Civitanova Alta’s mediaeval layout has remained unchanged, with its defensive walls, 15th-century Marina and Sant’Angelo Gates, churches, historical residences, narrow streets and views over the countryside to the distant Adriatic. The town allows you to delve into the past to enjoy a thrilling afternoon surrounded by breathtaking views and history.
DEPARTURE: Civitanova Porto
ARRIVAL: Piazza Garibaldi, the former washhouse car park, the parking area around the castle walls
DURATION: half day
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: average
NEARBY CAR PARKS: former washhouse car park, Campo Boario car park, Piazza Libertà car park, castle walls parking area
MEANS OF ARRIVAL: private vehicles, public transport
ELENCO DEI MONUMENTI O LUOGHI DELL’ITINERARIO
– Porta Sant’Angelo e Porta Marina
– Chiesa SS. Sacramento
– Palazzi storici
– Auditorium Sant’Agostino
– Spazio Multimediale San Francesco
– Chiesa San Paolo Apostolo
– Teatro “Annibal Caro”
– Pinacoteca Comunale “Marco Moretti” e casa di Annibal Caro
Arriving by car along Via Celeste, Civitanova Alta can be entered from the east through the 15th-century Sant’Angelo Gate or through Marina Gate, with a Cyprus tree growing from its battlements. Just inside is Piazza Garibaldi: on the right, beside the former Santa Lucia Hospital, is the 16th-century church of the Santissimo Sacramento, belonging to the “Confraternita della Misericordia” (Mercy Confraternity), which also used to run the old hospital. Take Via Minniti, off which some narrow streets, “Vicolos” Della Fortuna, Della Luna (or the “Jewish Ghetto”, of which only a small brick arch with a wrought iron frieze remains), Dell’Aquila and Della Ginestra, provide a view of the north walls and the northern landscape as far as the Conero headland. Arriving in Piazza dell’Unità, straight ahead is Palazzo Donati, built in the 16th century and renovated several times. It has a striking 18th-century-style brick doorway with pilasters and doric capitals. To the left, in Via Duca d’Aosta, is Palazzo Centofiorini, the residence of one of city’s leading aristocratic families from the 16th to 17th century, which has a beautiful early 16th-century doorway. Close by is Piazza della Libertà, from which enchanting narrow streets branch out, and also Corso Annibal Caro, which is the site of the homonymous historic 18th-century theatre, the Romanesque Gothic church of Sant’Agostino, now an Auditorium, and Annibal Caro’s house, now the site of the “Marco Moretti” Municipal Picture Gallery. Continuing onwards, you reach some characteristic narrow streets, “Vicolos” Del Pavone, Di Sant’Agostino, Della Notte and Bonaparte (just after the entrance to the former Dominican convent, now the “Imperatrice Eugenia” Municipal Guest Quarters, and the adjacent Church of the Madonna Bella). The 17th-century Palazzo Conti is also in Corso Annibal Caro. Further ahead is Piazza della Vittoria, site of Vicus Cluentensis, the ancient Roman settlement, with its aqueduct tower, built in 1935 by the city Governor Pier Alberto Conti. Behind this, in Via Croce Santa, is the birthplace of the dancer and choreographer Enrico Cecchetti, who lived from 1850 to 1928. From here you reach Via del Sole, which has a marvellous view of the Marches countryside from the walls. After Via del Tramonto, and the little streets with redbrick houses, there is a staircase leading to Via della Tramvia, a characteristic square next to the old livestock market. The rampart of the 15th-century Ponte Gate, also known as “Porta Mercato” (Market Gate), can still be seen here, as well as the Art Nuoveau-style Tramvia building, from 1910.
If you enter the upper town from the South, you pass under San Paolo Gate, also known as “Porta Zoppa” (Lame Gate), which, together with Marina Gate, has remained unchanged, unlike Girone Gate in the West and Porta Mercato in the North. There is a short route from here along Via Aurora, a typical narrow street with small houses built against the south walls, Vicolo Paolo Ricci, with the palace of the Ricci marquises and an elegant bridge-shaped loggia, and the nearby Vicolo dell’Arco, as far as Piazza della Libertà. The Church of San Paolo Apostolo is here, as well as the Palazzo della Delegazione, and the Church of San Francesco, now a multimedia centre, just opposite Palazzo Frisciotti-Bernardini. The late 16th-century Palazzo Ducale, undergoing restoration, with its beautiful brickwork doorway, can also be seen in the square. Retracing your steps, we recommend seeing Via Oberdan, which has various aristocratic buildings: 18th-century Palazzo Ferretti; 17th-century Palazzo Natinguerra, home of an aristocratic family that lived in the city from the 12th century; opposite this is Palazzo Paci, which was renovated in Neoclassical style; further along is the elegant Palazzo Ciccolini, from the 18th century, where the Ciccolini family, originally from Macerata, resided from 1622; and palazzo Frisciotti de’ Pellicani, where Vittorio Emanuele II stayed in 1860, displaying the family coat of arms over the doorway, with a dog chasing a pelican. Once you reach Marina Gate, on a clear day there is a splendid view over the green surrounding countryside, as far as Civitanova Porto and the blue sea beyond, providing a unique background for a beautiful photograph.