Bagni di Lucca is an Italian town of 6.095 inhabitants in the province of Lucca (Val di Lima), in Tuscany.
Bagni di Lucca was a true elite destination for European tourism before the boom of the coasts made us forget this corner of Lucca, which the British called the “Switzerland of Tuscany”. Just the Anglo-Saxons were the first to discover Bagni di Lucca and the therapeutic properties of its waters, loving it to the point of transforming it into a small second home.
Although the Roman presence has left few artifacts, it can be dated back to the 3rd century BC. and more stable in the second century BC, when Lucca became an important Roman colony. The presence of Roman colonists can also be found in the toponymy of the places: Brandeglio, Villa Terenziana, Vico Pancellorum, Lugliano, Palleggio, Vetteglia, Casabasciana, Benabbio, Ponte a Diana, Corsena (with the Centurion plaque), etc.
At the spa, the legend tells of the existence of the cult of Celtic gods protecting the waters, while the presence in the valley of the cult of Diana is testified by its temple, above which the church of San Cassiano di Controni was built.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the valley also underwent barbarian invasions, which caused unspeakable suffering for the populations. The dominion of the Lombards since 570 and the subsequent union of the Roman population with the Germans led to the repopulation of mountain areas considered healthier and more defensible.
With the conversion to Christianity in 603 there will be the ecclesiastical divisions of the area still in force (pieve dei Monti di Villa “Villa Terenziana”, pieve di Controni, pieve di Vico Pancellorum, pieve di Casabasciana).
The division into domains of powerful consortiums of Lombard origin will dominate until the advent of the Franks and the division into fiefdoms will remain unchanged until the penetration of the Municipality of Lucca into the valley.
Bagni di Lucca became “summer capital and flagship” of the Lucca state.
The restoration, with the Bourbons, and above all with the duchy of Carlo Ludovico from 1826 to 1847, will project Bagni di Lucca to the level of tourist-spa resort of first importance in Europe.
Let’s start our tour in this unique and enchanting town!
Lucca Thermal Baths
The city of Lucca enjoys the proximity of the thermal baths of Lucca Thermal Baths, a popular spa town just 25 km from the historic center. Immersed in the natural landscape, the spas are located on the Tuscan Apennines in a privileged position where the Serchio river and the Lima torrent flow, whose waters containing bicarbonate sulphate and calcium have curative as well as beneficial purposes.
The hyper-thermal waters of Lucca Thermal Baths gush out at a temperature of 45 ° C and have an anti-inflammatory and relaxing effect. There is a thermal pool, whose waters flow from the thermal spring of the Doccione at 54 ° C and a wellness center that offers the possibility of following various treatments including mud, massages, face / body and anti-aging services.
The thermal springs were already known in medieval times for their therapeutic properties but acquired importance in the national and international panorama after the French Revolution thanks to Elisa Baciocchi, Napoleon’s sister, who made Bagni di Lucca one of the reference points of life worldly.
During the Belle Epoque period and at the beginning of the twentieth century, the spas of Lucca hosted numerous illustrious figures such as Pascoli, Shelley, Byron, Puccini and Henry James
Today, the baths of Lucca Thermal Baths are intact compared to the course of time, restoration interventions have only required a modernization of the lighting that accompanies the visitor in a suggestive way in the passages of the caves.
The center of Lucca Thermal Baths is in fact divided into two establishments, the Terme di Jean Varraud and Casa Boccella, where professionals treat vascular, respiratory and rheumatic diseases.
The presence of the wellness center also allows a perfect remise en forme to tone, relax and purify the body with mud, massages and treatments of specific oils and creams in an atmosphere of hospitality and welcome.
This is the first real land-based casino in Italy and the oldest in Europe: the Royal Casino of Bagni di Lucca.
It was perhaps even the first casino in history. We are talking about the Bagni di Lucca Royal Casino.
We will tell you about its rise and subsequent decline, until its closure over sixty years ago, when the concession expired. But it did not end there in fact the hall was then reopened twice more recently.
Today the Royal Casino of Bagni di Lucca operates as a gambling museum and as an automated room with many gaming devices. Without a doubt, an excellent reason to consider combining your passion for discoveries and travel with that for gambling and its history.
