What it is and where it is
If you love to explore the area in search of little treasures that are still little known, Mercatello sul Metauro will not disappoint expectations. From the state road that crosses the lush valley, you reach the heart of this splendid village: the glimpse raises the curtain on its ancient origins and gives an exquisite taste of Marche culture. It is no surprise that Mercatello sul Metauro, already in possession of the Italian Touring Club's orange flag, will be counted among the most beautiful villages in Italy as of 2019.
Why it's special
Centuries-old walls enclose in an embrace the historic center of Mercatello sul Metauro, which is characterized by its urban design, dating back to the 13th century, and which has remained intact. The heart of the village is Piazza Garibaldi, overlooked by the Town Hall and the Pieve Collegiata dei Santi Pietro e Paolo. From here branch cobblestone streets that offer medieval views of unquestionable charm. A few steps and you reach the Church of St. Francis that will fill your eyes with wonder! The Metauro River meanders nearby, overlooked by the monumental Roman Bridge that offers spectacular views of the surrounding woods.
Not to be missed
If the people of Vicenza are known as 'magna gati,' the people of Mercatello have been given the appellation 'magna someri.' And since, as Dario Fo teaches, "a people without satire and without irony is a dead people," the inhabitants of Mercatello sul Metauro, in a goliardic spirit, established the Palio del Somaro. Thus, every year, during the third week of July, the town's four contrade compete on the backs of donkeys. This is a popular recreational attraction with which the tasty Sagra della tagliatella is associated.
If you are in these parts, be sure to visit the nearby hamlet of Castello della Pieve. Small dark stone houses, a small church with bell tower and the mighty medieval tower make this microscopic abandoned hamlet a place so full of charm that it is a favorite destination for photography lovers. Here, according to tradition, the convention that decreed Dante's exile from Florence was held on October 4, 1301.
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