Monuments, Palaces, Churches, Museums

Fermo, point by point

Piazza del Popolo – Begun in 1442 in the heart of the city, it is undoubtedly one of the most evocative places in Fermo.

Loggia of San Rocco – Erected in 1528, it stands in front of the Church of St Rocco, which dates from 1505.

Aquila Theatre – One of the largest theatres in Italy, designed by Cosimo Morelli, it was inaugurated in 1790. It has five tiers of boxes and an auditorium with a total capacity of about 1,000. Worth seeing is the ceiling painting by Luigi Cochetti depicting the Gods of Olympus with the Graces and the Hours and in the centre, the 56-arm gilded iron chandelier.

Girfalco Park – This is the city’s panoramic view point, where the Cathedral stands, along with a large garden square.

Metropolitan Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo – With its splendid Romanesque-Gothic façade, it preserves excavations with evocative mosaics of the pre-existing pagan temple, an early Christian sarcophagus dating from the 4th century and an Icon of the Virgin Mary, a 13th-century Greek-Byzantine work: the various funeral monuments include one by Giovanni Visconti da Oleggio.

Palazzo Azzolino and Palazzo Vitali Rosati – Both designed in the first half of the 16th century by Sangallo the Younger.

Oratory of St Monica – Completely frescoed in the 15th century with stories of St John the Baptist and Evangelist.

Church of St Francis – In 15th-century Gothic style, its chapel houses the Euffreducci Funeral Monument by Andrea Sansovino from 1527 and interesting 15th-century frescoes.

Villa Vitali / Open-Air Theatre – A 19th-century villa now owned by the municipality, it is home to one of the city’s public parks and hosts the Summer Open-Air Theatre.

Roman Cisterns – A splendid architectural complex consisting of thirty interconnected rooms arranged in three parallel rows, it is a unique monument of its kind in Italy, perfectly preserved and dating from the late 1st century BC.

Church of St Zeno – Built in the 12th century, it preserves a portal built by assembling various architectural elements salvaged from the Roman era.

Diocesan Museum – The Art Gallery houses some of the diocese’s most important works, sacred vestments and silverware; the pastoral staff of Sixtus V and a 15th-century illuminated missal are remarkable.

State Archives – These house a wealth of documentary material of enormous historical relevance, testifying to the important role Fermo played in the region’s historical events.

Church of St Dominic – Its construction began in 1233 on the very site of the old church dedicated to St Thomas of Canterbury. The ancient gabled façade, huge apse and wooden choir constitute the great beauty of this ancient church. It houses a splendid Nativity by Baciccio.

Church of St Philip Neri – The church was erected in 1594 next to the former College of the Fathers of the Congregation of the Oratory, today the seat of the city’s Law Courts. The building bears witness to the early and very important presence, in terms of contacts and activities carried out, of the Congregation of the Oratory in Fermo. Today it is an auditorium and exhibition hall.

G.B. Pergolesi State Music Conservatory – Until the mid-20th century the building was the seat of the seminary, today the building houses music rooms filled with students, some of whom come from overseas.

Jewish Ghetto – Fermo ghetto stood at the end of Corso Cefalonia and the start of Corso Cavour. Evidence of a Jewish community in Fermo is widely documented since the 13th century and it played a key role in the city’s economy. Anti-Jewish preaching in the mid-15th century led to establishment of a district “for Jews”, abandoned in the 16th century.

Loggia of St Rocco – Erected in 1528 and comprising nine arches supported by slender columns, it is a beautiful feature that stands out in Piazza del Popolo.

MITI – Museum of Industrial Innovation and Technology – MITI is the museum of know-how; it reconstructs the extraordinary history of Montani Institute, one of the oldest industrial schools in Italy whose graduates were, and still are, in demand by leading Italian companies.

Monte di Pietà – In 1522, on the initiative of the Franciscan friars, the palace was converted into a Monte di Pietà (Mount of Piety), set up to make small loans in exchange for a pledge as security. The 14th-century façade has some decorative details in Gothic style.

Palazzo Caffarini Sassatelli – On Corso Cavour is one of the most prestigious residences in Fermo. Built in the latter half of the 18th century, today the palace houses the Prefecture. During its years of grandeur, it housed many members of the Bonaparte family.

Palazzo degli Studi – The construction of one of Fermo’s most important buildings dates back to 1238, when it was necessary to find a permanent home to house the podestà and his entourage. The seat of the University of Fermo until Napoleonic suppression, today it houses the extremely rich Civic Library, one of the best-known in Italy for its ancient book heritage.

Palazzo del Governatore – The Renaissance palace forms the southern wing of Fermo’s square. Begun in 1469, its construction was completed in 1585. Today it houses the Town Hall.

Palazzo dei Priori / Museum Complex – Palazzo dei Priori is one of the most important historical buildings in Fermo and is connected via an aerial loggia, the so-called Passetto, to Palazzo degli Studi at the end of Piazza del Popolo. It is currently home to the Civic Art Gallery, the Globe Room and the municipality’s State Rooms.

Palazzo Fogliani – This 15th century Venetian-Gothic palace stands in the eponymous square. The portal is in Renaissance style.

Palazzo Paccaroni / Science Museums – Palazzo Paccaroni is located along Corso Cavour, in the district of San Bartolomeo and houses two important science museums: Silvio Zavatti Polar Museum, dedicated to Italian polar research and Arctic environments and people and Tommaso Salvadori Museum of Natural Sciences, which houses the collection of one of Italy’s leading ornithologists.

Porta Marina, Porta San Giuliano, Porta Santa Caterina, Porta Sant’Antonio – The city walls still retain some of the historical gates: Porta Santa Caterina to the south, Porta San Giuliano to the west, and Porta del Crocefisso or (Sant’Antonio) to the north.

Roman theatre – Descending from Girfalco Hill are the remains of the Roman theatre that must have been able to seat up to two thousand spectators.

Mario Dondero Terminal – Named after Mario Dondero, the internationally-renowned photojournalist who chose to live in Fermo towards the end of his life, this new cultural space, a modern an arrivals and departures station, hosts exhibitions and events.

Matteucci Tower – The only remaining medieval tower in the old town centre of Fermo, it takes its name from a historic local family, the last owners of the castle, then palace, that it was part of.