Macerata Feltria

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Macerata Feltria

A wonderland. A medieval village nestled among the hills that transforms during the Christmas period into an evocative plot of fairy tales and animated characters with chocolate sculptures.

The fortune of Macerata Feltria, however, does not come from fairy tales, but from real history, witnessed by the rich heritage of finds and inscriptions kept in its museums. Called in the Roman era Pitinum Pisaurense, was a well-known timber cutting and trading centre whose town hall was destroyed by the Goths in 552. On its ruins, we now find the church of San Cassiano, from the Middle Ages, that has a basilica with three naves and numerous fragments from the previous construction.

The current urban layout has been modelled by the past, with the ancient village near the valley of the river  Apsa, topped by a fortified castle long contended i between the lords of Montefeltro and Malatesta. The chronicles of time report the oath of free men to the town of Rimini in 1233: faithful throughout the Middle Ages. The Palazzo della Podestà, today is the seat of the Archaeological Museum, with a sandstone Gothic portal, the coat of arms of the various houses that have succeeded and the ancient Romanesque tower that now houses the Paleontological Museum.

The church of St Francis (1376) stands behind the castle, with a crucifix painted by Carlo da Camerino (then transferred to the nineteenth-century parish for the neoclassical interior of San Michele Arcangelo).  The town was occupied by Federico da Montefeltro in 1463,

Thanks to the wise hand of Francesco di Giorgio Martini, the village began to widen from the old market area and was modelled following the rules of, perspective and rigour theorised during the renaissance. There are buildings such as the convent of Santa Chiara, the oratory of St. Joseph, which houses a Madonna of the Rosary from the baroque school, the church of St. Anthony and the palaces Mazzoli, Gentili-Belli and Antimi-Clari with its gentle chapel.

Teatro Angelo Battelli is from the modern era and has a lovely hall from 1932 and library. It is worth visiting the church of San Cassiano in Pitino from the eleventh century with its archaeological excavations: in Romanesque style, it is one of the oldest churches in Montefeltro, built with materials from a pagan temple devoted to the god Saturn.

The museum circuit also embraces the museum of industrial archeology that accompanies the discovery of working equipment, from mechanical workshops. There is, for example, an 1898 machine used for threshing operations and a 1908 engine that used lathe, a horizontal drill and  a grinding wheel.  There is also a vintage radio museum that includes a hundred original appliances produced by a patient conservation and restoration, research and study.

Macerata Feltria is also the home of the Pitinum Thermae, a spa resort where the therapeutic properties of the sulphurous water that flow into the valley are exploited.

Tourists come to rivers to attend events such as the Paese delle Meraviglie, an event that transforms the village into a fairytale place with dreamy scenery, Christmas markets and chocolate sculptures, a parade of masks and floats during the Children's Carnival, as well as the old San Giuseppe fair and the jewellery and antiques market.

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