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CITY TOURS

Fano Middle Ages period

PORTA MAGGIORE AND NUTI BASTION

Built when the city was expanded in 1227, the Porta Maggiore (Main Gate) has been subjected over the centuries to a great deal of rebuilding. The gateway was attacked by troops under the command of Duke Federico da Montefeltro in 1463 and the entire construction was rebuilt in the second half of the 15th century to a design by the architect Matteo Nuti.
After further rebuilding in the first years of the 20th century, the present monumental entrance has two entries (for vehicles and pedestrians).
The interior is open but it is possible to see traces of an upper control room and on the sides towards the walls the embrasures for support-fire.

The Nuti Bastion (named after its architect) was partly demolished during the Fascist period to create a monumental entrance into the city. It was low built, with a steep escarpment and rampart inside and constituted the defensive stronghold next to the gateway.
On the western corner, a polygonal reinforcement tower joined up with the ancient Roman walls.
Since the 1930s the area of this fortification has been used as a public garden.

 

PALAZZO DEL PODESTA'

This building, on the southern side of Piazza XX Settembre (known also as "Palazzo della Ragione"), was built in 1299 when the difficult period of rivalries between local families required the presence of a "Podestà".
Altered over the centuries both externally and in the use of internal spaces, the Palace is designed with a stone portico of five round arches. Above, the brick façade is interrupted by large four-lighted windows.
In three niches at the centre of the building there is a triptych of the patron saints of the city: St Paternian in the middle, St Fortunatus and St Eusebius in the sides.
Inside this magnificent building today is the neo-classical Theatre of Fortune, built between 1845 and 1863 by Luigi Poletti replacing its 17th century predecessor, designed by Giacomo Torelli of Fano.

BASILICA CATHEDRAL

The Cathedral, dedicated to the Assumption, stands on Via Arco di Augusto. It was rebuilt in 1140 after a fire had destroyed the earlier building. Its brick and sandstone façade is typically Romanesque, with a richly decorated ribbed portal.
The church bell tower to the left was built to replace the original cylindrical bell tower.

 

In the interior, comprising three aisles and side chapels which were added from the 14th century onwards, there are several noteworthy features. These include a pulpit made from sculptures from the earlier Church, with Romanesque reliefs representing episodes from Christ's childhood, and the 17th-century Nolfi Chapel on which the architect Girolamo Rainaldi collaborated. This was frescoed with The Story of the Virgin by Domenico Zampieri (Domenichino) between 1618 and 1619.
In the Chapel of the Patron Saints you can see paintings of The Virgin with Saints Urses and Eusebius by Ludovico Carracci while on the main altar is The Virgin in Glory by Sebastiano Ceccarini.

MALATESTA TOMBS

Moved in the 17th century from inside the Church of San Francesco which the Malatesta family had chosen as their place of burial, today the Malatesta Tombs lie under the portico of the same church.
The tomb of Bianca Malatesta, the first wife of Pandolfo III of Malatesta, which is situated to the left of the portal, is a real masterpiece of late Gothic sculpture and the work of the Venetian sculptor Filippo di Domenico. A magnificent group of sculptures crowns her beautiful effigy on the lid of the sarcophagus.

In 1460, Sigismondo Pandolfo built the Renaissance tomb which was to house the body of his father Pandolfo III, to a design attributed to Leon Battista Alberti. Situated on the right of the doorway, on a tall sand-stone plinth, the rose and black granite tomb in 1995 brought to light the embalmed body of Pandolfo.
At the lower end of the Malatesta Loggia, supported by three corbels, is the simplest sarcophagus of Bonetto da Castelfranco, Sigismondo's faithful doctor. The tomb dates from the first half of the 15th century.

MALATESTA PALACE

From the Palazzo del Podestà, passing through the monumental Borgia-Cybo archway, we reach the entrance-hall which leads to the Malatesta Court.
The oldest part of the residence, on the south-west side, was built some time after 1357 when Galeotto Malatesta had become lord of Fano. Today, this side is occupied by the offices of the Cassa di Risparmio di Fano Bank.
The actual Malatesta Palace, on the north-eastern side, was built on the orders of Pandolfo III Malatesta between 1413 and 1421. Thoroughly restored in 1929, it still preserves the beautiful two-lighted Gothic windows in carved brick, both on the side overlooking the courtyard and on the opposite side. The stairway and the Loggia were built in 1544.
The interior today houses the Archaeological Museum and Art Gallery.

 

MALATESTA FORTRESS

The Malatesta Fortress rises at the north-eastern extremity of the ancient walled walls and had at its angular vertex a severe imposing watchtower, the Mastio, victim of the barbarity of the men in war (1944). Today the remains of the crenellated ancient walkway that corresponds to the area occupied by the so-called Rocchetta are linked to the massive foundations of the scarp base survivor; certainly the oldest part of the fortress, built on the remains of Roman and medieval defense works and perhaps prior to the construction intervention begun in 1438 at the behest of Sigismondo Malatesta who most likely also took care of the design with the collaboration of the architect Matteo Nuti. Intervention that ended in 1452 with the erection of the mentioned Mastio: an ideal outpost for coastal surveillance and, if necessary, also a lighthouse to guide the route of the Fano and Malatesta ships that had its landing with "shovel" just below the fortress. The construction then underwent, in relation to the changing defensive needs and historical events, adaptations and modifications, while maintaining overall the original physiognomy of a large fortified rectangle, bordered by cliffs with sturdy corner towers. A double drawbridge equipped with a ravelin made it possible to overcome the moat and access the interior, where today is the double masonry bridge that from the tree-lined piazzale Malatesta reaches the atrium, which flows into the vast lawned courtyard, bordered by the wall supporting the walkways and the low building that houses the old cells and the small chapel on the eastern side. Originally terraced, the latter was later raised and covered with a roof to house a large stable which was accessed via the characteristic brick ramp on the right of the entrance: an environment now used for exhibitions and art exhibitions. In the underground tunnels and secret passages put the fortress in communication with the city and the outside, but today this communications network is completely impractical, nor are there reliefs that allow exploration. Currently, following restoration work, the La Rocca courtyard in the summer welcomes large-scale events and shows hosting up to 800 seats.