So, let’s see everything about this historic gambling house and then move on to what else the city of Lucca offers for a hypothetical holiday between play, relaxation and culture.
Champion of Italy, Sanremo, Saint Vincent and Venice. We are used to thinking of these four cities, when it comes to casinos in Italy but history tells us more because these popular names were not the only gambling halls in our area, and according to some historians not even the first. This title, in fact, would belong to the Bagni di Lucca Casino which, according to many historians, would be not only the first Italian casino, but even the first real casino ever to exist.
One of the first European Casinos inaugurated in 1839, built by two French entrepreneurs, Adrien Mathis and Edouard Ginnestet who obtained the gambling rights from the Duke of Lucca Carlo Lodovico in exchange for the construction.
The Games of the time were: Pharaoh, at the Royal, at the Biribisso (the ancient roulette), but there were also dance parties, literary and musical academies, but not only quarrels, duel challenges between nobles and adventurers. Today some of these games have been rebuilt from the Vicariate of Lima and can be tried during their demonstrations.
In 1847, the Duchy of Lucca passed to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Grand Duke Leopoldo prohibited gambling.
Today, the casino is used for parties, conferences, exhibitions, and weddings. Its frescoed walls and its chandeliers make the photos unique.
The Academic Theater
The Academic Theater was built in 1790 by some citizens established in the Accademia dei Provvidi. During the nineteenth century, the theater hosted both lyrical and prose plays of primary importance.
With the fading of interest both towards the spa town and towards theatrical performances, the theater was sold by the Academy to the Municipality and in 1934 underwent several works for its transformation into a cinema, including the realization of the projection booth on the stage above the real one.
After the Second World War the theater was closed, thus beginning a long period of abandonment, interrupted by the restoration undertaken in 1980 on a project by the engineer Lisandro Gambogi of Lucca and now concluded.
From 1987 until 1997 the cultural association “Il Teatraccio” managed the theater, organizing the winter prose season and many other events before it returned to full management to the municipal administration.
The theater, which presents the typical forms of Italian theater (ovoid-shaped stalls with 29 stages divided into two orders and a loggia) can be used as a space for prose and opera performances, for concerts and cultural encounters.
Today it has been used for the Prose Season and has hosted the Teatro Scuola project in the spring for 26 years, becoming a place of exchange and education for students from all over Italy.
Villa Ada was born on a late Renaissance structure owned by the Lucca family De Nobili, it was completely renovated in the nineteenth century, by Sir Mac Bean, British consul in Livorno, and at the same time the two high hexagonal towers were built that give the villa its characteristic appearance.
The building is surrounded by a large park of romantic taste, enriched by artificial limestone caves, wrought iron railings in the shape of intertwined branches, and other typical furnishing elements of the time. A path, which starts from the terrace near the villa, leads to a pergola continuing towards an artificial cave.
The villa, purchased in 1975 by the Municipality of Bagni di Lucca, was used as a spa treatment facility. To date, however, the villa is abandoned, with obvious structural problems due to poor maintenance of the property. Even the garden and the cave are paying the carelessness of the entire property. In the second half of the 90s the villa was rented to the global village which used it for spa treatments and receptions.
Restoration work began, with the painting of the villa. Interrupted almost immediately, the villa remained in disuse for years and was often used as a home by some homeless people in the area. Finally closed, the villa had been entrusted to the Vicaria Val di Lima who took care of the garden, until the contract expired, even if the entire structure would need an imposing restoration.
The villa, surrounded by a splendid park of romantic taste, is presented today as the result of overlapping of successive construction periods. The property, once used as a spa, by virtue of its characteristics and its location, is well suited to be used as a tourist-accommodation facility.
The Villa, which takes its name from Baron Fiori its first owner, represents one of the most valuable examples of neoclassical architecture. Built in the second half of the 19th century, it is now in a state of neglect. It is only rarely open for some events.
The property, which previously belonged to the Northwest Tuscany Local Health Unit, was acquired in 2008 by the municipal authority in exchange for the premises of the former Ferretti primary school. From that moment, however, a real via crucis began for Villa Fiori, which has so far not seen anyone interested in its purchase
The villa was built in the second half of the 19th century, and it is a fine architectural example with neoclassical and neo-Gothic elements, the result of stylistic reinterpretations of the early 1900s.
