...

The Esino Valley area

Belvedere Ostrense

This medieval origin village reached its highest splendour only in the 14th century, thanks to the Counts of Buscareto.
Postmen in Belvedere Ostrense should at least once visit the 15th- century Chiesa di San Pietro, the church where the blessed relics of their saint patron Saint Rufus rest.
Not to be missed: the Museo Internazionale dell'Immagine Postale, a museum dedicated to mail, unique in its kind, with pictures, books, documents and various objects.

Castelplanio

Just silently and with light steps you can enter Castelplanio.
It would be a shame to shatter the atmosphere of the old abbey of San Benedetto dei Frondigliosi, to which the fortified village of the old town Castel del Piano is closely connected.
Together with the Verdicchio wine, you can find tasty legumes and the typical fragrant focaccia bread (crescia).
Not to be missed: the Abbazia di San Benedetto dei Frondigliosi.
Built in about 1200 and widely restructured in 1700, it is surrounded by a park and is partly used for tourist reception services.

Castelbellino

The proud village of Castelbellino, the smallest of all, dominates the gentle golden valley. Narrow alleys, steep staircases and small cosy squares outline the historic centre.
The Ghibellines fleeing from Jesi decided to take refuge here, in the safe castle that already stood on the hill.
Not to be missed: the charming Renaissance Loggetta of the town hall palace.
Once used as local market-place, the Loggetta is nowadays setting of many events.

Cupramontana

The name of this village is derived from the goddess Cupra and the temple dedicated to her. It was then changed into Masaccio at the times of the Lombards of the Duchy of Spoleto.
The vineyards made fertile by the Great Mother turned the village into the capital of the Verdicchio wine, celebrated during the grape-harvest festival (Sagra dell'Uva).
Not to be missed:the Eremo di San Giuseppe delle Grotte or dei Frati Bianchi in the middle of a wide glade outside the village. It is a Camaldolese monastic complex from the 15th century.

Maiolati Spontini

The excessive rigour and poverty of the friars, who occupied the castle in the early 14th century, made the Pope Martin V so furious that he razed to the ground the small fortified village of Maiolati.
The village rose from its ashes and was the birthplace of the opera composer and conductor Gaspare Spontini.
Is is also known for its "lonzetta di fico", a traditional cake made of figs, almonds and walnuts.
Not to be missed: the Museo Spontini in Gaspare Spontini's house.
It collects memorabilia, manuscripts and musical instruments belonged to the great composer.

Mergo

Intact old and mighty walls surround the ancient medieval castle of the valiant village of Mergo. A lot of wine has always been running in this village and has been celebrated from time immemorial with music, dances and amusing gaiety on Saint Martin's day, when the technique and passion of winemakers turn the must into wine.
Not to be missed: the Palazzo dei Conti Vallemani, in contrada Montirone. It is a picturesque place set in a scenic wood, among old legends and the ruins of the villa.

Monsano

If the wind plays in the leaves of laurel trees, so dear to Apollo, Musianum replies with sweet and soft singing. The Muses dare to sing from their fortified village, kindly dedicated to them from time immemorial.
The sea breeze caressing the air and the land gives Monsano luxuriant olive trees which provide fine and delicately scented oils.
Not to be missed: the Chiesa di Santa Maria degli Aròli.
It is a "Romanesque-Gothic" church just outside the village dating back to the 12th century.

Montecarotto

Protected by walls remained intact for five centuries, the ancient castle of Montecarotto rises on the hills dividing the valley of the Esino river from the valley of the Misa river.
Verdicchio vineyards stretching as far as the eye could see surround Montecarotto's quarters, while the strokes of the clock tower punctuate the time of the experienced master wine-makers.
Not to be missed: the monumental and well-preserved walls of the town with two mighty keeps and rampart walkways.

Monte Roberto

With its 15th-century walls overlooking the plain, Monteroberto stands on a hill on the right of the Esino river, slightly higher than Castelbellino. Downhill, Villa Salvati and the thousand-year-old abbey of Sant'Apolinnare recall its people devotion to the land.
Not to be missed: the Abbazia di Sant'Apollinare in Pianello Vallesina, built on the remains of the Roman town of Planina and dating before the year 1000.

Morro d'Alba

Morro d'Alba is a unique example of a village entirely surrounded by arcades set in the old walls. With its rampart walkways and medieval keeps Morro d'Alba was an old and strong fortress. Nowadays it is known for its finest ruby red wine Lacrima di Morro d'Alba (teardrop of Morro d'Alba).
Not to be missed: the 13th-14th century perfectly preserved walls and the so-called "La Scarpa", that is the long covered walkway equipped with arcades.

Poggio San Marcello

Protected by solid walls, it was first a monastic villa and then a castle built far away from the original built-up area. From the medieval walls and San Nicolò gate, overtopped by a rampant lion, the sight sweeps over the hills embroidered by rows of vines.
Not to be missed: the Santuario della Madonna del Soccorso dated 1646.
It is located just at the entrance of the village and is surrounded by 16th-century walls.

Rosora

Rosora is a village of Lombard origins. Old and strong as the 13th-century walls of its castle, it rises on the left bank of the Esino river and stretches out up to the old wooden cross where the "Moro", a nobleman of the Della Genga family, met his death among vineyards, fields of wheat and ancient oaks.
Not to be missed: the Festa della Sapa which is a sweet, boiled grape-must syrup.
The festival takes place in the historic centre the second half of October.

Santa Maria Nuova

Since 1200 and for over six centuries, the old castle, which then became the village of Santa Maria Nuova, was an integral part of Jesi, until the Pope Pius IX declared it commune(a small city-state in medieval Italy).

San Marcello

San Marcello was a fortress built on the hills surrounding Jesi to defend this town. It took its name after the Pope Marcellus, who sent Saint Septimius to Jesi to evangelize its inhabitants at the beginning of the 4th century A.D.
Not to be missed: the "bomboniera dorata" (gilded keepsake), that is the lovely municipal theatre called this way because of its peculiar charm and because it is located in the 16th century Palazzo Marcelli, the present site of the town hall.

Staffolo

Stafilos, the son of Ariadne and Theseus who discovered grapes and wine, chose to stop on a hill stretching from the Esino to the Musone rivers, with the San Vicino mountains surrounding it. Staffolo was founded on that hill.
It was dominated by the Celts, the Romans and the Lombards until it became a commune (a small city-state in medieval Italy), strong and proud like its wine, the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi.
Not to be missed: Chiesa di Sant'Egidio. This church preserves the famous 15th century Polyptych by the Maestro di Staffolo, a follower of Gentile from Fabriano.

Serra San Quirico

Guarding the entrance of Gola della Rossa, Serra San Quirico had been an impregnable fortress since Roman times and a castle recalcitrant to the rule of Jesi.
Nowadays in Spring the village becomes a big stage for young actors from all the regions of Italy.
Not to be missed: the so-called "copertelle", picturesque covered walkways along the perfectly intact walls surrounding the entire village since 1300.

Serra de Conti

Serra de' Conti owes its name to the Count Rinaldo, the lord of the village who surrounded the old built-up areas with strong walls.
From the top of the hill it dominates the road connecting the valley of the Misa river to the valley of the Esino river.
Every year the "Festa della Cicerchia" celebrates a poor and generous legume like the chickling peas, which has been for centuries precious food and provision for winter.
Not to be missed: the Museo delle Arti Monastiche. Once included in the 17th-century complex of Monastero di Santa Maria Maddalena, this museum of monastic arts is housed in some rooms of the town hall palace.
Thanks to an interactive path, it reconstructs the atmosphere and the material culture of the nuns' cloistered life.