The small industrial city of Fabriano sits in the Val d’Esino on the main highway that runs through the Appenines from Ancona on the Adriatic Coast from the Region of Umbria.
The busy modern quarters of the city spread around the old medieval heart of the city, which contains a number of interesting churches and other public buildings, including the Palazzo Comunale facing the main Piazza.
The Piazza Comunale is adorned by a large polygonal-shaped fountain, the Fontana Sturinalto, which resembles the Fontana Maggiore in Perugia.
A warren of ancient streets, with shops, cafes and restaurants is accessible through a large arch off the main piazza.
The Duomo, which is located on higher ground on the smallish Piazza Umberto, is up the street to the left of the arch as you face it from the piazza. Inside you will find works by the master Italian gothic artist, Allegretto di Nuzio, whose works can also be found in the Pinocoteca – next door to the cathedral.
The Duomo also boasts a cycle of frescoes done in the 17th century by one of Caravaggio’s followers, Orazio Gentileschi.
Little is known of Fabriano’s earliest origins, although it seems clear that people from nearby Attigio, an early Roman town that no longer exists, settled here during the 9th century AD. The city, however, only assumed importance in the 13th century when the paper-making industries for which Fabriano is still famous, were established. Paper from Fabriano was sent to Foligno in nearby Umbria, where Italy’s first printing press was operated.
The center was first built in the year 409 after the barbaric invasion had destroyed the roman installations of Attidum and Tuficum. In 1160 became free commune. Its notoriousness is due to the production of paper (13th century) and its processes of transformation, such as watermark.
Painter Gentile was born in Fabriano in 14th century. In the second half of 17th century the Family of Chiavelli transformed the free commune in Seigniory . In 15th century Pope Eugenio IV held it in the Vatican State. In 1849 was part of Roman Republic and in 1860 annexed to the Kingdom of Italy.
As a testament to the industry an interesting museum, the Museo della Carta, has been established in the de-sanctified monastery of San Domenico to the south of the centro storico. Here you will find a wide assortment of ancient machinery and other artifacts used in the paper-making process. Today, high quality art paper and banknote paper from Fabriano is used all over the world.
Fabriano is also the birthplace of the great so-called International Gothic- style artist, Gentile da Fabriano, who worked in the 15th century, and who greatly influenced the aforementioned Allegretto di Nuzio and others. His most famous work, The Epiphany, hangs in the Uffizi in Florence, but there are one or two of his paintings in Fabriano, in the Duomo and Pinocoteca.
The Fabrianese are also proud – justifiably – of their sausage and salami-making traditions which date back at least to the 17th century. Much of the production takes place in outlying towns in the mountains and valleys around the city.
During the siesta hours, Fabriano strikes one as a bit dull. But, it springs to life in the morning and after siesta. When it is animated with the busy comings-and-goings of the local people, not to mention a myriad of visitors who are just now “discovering” the city, it becomes suddenly very cheerful and inviting.
Where to stay in Fabriano
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