Authentic, little visited town
A much underrated, little-visited town. It breathes the authentic air of the old rustic red-brick Marche. A big walled centre holds itself aloof from 20thC developments and the broad piazza, town walls and wandering alley-ways make for leisurely exploration. Old-world courtesy prevails – ask for an address and you will be taken there, not merely directed.
Macerata’s glory is its amazing Sferisterio above the main piazza, a Roman-style amphitheatre actually built in the 1820s. In July and August al fresco opera is staged.
On Route 77, 17 km and 25 km respectively downhill towards the coast are the interesting towns of Recanati and Loreto. The former has the much-publicized birthplace of the poet Leopardi (1798-1837), who for Italians is Keats and Byron rolled into one, and the more obscure birthplace of Beniamino Glgli (1890-1955), last of the bel canto tenors. (The woman who took us looking for it in the suburbs, certain it was ‘here somewhere’, found the plaque she had never noticed on a small post office next door to her own house.)
Avoid Loreto if the religious trinket industry irritates you. You can see the gross basilica and apostolic palace from far away. Loreto leaped from humble village to rich town when the faithful accepted that a musty little sanctuary, now embedded in the basilica, was the Virgin Mary’s house, miraculously translated in two bounds from Nazareth in Palestine.