The property, surrounded by a beautiful garden designed according to the particular position it occupies on a bend in the Lima stream, enjoys a splendid view of the entire surrounding valley.
The property can be used as a tourist-accommodation facility with the possibility of further buildings.
The Chain Bridge
The Chain Bridge is a bridge over the Lima River located in Fornoli, a hamlet of Bagni di Lucca.
It was built from 1844 to 1860 on commission from the Duke of Lucca Carlo Ludovico di Borbone and designed by Lorenzo Nottolini. It was a futuristic work for the time. The Duke literally imposed it on his royal architect who, before drafting the project, had to personally visit similar architectures made in England.
The work is based on the innovative use of industrial iron techniques, through suspension with chains, and on a complex underground mechanism that keeps chains themselves under tension.
However, this did not prevent the design of a work that met the aesthetic criteria of the then dominant classicism, with the two triumphal arches located at the ends of the bridge.
It suffered serious damage during the Second World War, the entire planking ended in the river, but after the end of the war in 1953 it was rebuilt according to the original design.
The structure of the bridge, with its large panoramic terraces that give access to the walkway, is designed so as to make it also a meeting and social life point for the country, not just a way to cross the stream.
The work is based on the innovative use of industrial iron techniques, through suspension with chains and on a complex underground mechanism that keeps the chains in tension.
The bridge has two triumphal arches at the two ends with as many as 16 niches in which it is unknown what was to be placed later. From Nottolini’s design it also appears that above the two bases that hide the chains, two lions had to be placed, one on the right and the other on the left.
The walkway, once driveway, is made of wooden plank. The chains pass inside two openings in the arches where there are rollers on which they slide, then descend to enter two stone bases located on the terraces and then disappear into the underground floor where they are anchored.
On the Chifenti side the chains are only anchored to stone and iron pillars, and can be viewed only by lifting the lid of the bases, while on the side of Fornoli, under the bridge there is an iron gate that enters the stone base at the height of the river, inside there are tunnels that lead to a compartment where the chains are anchored with a device that keeps them in traction.
The central span of the chains supports the planking of the bridge itself by means of iron tie rods called stays which have at their ends an inverted anchor anchored to the chains which are double, two internal coupled and the other two on the two sides, the stay in its length passes in the supporting beam by drilling it and by means of a slot, always in iron, surrounds the beam supporting it. Above these beams rests a wooden plank and the walking surface.
The bridge today has a wooden and iron handrail, but this detail was added only after the complete renovation in 2003 with the intervention of the Province of Lucca and with the contribution of the World Monument Found American Express.
The Chain Bridge is the first bridge made of iron and wood in Italy.
The starting date of the works makes it one of the oldest still existing iron bridges in continental Europe.
Ponte della Maddalena
The Ponte della Maddalena (called Devil’s Bridge) crosses the Serchio river near Borgo a Mozzano, in the province of Lucca.
As a result of its shape, its taller, wider, and particular arch, almost inhuman, this pearl of engineering is the subject of many tales.
The construction of a bridge connecting the two banks of the Serchio is due to the will of the Countess Matilde di Canossa between the eleventh and twelfth centuries, but the current features are due to the remaking of Castruccio Castracani, lord of Lucca at the beginning of the 14th century.
The construction of the bridge dates back to the times of the Countess Matilde of Canossa, who lived at the turn of the year 1000 and who had great influence and power over the whole Garfagnana.
The current structure, however, is due to the reconstruction carried out by Castruccio Castracani, leader and lord of nearby Lucca, in the early 1300s. The appearance of the bridge is the classic medieval one called “humpback”, higher in the central point of the arch.
But the Devil’s Bridge offers itself with a substantial difference which here becomes a unique feature: its arches are asymmetrical and the central one is so high and wide that its solidity seems a challenge to the law of gravity.
It is called Ponte della Maddalena because of an Oratory that was located at the foot of the structure on the left bank of the Serchio river.
The bridge, although with called Ponte della Maddalena, is commonly identified as the “Devil’s Bridge”. Like many other enterprises that seemed impossible to the contemporaries, popular legend attributes the construction to the devil, who is then cheated in various ways.
