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Montefortino, Sibylline Fauna Collection

At the foot of the Sibylline Mountains, a traditional setting for fairies, demons and necromancers, lies the small town of Montefortino which has a splendid town house built in the early 16th century. Originally this was the home of Desiderio Leopardi, poet, Count Palatine and author of the Municipal Laws of Montefortino, but in the 19th century it was bought by the Duranti family. Today it houses the Sacred Art Museum, the prestigious Art Gallery named after the famous Fortunato Duranti and the Sibylline Mountain Fauna Museum which conserves the taxidermic collection of Ignazio Rossi Brunori. The fašade seems to interpret with extreme elegance the basic principles of renaissance architecture, with its great love of pure geometries. Built entirely of brick, the front has a monumental rusticated travertine portal which closes the rounded arch with the face of a faun in high relief, inserted to ward off bad luck and bring good luck. The fašade is divided harmoniously by stringcourses and windows which on the first floor are distinguished by the sobriety of the cornices, and further up by the split semicircular tympana. Breaking the balance and symmetry of the fašade is a balcony decorated with a wrought iron balustrade and supported by three corbels. In the summer of 2006 the singular Sibylline Mountain Fauna Museum was inaugurated to hold the taxidermic collection of Ignazio Rossi Brunori, accumulated with intense dedication over a period of more than fifty years. The different animal species, hunted by the collector himself in the Picene and Ferman territory, were treated with the complex and ancient art of taxidermy. In an interview given to Franca Maroni Capretti, Rossi Brunori explained that taxidermy requires scrupulous attention at all times. From the preliminary stage which involves skinning the animal, removing the carcass and giving it a wire skeleton, through the second stage of treating the skin with an arsenic anhydride ointment to the final stage of stuffing with cotton wool and stitching the skin. The museum conserves the result of his passion, an immense collection of mammals such as the fox, the wolf, the beech marten, the weasel, the pine marten, the dormouse, the crested porcupine, but also a considerable collection of birds of the Marche.