What it is and where it is
The great seventeenth-century bell tower welcomes the visitor who, at the foot of Mondolfo's Martinian castle, just outside the Porta Santa Maria gate, encounters the Monumental Complex of St. Augustine. The large church, of fourteenth-century origin, enlarged at the behest of the Dukes of Urbino, holds precious works of art by major Marche authors; the architecture guides one to discover the cloister, and the spaces that house the Civic Museums and areas for exhibitions such as the sopralogge.
Why it is special
The spaces of the complex were designed to accommodate not only a large number of friars but also almost the entire population of the ancient Mondolfo castle. The result is impressive: visit, for example, the great hall of the monumental church. Here the onlooker feels like a tiny dot observed by the protagonists of the large and precious altarpieces that dot the altars, works by artists whose names resonate in the art scene not only in the Marche region.
Not to be missed
Speaking of religious, in Mondolfo there are not only the Augustinians, but also the Franciscans go, and with them that characteristic dish of the town that is tagliolini con la fava, ascribed among the typical regional products of the Marche. They can also be enjoyed in the old mill of the convent of St. Augustine, after circumnavigating the monumental complex, or in other inns in the area.
A bit of history
Originating in the 14th century and enlarged and enriched several times, there was no fear in building such a large Convent Complex close to the castle walls. The dukes granted permission to expand the building in the 1500s confident that no besiegers would dare to violate the enclosure to take advantage of it in case of attack. Since this was the representative church of the Mondolfo Community, the noblest families competed to enrich the altars, carved, gilded and sculpted, with the most beautiful canvases produced by the best minds of the period, from Barocci, to Ridolfi, Presutti, Cialdieri and Tarini even, for some, Titian Vecellio himself.
Inside the Monumental Church is preserved the Magistrate's Bench. As the archival sources attest, it was commissioned in the 1500s to local marangoni masters who carved this marvel of cabinetmaking where the Magistrates-that is, the municipal council-that governed the Land of Mondolfo sat. It was originally located near the pulpit so that the preacher's voice would resonate well in the minds and actions of the rulers.