The legend tells of the chief mason engaged in the construction of the bridge who was very worried about the delay accumulated in the same work, given the continuous and impetuous floods of the river. One evening in despair he began to pronounce sacrileges such as to evoke Satan. Then the devil told the master builder that he would complete the work himself in one night in exchange for the first soul to cross the bridge; chief mason accepted, and construction was completed. The foreman, desperate for the imminence of the heavy tribute to the devil, ran to the parish priest of the town, who, having heard the confession, devised a stratagem: he made a dog cross the bridge.
The devil, enraged by the shrewd gesture, took it and threw himself into the waters of the river without ever seeing him again. It is also said that the dog, a completely white Maremma shepherd, occasionally sees himself walking on the bridge in the last evenings of October and that he represents the devil who still seeks the soul of the foreman. It is also said to be able to observe the petrified body of the poor animal on the bottom of the river. arious alterations, remained intact at least until 1836 when a violent flood of the Serchio caused serious damage.
At the beginning of 1900, a new arch was opened in the part ending in the west for the passage of the Lucca-Aulla railway, heavily modifying its original shape.
Best places to see in Senigallia, the town with a long velvet beach
Senigallia is an Italian town of 44.464 inhabitants in the province of Ancona in the Marche, second in the province by number of inhabitants after the capital, as well as the sixth most populated in the region.
It is one of the main tourist resorts of the Marche region, attracting visitors from all over Italy and Europe.
Its territory is mainly flat but surrounded by hills sloping down towards the sea; the historic center follows the urban layout of the Roman city which was founded on a hill south of the Misa river.
Senigallia was founded between 389 and 383 BC from the Gallic tribe of the Senoni who had settled in the north of the Marche up to the valley of the river Esino, in the current province of Ancona: probably the choice, made according to legend by the chief tribe Brenno, was dictated by the presence of a low hill facing the sea and dominating the existing ford. From here, defined the “capital” of the Gauls in Italy, at the head of Brenno they moved against Rome, winning their armies and withdrawing only after paying a heavy tribute.
Since 1997 Senigallia has been continuously awarded the Blue Flag, the recognition that the FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education) gives to places that guarantee the quality of bathing water, attention to environmental management, information to the user, services and safety on the beach.
Senigallia boasts a long beach, the velvet beach, spacious and deep, ideal for family holidays. The seabed slopes gently and also allow children to dive without fear. The Blue Flag is the guarantee of water quality and virtuous environmental management.
Senigallia is one of the most sought-after seaside tourism centers on the Adriatic coast with over 13 km of golden sand. Available to holiday-makers accommodation for all tastes, from 5-star hotels to low-cost camping.
And then bathing establishments, bars, restaurants, pizzerias, pubs, discos to satisfy every need, even that of children.
Let’s start our visit in this amazing Italian town!
The Rocca di Senigallia, also known as Rocca Roveresca, named after the clients, Della Rovere, is located in Senigallia, in the Marche region, in the province of Ancona and is one of the most important monuments in the city. The Rocca, owned by the Italian State, already being delivered to the Superintendency for the Architectural Heritage and Landscape of the Marche region, has been part of the assets managed by the Marche Museum Center since December 2014. It is one of the most visited monuments in the region and hosts exhibitions, musical and artistic events. In 2015 it registered 46.090 visitors.
Rocca Roveresca is an essential stop in visiting the city of Senigallia. The Rocca can be defined as an extraordinary history book: in fact, it is the result of the overlap of defensive structures that have followed over the centuries, since the origins of the city, in a site of decisive strategic importance.
Over time, towers and bastions have been added to the defensive structure since the Roman foundation of the city: the remains of the 14th century Rocchetta built by Egidio Albornoz are still visible, behind which the Rocca di Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta (1450) was built in 1450.
The current structure of the monument is due to Giovanni della Rovere, lord of Senigallia, and son-in-law of Federico III da Montefeltro, duke of Urbino. It was precisely Duke Federico who made the best architects of the time available to Giovanni: Luciano Laurana and Baccio Pontelli. The intervention began in 1478 with the aim of adapting the fortress to new defensive needs. In 1503 the fortress was conquered by Cesare Borgia who in Senigallia made the famous massacre described by Niccolò Machiavelli.
