||MONTALTO DELLE MARCHE, LA CITTA' DI SISTO V
realizzato per il Comune di Montalto M. dall'ITG
"Fazzini - Mercantini" di Grottammare (a.s.
Coordinamento dipartimento lingue straniere Prof. Andrea Virgili
|MONTALTO DELLE MARCHE
Montalto Marche rises between the Aso and Tesino valleys. It is situated at 512 meters above sea level in the heart of the Piceno Hillside and has a superb all round view of the uncontaminated surrounding Marchigiani hillsides as well as a view of the sea and the snowy tops of the Sibillini mountains.
Woods, vineyards and hillside olive yards gradually make way to the fruit orchards near the Aso river valley which still today works a XVI century water mill .
The central position of Montalto had already been considered in the medieval by the Benedettini monks from Farfa who chose the convent of Saint Augustine as the seat of the provincial congregation of 15 territories of the Farfense ruling.
In year 1215 Saint Francis of Assisi, according to tradition, chose this territory to spread his teaching and built the convent of “Delle Fratte” in the heart of a century old wood. The convent is full of frescoes from the Giotto school period.
Felice Peretti studied in this convent and was elected pope in 1585 under the name of Sisto V . He gave Montalto a city title making it head of an autonomous ruling. It was called the State of Montalto and had a jurisdiction over towns and villages which went from the Sibillini mountains to the Adriatic sea.
When Italy became united , the Sistine ruling was abolished but the towns of “Porchia” and “Patrignone” remained part of the territory of Montalto.
This own is situated on a rocky hillside in between two precipices at the beginning of the Menocchia valley.
The structures of the small town centre are full of fragments from the medieval. It has an important polygon tower which dates back to the XVI century.
A visit to the S. Lucia church must not be missed. It has a painting by Vincenzo Pagani and the crypt has a nativity by Giacomo Bonfini which dates back to the XVI century.
This town is also situated on a rock surrounded by two gorges.
It is a pretty medieval village which has kept its yellowish colour of bricks of the houses found along the small winding roads. It has maintained its architectural outlook of the ancient history of the town.
The steep and picturesque road called “Corso Antonio Bonfini” leads to a small square made up almost completely of the church-square of the Romanesque church S.Maria in Viminatu which is filled with some important frescoes dating back to the XIV and XVII century.
The “SS. Annunziata” church of the XVI century and contains some frescoes by Giacomo Bonfini (born in Patrignone).
The “S. Maria delle Grazie” Church dates back to year 300 and contains frescoes from year 400 by the monk Marino Angeli.
MONTALTO – THE HISTORY
There are traces of prehistory which can be found in the local archaeological museum. There are also quite a few remains from the roman civilization which have lead historians to believe that the roman city called “Novana”, mentioned by “Plinio” the elder, was situated here.
Also to be found in this territory is the Hellenistic sanctuary of Cuma from Monterinaldo, which dates back to the 3rd/2nd century before Christ.
There are a number of parchments (which date as far back as the XII century) to be found in the town archives which contain proof of the civil lifestyle of the people from Montalto during the centuries.
The town library is situated in the civic tower in the same building. It stores literary works such as poetry, history books, geographic books, religious volumes and economic studies which date from the XVI to the XX century.
However, the main history from Montalto is connected essentially to the story of Pope Sisto V.
Having created the state of Montalto in 1586, the town becomes prestigious and similar to the status in the towns of Ascoli and Fermo.
The power of the ruling Governor in Montalto was also able to sentence capital punishments.
Montalto became a Curia court where a college of notaries, lawyers and attorneys was founded.
In 1586, Pope Sisto V assigned the town as a Papal court and established a humanist school.
In 1587 he founded a mint, had the Apostolic chamber building built (where the town hall is now situated), constructed the new cathedral and planned a new city which was to receive the Holy Sepulchre from Palestine.
This status lasted a few centuries until the end of the Papal state of Montalto it was the seat of the District Government.
At the end of XVIV century, Montalto had another illustrious citizen, Giuseppe Sacconi, the architect who realised the monument “The Patriot Altar” in Rome.
THE BASILICA CATHEDRAL OF S.MARIA ASSUNTA
In 1587 the first bishop of Montalto, Giovannini , arranged for the construction of the new cathedral (the project was prepared by the architect Girolamo Rainaldi) around the area where the shrine dedicated to the Madonna of the “Misericordia” was erected. The fresco from this shrine of the XIV century can be found in the first chapel on the left hand aisle.
The works progressed briskly during the four years of Pope Sisto V ruling and, after his death, the works were taken over by his nephew the Cardinal Alessandro Peretti who completed the magnificent crypt where Pope Sisto V wanted to transfer the Holy Sepulchre from Jerusalem .
