system of patrol walkways. The latters, thanks to their fascinating architectural layout, give interesting perspectives on the Basilica’s appearance. After walking through the 80 access stairs, the walkways enable the visitor to enjoy a wide view going from the Mount Conero to the Gran Sasso, of the coastline to the east and of the mountains to the west.
Proceeding backwards towards the inland, located on an extended position over a hill on the hogback between the Musone and the Potenza valleys, rises Recanati. Hamlet dominating one of the most delightful areas of the Marche, Recanati owes its lure mostly to the places connected to the Leopardi tradition. First among everything is the well-known Colle dell’Infinito, already Monte Tabor, a pleasant public park from where you can admire a wide and enchanting landscape, inspiration of the namesake poem by a very young Giacomo Leopardi. On the hill is located a convent, once belonged to the Nuns of the Sacre Heart, which became the seat of the “Worldwide Poetry and Cultural Center G. Leopardi”. Walking through a path returning to the old-town center, you reach the Saturday Evening in the Village’s square, on which is located Leopardi’s House. Residence of the poet and his family, the current structure doesn’t impress for a particular greatness, but for its simple and refined lines due to the architectural modification conceived by Carlo Orazi Leopardi, the poet’s great-uncle, in the first half of 1700. The entire first floor, above the old cellars, is filled by the famous Library, the only public part of the building because the rest of it is still occupied by the Leopardi’s family. To access the library there is a wide XVIII century hall, this too built by the architect Carlo Orazi Leopardi. On the walls there are a few walled-in archaelogical relicts found by Monaldo Leopadi, who also placed between two pillars the marbly architrave with an auspicious imprint, the only evidence of the ancient building’s structure. Another stop of the itinerary is the Solitary Bird’s Tower, that is the tower bell of the gothic church of S. Agostino, built together with the S. Agostino’s Hermit convent around 1270 and remade one century later. Lastly, among the most fascinating places of the Leopardi tradition there are the famous Giacomo Leopardi Square and the Hamlet’s Tower. Located in the town’s center the square placement dates to the last decades of XIX century. On the square there is the majestic Townhall, in front of which there is Giacomo Leopardi’s monument designed by Ugolino Panichi. Both of them were inaugurated in 1898 during the 100 years of the poet’s birth. Isolated on the left, rises the Hamlet’s Tower: square tower of 36 meters high crowned by ghibellines’ merlons, it was built in the second half of the XII century and belonged to the 1400s Townhall, demolished in 1872.