The Rocca Roveresca is unique in its kind because it was not only a fortress, but also a stately home, home to an artillery school founded by Guidubaldo della Rovere in 1533; the ducal dynasty became extinct, after the return of the city under the dominion of the Church in 1631, it was a papal prison and an orphanage.
Today it hosts art exhibitions and prestigious cultural events.
Palazzo del Duca
Palazzo del Duca is one of the most representative historical buildings in the city of Senigallia (AN), in the Marche region.
The structure, formerly the representative residence of the Della Rovere and their guests since the 16th century, stands in front of the Rocca Roveresca, on the longest side of the homonymous square which served as a courtyard.
Wanted by Guidobaldo II della Rovere, the work was then completed by Francesco Maria II. Girolamo Genga’s design was concluded in the second half of the 16th century.
Inside, a splendid coffered ceiling attributed to Taddeo Zuccari embellishes the Throne Room. The forty-nine chests of drawers were probably made between 1553 and 1555 and recall joyful, cheerful, festive atmospheres. But you can also notice irony and satire about political and cultural power: the master Zuccari paints carnival themes showing an imaginary upside down world, where children, represented by putti, rule over adults, and the poor over the rich. Also in the Throne Room there is also a genealogical tree on paper of the Della Rovere family.
The building overlooks the homonymous square, whose name refers instead to Giovanni Della Rovere. The square has unique characteristics for the Renaissance period: no religious building overlooks it and the so-called Fountain of the Ducks (or Lions) is located in a decentralized position, thus confirming the military use of this space.
The fountain, built between 1599 and 1602, was commissioned by Francesco Maria II della Rovere to remind the population of the rehabilitation of the Saline marshland.
Ducks symbolize the poultry fauna present in the wetland, while the water features represent the control of the waters, once carriers of diseases and now a symbol of prosperity.
Ercolani Arcades, which line the right bank of the Misa with a suggestive sequence of one hundred and twenty-six arches in Istrian stone, were built to welcome the many merchants who arrived in the city in July on the occasion of the famous Frankish Fair of La Maddalena.
Ercolani Arcades replace the walls of the ancient fortress city which no longer has any reason to exist and are the symbol of the new market town.
The arcades testify a period of great splendour for Senigallia and the work is undoubtedly one of the major characteristics of the city. Monsignor Giuseppe Ercolani (1677-1759), who designed them in the mid-eighteenth century by the will of Pope Benedict XIV, aka Prospero Lambertini, is remembered in the name, with the aim of hosting the famous Franca Fair in continuous expansion.
Ercolani Arcades are still the place designated for trade, in fact they fill up with colors and stalls during the three days of the Sant’Agostino fair (from 28 to 30 August) and every Thursday for the weekly market. Nothing to do, however, with the golden days of the Maddalena fair, when the flow of merchants was so high that the arcades seemed to be insufficient to contain them all.
These blocks of white stone (from Istria) constitute the 126 majestic arches that rest on square pillars, following the course of the Misa river before the waters disperse into the Adriatic Sea.
Originally, they should have also extended to the left bank, but this idea was abandoned due to the excessive cost of the works.
Church of the Cross
The Church of the Cross is a sacred building in Senigallia dating back to 1608, built on the wishes of the Confraternity of the Sacrament and of the Cross near the central Piazza Roma.
The late Renaissance exterior contrasts with the Baroque interior, characterized by six lateral altars surrounding the altarpiece of the Carriage of Christ at the tomb of Federico Barocci, located above the main altar.
Designed by the ducal architect Muzio Oddi, the Church was consecrated in 1608 on behalf of the Confraternity of the Sacrament and the Cross active in assisting the neediest. The original idea was in fact to make it an oratory for the confreres, and its structure recalls more a room than a church.
The present decorations are admirable, including stuccos, golds, six side altars and the unusual coffered ceiling, a masterpiece of shades between gold and bronze. This small and precious church houses numerous works of art including a authentic jewel: the Altarpiece painted by Federico Barocci in 1592 representing The Burial of Christ.
The painting depicts Christ brought to the tomb by Giuseppe d’Arimatea and Nicodemo, almost an ideal continuation of the “Deposition”, previously painted for the Cathedral of Perugia. In the background the Monte Calvario and the Ducal Palace of Urbino.
