Hand-crafted tradition

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

The Marca Fermana is a land that still maintains its identity based on traditional activities, from the making of ceramics to the producing of straw, and is particularly characterized by the artistic craftsmanship of the territory, based on ancient traditions and typical materials of the area, that now coexist with the most modern technologies. Massa Fermana, an ancient and glorious medieval castle belonging to the Brunfonte family, is today a thriving agricultural town with numerous straw hat and bag factories. One of the main culturally interesting points of the town is the Museum of Ancient Street Crafts, located on the ground floor of Porta Sant'Antonio, This is what remains of the ancient 14th century castle, now composed of a tower with machicolations and Ghibelline battlements, flanked by two double loggias. Remaining in the historic centre, you can admire the parish church of San Lorenzo, which houses works of great artistic value, such as the polyptych by Carlo Crivelli (1468), a panel with a gilded background representing the "Madonna with Child enthroned and the Saints John Battista, Lorenzo, Francesco and Silvestro”. This represents the oldest work of the Venetian painter in the Marche region.

Montappone, feudal castle in the year 1000 and fiefdom of the Nobili family, just like all the centers in the area founded in medieval times, stands on a hill and owes its economic well-being to the straw-hat manufacturing industry. Displaying this tradition is the Hat Museum, that contains machinery, documents, photographic material and drawings collected in nearby municipalities dedicated to this same activity. Another interesting point is the medieval nucleus, at the beginning of which there’s a small square where stands the Oratory of the SS. Sacramento, with a 14th century terracotta portal surmounted by the emblem of the brotherhood; inside there are some 16th century frescoes, including “Madonna with Child among the SS. John the Baptist and George”, erroneously attributed to Vincenzo Pagani. Homeland of the well-known abstract painter Osvaldo Licini, Monte Vidon Corrado stands on the communication axis between the Tenna valley and the Chienti valley, in a panoramic spur that dominates the territory from the Sibillini to the sea. The medieval origin of the town is strongly noticeable in its urban layout, based on the ancient site of the feudal castle whose polygonal walls date back to the 14th-15th century. The center is dominated by the 18th century façade of the parish church of San Vito, and on the inside are displayed 18th century paintings by Monti, an evocative crucifix from the school of Guercino, and the entirely stuccoed 17th century chapel of the dedicatee saint. Along with Falerone, Massa Fermana and Montappone, Monte Vidon Corrado is part of the historic straw district, which has 18th century roots. Monsampietro Morico, a small village known for the traditional activities of crochet and bobbin lace, is located in the Fermo hinterland, standing on a charming hill on the shore of the Ete Vivo River. With very ancient origins, the town was named after its castle’s founder’s wife - Morica -, as she had given her husband, son of the Count of Puglia, three sons. As an integral part of the original 15th century crenellated castle, in the historic core of the village you can still find the Polygonal Tower, located near the Church of San Francesco, which keeps paintings on canvas from the 16th century and a fresco above the central altar, depicting the "Madonna della Misericordia", a valuable work by a 15th century painter. Moreover, at the Town Hall you can find a Crivellesco triptych a 15th century work made by Carlo Crivelli. Montottone, center of historical-artistic interest in the Fermo hinterland, is located on gentle hilly slopes, from which there’s a marvelous panoramic viewpoint. This village, known for centuries in the surrounding area for its clay making, is called "lu Paese de li coccià" (the village of potters), as the artisans handed down the art from father to son. Today, only the Bozzi family shop keeps the tradition alive. The terracotta processing technique has always remained strictly artisanal, and the steps of traditional clay making can be admired by visiting the local Museum of Rural Civilization and the Ceramics Museum. The main access to the town that connected it to the city of Fermo through the Via Grande is called Porta Marina, which remained intact in its medieval configuration until the end of the 18th century. Another monument worth mentioning is the Madonna delle Grazie Church, built with a Greek-cross shape, which preserves a 15th century wall-fresco on the main altar representing the "Virgin enthroned with the child and musician angels".

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