The final works in neo-classic style, were designed by the architect Luigi Poletti (who also carried out the reconstruction of the Basilica of S. Paul in Rome).
Between 1875 and 1880, the Bishop Aronne entrusted the artist from Monsnpietrangeli, Luigi Fontana, to carry out frescoes which have made this cathedral one of the most admired ones in the Marche region.
Amongst various other paintings inside this church, you can find important paintings such as “the Nativity”, “the Transit” and “the Hunting scene of Adam and Eve in paradise” on the cupola.
The Deposition group made up of seven statues realised by the sculptor Giorgio Paci can be found inside the crypt.
THE DIOCESAN SISTINO MUSEUM
Recently, the diocese of San Benedetto del Tronto, Ripatransone and Montalto realised this inter-municipality Diocesan Sistino Museum to emphasis and protect the immense patrimony of sacred art present in this territory. The informatics inventory of the arts has already started and more than three thousand pieces have already been examined (more then one thousand are fro Montalto).
The pieces are exhibited at the seminar building.
The gifts which Pope Sisto V gave to his territory are the most precious pieces which make up the patrimony of the Piceno area. In particular, his extraordinary reliquary stands out. It is extremely beautiful and a rare piece of French goldsmith art of the XV century.
“When you see this reliquary you will see that it is not something to be underestimated and not made form mediocre artisans. In fact ,it is made of pure gold and silver and is bordered by precious stones.”
These are the words which Sisto V stated in year 1586, when he accompanied the famous reliquary to the papal treasury.
Amongst the other major works in the museum, you can find the polychrome crucifix on wood which dates back to the XIII century made by S. Francesco delle Fratte.
The ancient building where the Governor of the State of Montalto had its seat is now the town hall . It has an important installation and the architectural design is very prestigious.
As soon as you enter this building you are amazed by the numerous coats of arms in travertine with the Governor’s arms which for three centuries have marked the Montalto armed force. The council chamber shows a watercolour painting of the 17 towns which were under the Montalto ruling.
Four museums, organised by the Archaeology club and by the town council, can also be found inside this building. The museums are the archaeology museum , the civic picture gallery, the prison museum and the ethnographic museum.
CIVIC PICTURE GALLERY
The paintings to be found inside this picture gallery include works from the XV to XX century.
Some of the rooms are assigned to the towns which make up the territory: Porchia, Patrignone and Valdaso.
In the Sistine room, a part from the portraits of Pope Sisto V, his sister Camilla and nephew the Cardinal Alessandro Peretti, you can also find some autographed documents, furniture and clothing which belonged to the Governor which date back to the XVI century along with a gold collection of medals and farthing belonging to the mint of Montalto.
One of the rooms is the copy of the Architect Giuseppe Sacconi’s study.
There is a permanent exhibition of his original drawings, photographs, documents and relics related to his works of the Monument dedicated to Vittorio Emanuele II, the Peace Altar.
A part from the photograph library which contains old and rare photos of the territory and the room dedicated to the artist Osvaldo Licini, particular attention should be dedicated to the beautiful Nativity painting attributed to Sebastiano Grezzi, an artist born in Comunanza in the 16th century.
THE PRISON MUSEUM
The prison building of the State of Montalto which dates 16th century has been maintained perfectly. Visitors can follow the stories of some of the prisoners which have been extracted from original documents via audio and special sound effects.
The main prison fittings, the graffiti and drawings on the walls contribute towards the story of this environment.
Some of the most significant pieces of the Marchigiani rural civilisations can be found in the cellars of the Civic Town Hall.
Some of the items to be found are: a beautifully decorated country horse cart, old looms, ploughs, water mill paddles, grindstones and other items of ordinary day use.
|EXHIBITIONS, TRADITIONAL HOLIDAYS AND TRADE FAIRS
- “Appennini” festival (third Saturday in May) – Choral Singing Review organised by “La Cordata” Choral group.
- The night of the “witches & Elves” (14th August)
- Local dialect theatre review (July-August)
- “Geoflora” trade fair (Palm Sunday)
- Market day: every Wednesday
- “Sistino” trade fair: Wednesday before bank holiday 15th August
- “San Vito” holiday: 15th June
- “Santa Lucia” festival (12-13-14 December)
- “Santa Lucia” trade fair: 12-13 December
- May day holiday (1st May)
- Live nativity show in Porchia (Christmas eve and 26th Dec.)
- “S. Apollonia” holiday (9th February)
- Boiled Egg cracking tournament: Tuesday after Easter
MONTALTO TOWN HALL
- “Novalia” typical traditional local products trade fair (held at the local wine cellar on the first Sunday in August)
PIAZZA UMBERTO 1°
TEL. 0736 828015
FAX 0736 828002
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