Among the side altars, the one dedicated to Santa Barbara stands out, with two cannon barrels to frame the painting of the saint, patron, among other things, of the bombers who had a training school at the Rocca Roveresca.
The main altar has a sumptuous tabernacle with golden embroidery in floral bas-relief and cherubs. Six other altars are arranged on the sides and contain 17th and 18th century works. The ceiling has an extraordinary square coffered decoration, enriched with arabesques and a central band with the symbols of the Cross and the Eucharist, the coat of arms of the Confraternity of the Sacrament and the Cross. In addition to the statue of the dead Christ, a work made of wood dated XVII, you can admire a backdrop of Barocci “The transport of the dead Christ to the sepulcher” and 4 works by the Senigallian painter Giovanni Anastasi (“The nativity”, “The adoration of the magi “,” The Nunciating angel “and” The virgin Annunziata “).
Museum of modern art, information, and photography
The museum of modern art, information and photography – MUSINF is a museum established in 1981 in order to document the history of the relationship between word and image in information, up to the most recent forms of copy art, visual poetry, computer art, fax art. The structure is located in a building near the La Fenice theater, founded in 1981 by the Municipality on the advice of the critic Carlo Emanuele Bugatti and with the approval of the artists Virgilio Guidi, Umberto Mastroianni and Orfeo Tamburi.
The museum, to which various artists have given their works, documents the history of the relationship between word and image in information, up to the most recent forms of copy art, visual poetry, ex libris and mail art, positioning itself between the main Italian centers for the documentation of contemporary art, engraving and photography.
The section dedicated to photography contains over 1,700 images donated by more than 50 artists. Particular attention was given to the Photographic Association Misa (to which photographers such as Ferruccio Ferroni and Piergiorgio Branzi joined), born in Senigallia thanks to Giuseppe Cavalli, and to the 250 photos of Mario Giacomelli dating back to the fifties.
The collection includes 350 xerography, 11 volumes and other material from the Xeros-Art of Milan, also exhibited in 1988 at the Ancona fair, exhibited with the title of Electroworks and in which they exhibited some of the most important artists of international copy art such as Julien Blaine, Guglielmo Achille Cavellini, Emilio Morandi, Bruno Munari, Clemente Padin, Pierre Restany, Daniele Sasson.
The origins of the archive dedicated to this branch of the Avant-garde are due to the artists Eugenio Miccini and Mirella Bentivoglio, who first donated some of their works. In a short time, about 200 other personalities (including foreigners) from the sector did the same, including the Italian Institute of New York University, and the municipal administrations of La Spezia and Ravenna asked on loan to exhibit it in their cities, soon imitated by the museum. Moscow State Library.
Among the authors present, there are also Jean-Francois Bory, Antonio Bueno, Ugo Carrega, Klaus Groh, Stelio Maria Martini, Magdalo Mussio, Sarenco, Elisabetta Gut, Julien Blaine, Lamberto Pignotti, Luciano Caruso and Adriano Spatola.
The area dedicated to the ex libris was opened in the last months of 1986 to accommodate large collections of authors dating back to the post-war period, with continuous additions over time up to exhibiting works by 50 Italian and 130 foreign artists.
The Foro Annonario di Senigallia is a structure located in the city of Senigallia, in the province of Ancona, located in the historic center and a few steps from the central Piazza Roma, as well as very close to the Misa river.
The work was designed in 1834 by the architect Pietro Ghinelli in neoclassical style, who proposed a circular plan on which 24 Doric-style columns arose which support the structure above and form a portico. To build the whole bricks were used.
The history of the construction of the Foro Annonario is included in a time span from 1810 to 1847 and is marked by the drafting of more than ten projects, different from each other but all focused on the idea of a new square as the urban backdrop of the axis of the riverside, parallel to the eighteenth-century Ercolani arcades.
Only in 1835 was the project approved by the architect Pietro Ghinelli (1759-1834), municipal engineer from Senigallia since 1816, a project that envisages a neoclassical building, entirely in exposed brick, consisting of a central body, with references to the plan basilical, and with the function of a fish market, on which two porticoed arms are grafted, lower, such as to form an elliptical square.
