Trip to Senigallia

Senigallia, the town with a long velvet beach

June 8, 2021 | By

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.

The Italian Velvet Beach

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!

Rocca Roveresca

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

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.

Foro Annonario

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.

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