Fabriano and the Chiavelli dynasty
According to tradition, the bond between Fabriano and the Swabians began with captain Ruggero Chiavelli who settled in Fabriano after having fought alongside Frederick Barbarossa. He was buried in the church of San Venanzio, in the "sepulcher covered with black velvet" where five flags with the imperial coat of arms had been prepared.
The entire family was always pro-imperialist, and led a community already rich in guilds, playing a fundamental role in the growth of the city. They were captains of mercenary companies, but also expert politicians and entrepreneurs of the paper proto-industry that would make Fabriano famous worldwide. The Chiavelli family promoted the development of the first small shops with the purchase of fullers, the places where the purge of clothes took place and where the long manufacturing of paper began.
Their administrative ability was also proven in the development of culture and a new architectural aspect of the city. Gualtiero di Ruggero Chiavelli promoted the building of the church of Sant'Agostino, whereas Alberghetto Chiavelli the construction of the second city walls and the restoration of the famous Sturinalto fountain.
In this context, Gentile da Fabriano and the artists of the "Fabriano school" would later be born and take their first artistic steps.
The Chiavelli family governed Fabriano from the 12th century until 26 May 1435, the day of the Ascension when, according to a 16th-century chronicle, during the mass in the Cathedral of San Venanzio, the male members of the family were massacred – only a few of them survived. About fifteen conspirators organized the massacre armed with knives, and Tommaso Chiavelli, his son Battista, and eight grandchildren were killed – some of them were even chased into the sacristy before being slaughtered. Only women were spared and then exiled, after being stripped of all their belongings.
A journey through Fabriano’s history and art
The majestic white-stone Palazzo del Podestà was built in 1255, followed by the fountain of Sturinalto (1285) and the impressive Loggiato di San Francesco in the 15th century. The 11th-century Cathedral is dedicated to the patron saint Venantius, and houses the works of Allegretto Nuzi (along with those in the church of San Niccolò), Gentileschi, and Bastiani. The centre of the life in the 13th century was also the late Gothic Spedale della Madonna del Buon Gesù, where the Bruno Molaioli Civic Art Gallery is housed today with numerous high-profile medieval works, including those of Fabriano's Allegretto Nuzi and Antonio da Fabriano, as well as Boschi and Gentileschi. The ground floor hosts the contemporary art collection “La casa di Ester” (Ester's house) with works by Italian masters of the 20th century.
The church of San Benedetto was built in 1231 and has a monumental single nave in Baroque style, like the church of Santi Biagio and Romualdo with late Baroque works in the transept and apse, which combine with the 18th-century renovation of the nave embellished by an organ by Gaetano Callido on the counter-façade.
Another fascinating structure is the monumental building of San Domenico with the precious frescoes in the Sant'Orsola chapel. Commissioned by Ruggero Chiavelli, the church of Sant'Agostino has very delicate frescoes from the 14th century.
Outside Fabriano there is the hermitage of Santa Maria in Valdisasso, surrounded by a green educational room. The Benedictine hermitage was entrusted to the Franciscans with the approval of Chiavello Chiavelli, who commissioned Gentile da Fabriano a polyptych named Valle Romita, whose copy is exhibited there, while the original is in the Brera Art Gallery after Napoleon's looting. In the wonderful mountains around Fabriano there is also the Abbey of San Salvatore in Valdicastro, founded by San Romualdo in 1009 and still almost intact in its Romanesque form. At 890 meters high is the Monastery of San Silvestro Abate di Montefano, founded in the 13th century. It is a Sylvestrine monastery long rehashed until its current appearance, which shows a 17th-century church, two libraries, and a large guesthouse with 30 rooms. Another Romanesque jewel in the green lands is the Abbey of San Cassiano, founded in the 11th century and rehashed in the Gothic style of the 13th century, whit an unusual interior in the positioning of the tribune and the crypt.
The IME - The Marches Food and Wine Institute recommends:
Salame di Fabriano Ark of Taste
The Fabriano salami is a typical product of the Marche tradition and could not belong elsewhere, because only the micro-climate of north Vallesina enables a completely natural seasoning and therefore creates the Fabriano salami as it is known today. Garibaldi knew very well how special this salami was. A centuries-old lively art that still is a niche and represents handcrafted excellence involving different local players.
The Fabriano salami is made with the lean and noble parts of the Marche pork. A characteristic of the Fabriano salami is a lightweight dark brown mold that covers the surface and the white lardons that stand out against the dark colour of the salami.
When tasting, the best-recommended combination is with Verdicchio di Matelica.
Verdicchio di Matelica DOC
Verdicchio di Matelica is a very ancient wine. It probably is the first proof of viticulture in the Marche region. The grape seeds found in the tombs of the Picenum princes in the necropolis of Villa Clara and Brecce prove it. The circulation of the Verdicchio was carried out by Benedictine and Franciscan monks. It is an austere, very thick, fresh, enchanting white vine with a straw-yellow colour with an unmistakable greenish tinge. In the mouth it is dry, persistent, and warm, with notes of ripe fruit. An enveloping softness gives the palate sensations of roundness that do not tire, thanks also to the almond aftertaste.