The square, which is the heart of the Foro Annonario, is therefore delimited by two colonnades, behind which warehouses and shops open: a complex of 24 columns with Doric-style capitals and a continuous entablature between the two arms and the fish market, this the last characterized on the longitudinal sides by 6 columns and, above the entablature, by 7 semicircular holes.
In 1845, the need to increase military strength in Senigallia led to the decision to raise the two arms of the portico of the Foro Annonario in order to create dormitories for soldiers, commissioning the architect Vincenzo Ghinelli (1792-1871), nephew of Pietro, of the drafting of the project. The new architectural composition, completed in 1847, if on the one hand cancels the pre-eminence of the body of the fish market on the side porticos making the whole complex more volumetrically homogeneous, respects the stylistic features of the neoclassical architecture of the original project, even with the repetition above the entablature holes in a semicircle.
After one hundred and fifty years, since 1998 with the restoration project by the Pisan architects Massimo and Gabriella Carmassi, the old dormitories with exposed roof trusses are used as a space for the municipal library.
As in every city, one or more monument identifies its place, the Forum Annonario is, for the writer, the symbolic building of Senigallia. Its role as an urban place par excellence has remained unchanged since its construction, as today as then it is the center of the daily market, both indoors and in the square, a meeting point, and theatrical background for cultural events and shows, urbanistically a space of extraordinary charm.
Today there is a daily sale of fish (under the portico), fruit and vegetables (in the central square), while in the attic there is the library and the municipal archive.
Church and convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie
The church and convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie are located about three kilometers south-east from the historic center of Senigallia. The complex, owned by the local municipality, is of primary importance for the Miseno territory by virtue of its spiritual function, its artistic value and its centuries-old history, linked in particular to the noblest periods of the city, from the domain of Giovanni Della Oak to the pontificate of Pope Pius IX.
Currently the accessible areas of the complex are only those of the ancient convent, where the pastoral premises of the Catholic parish and the “Sergio Anselmi” sharecropping history museum are located, while the church has been closed to the public since 13 September 2016 due to deterioration of the roof and damage to the internal wall lining.
Instead of the current monumental complex, before 1491 there was a shrine or small church called “Madonna del pinocchio” or “Santa Maria del Pignotto”, whose name probably derived from the fact that the place was surrounded by pine trees. Around it stretched a large forest, then gradually deforested until it was completely replaced by fields, vegetable gardens and buildings, as well as by the city cemetery starting from 1871.
The church and the convent were designed by the architect Baccio Pontelli da Urbino (around 1449-1494) on commission from Giovanni Della Rovere, lord of the city, and built starting from 1491. According to the master book of the convent, kept at the municipal historical archive, the first Friars Minor settled there already in 1492. Subsequently the factory was revised and enlarged, according to the historical testimony of Vasari, by the architect Gerolamo Genga (1476-1551) at the behest of Francesco Maria I Della Rovere, in an intervention started certainly before the latter’s death, which occurred in 1538.
According to the historical testimony of friar Francesco Gonzaga and Bishop Pietro Ridolfi, the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie was built as a vow made by Giovanni Della Rovere for the birth of the much desired male son, Francesco Maria, who was born on 25 March 1490 by his wife Giovanna Di Montefeltro. The historian Francesco Benelli suggests a further motivation: to use the Graces as a mausoleum of the Roveresco family, in imitation of the church of San Bernardino in Urbino by the Montefeltro family. In fact, the brother-in-law Antonello Sanseverino, prince of Salerno, is buried in the church of the Graces before Giovanni; the daughter Girolama; the mother Teodora Manerola.
In September 2008, the Friars Minor, after 515 years of uninterrupted presence, left the pastoral leadership of the Parish, which was taken on by the secular priests of the diocese. The parish uses the part of the now former convent adjacent to the church with the minor cloister for pastoral purposes.
On September 13, 2016, with Ordinance no. 528 signed by the Manager of the Technical Area and Environment Territory and by the Mayor of the Municipality of Senigallia, the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is closed to safeguard the public and private safety of the visitors. The provision is the result of the serious deterioration of the roof and of injuries to the internal wall lining erected in 1626. Since then, the parish community has no access to the church and is forced to continue its liturgical and pastoral activities in the rooms that remain.