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CITY TOURS

Baroque Age

CAPPELLA NOLFI (Cathedral)

In the cathedral, the third chapel on the right is the magnificent Cappella Nolfi, so called after Guido and Cesare Nolfi, two noble kinsmen of Fano.
After 1604 they had the chapel completely transformed; various artists collaborated, including the architect Girolamo Rainaldi who designed the decorations on the vault and side walls (executed by the stucco worker Pietro Solari) which frame the 16 beautiful frescoes of the Life of the Virgin (1618-19) by Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino).

The great painting of Il Paradiso e l'Assunta (“Paradise and the Assumption of Mary”, ca. 1606) hanging on the altar wall is by Andrea Lilli from Ancona. The busts of the two members of the Nolfi family placed on their respective tombs (after 1612) are by the sculptor Francesco Caporale.
Another important painting is the Virgin in Glory and Patron Bishop Saints Ursus and Eusebius by Ludovico Caracci (1613) over the altar in the Presbytery chapel. On either side are St Anthony the Abbot and St Francis by Caracci's pupil Bartolomeo Giangolini of Fano.

FOUNTAIN OF FORTUNA

This square was the “platea magna" of the late Middle Ages on which stood the imposing 14th-century Palazzo del Podestà (now the façade of the Theatre of Fortune and its municipal tower, rebuilt after the war.
The main square was used for ceremonies and as a market place, as can be seen from the numerous present day shops standing in place of the old. To the west, along the Corso Matteotti, stands the Fountain of Fortune with a characteristic mixtilinear basin of coloured marble, completely replaced (including central bowl and lions) between 1697 and '99 by the Venetian Ludovico Torresini.
The charming bronze statue of the Goddess Fortune is a faithful copy of the original (now in the Civic Museum) modelled and cast in 1593 by Donnino Ambrosi of Urbino, to beautify the original octagonal basin of the old 1576 fountain.
The fountain, the mannerist elegance of which is reminiscent of the work of Giambologna, is a symbol of Fano.

PALAZZO MONTEVECCHIO

This is the largest and most imposing of all the patrician abodes of Fano. The building was started by the family of the Counts Montevecchio in 1740, and it remained in the family until the end of the first half of the 20th century. The east front was left unfinished and has subsequently been added to in doubtful taste. The design is reputed to be by Luigi Vanvitelli, but there is absolutely no proof of this.
There is, however, proof that Alfonso Torreggiani of Bologna and Arcangelo Vici from the Marches were both involved in the project. This is evident in the markedly theatrical style, almost as if Bibianesque fantasies had been transferred to stone. Torreggiani must have been responsible for the central part of the façade with its great Baroque stone doorway flanked by two substantial Tuscan columns supporting the fine curved balustrade of the balcony, with the connecting motif rising from the great middle window to the small elegant balcony at the centre of the upper floor.
The great columned entrance is also worthy of note, with its perspective of the wall-fountain of Neptune in an elegant elliptical space which completes the austere central courtyard.

The great staircase is most spectacular. Its wide steps rise amidst foreshortenings and perspectives, niches, columns and pilasters up the first part; the second is vaulted and airy with eight elegantly decorative marble statues between small pilasters along the balustrade.
In the past there was a large room with surrounding balcony to receive the guests before they were admitted to the various reception rooms on the first floor. This room is now unrecognizable, having been converted into several rooms for use as the local tax office. The rooms facing the garden in Piazzale Leopardi are in equally poor condition. The rooms on the west side are better preserved; several have vaults decorated with painted grotesques.

CHURCH OF SAN PIETRO IN VALLE

Started in 1610 by Giovanni Battista Cavagna of Naples and inaugurated in 1616, the Church of San Pietro in Valle is today one of the finest baroque buildings in this region.

Situated along Via G. Nolfi, it has an extremely simple brick façade.

The single nave interior with side chapels and dome, is characterised by a richly fluid style of painted decoration. The stucco-work was carried out by Pietro Solari in 1619 while the frescoes are by Antonio Viviani of Urbino (1618-1620). The magnificent decoration of the dome (1699-1700) is the work of the Bologna artist Lauro Buonaguardia.
A rich collection of paintings, today housed in the Civic Art Gallery, originally decorated the building. These paintings are by Antonio Viviani, Guido Reni, Alessandro Vitali, Giovan Giacomo Pandolfi, Simone Cantarini, Matteo Loves, Luigi Garzi, Lorenzo Garbieri, Giovanni Francesco Guerrieri, Sebastiano Ceccarini and Carlo Magini.