Padre Matteo Ricci

City of Macerata

Arena Sferisterio
Arena Sferisterio

Visit to the city

Known across the world for its annual open-air opera festival, Macerata is a human-scaled provincial capital that also warrants a visit for its other charms.

Its open-air opera festival in July has found an international following and takes place in the 7,000-seater Sferisterio - a monster of a Neoclassical arena erected by private subscription in the 1820's. As you swoon to a Verdi aria, you might care to know that it was originally built as a stadium for pallone, or Italian football.

The centre has a measured dignity fitting the place's solid, if unostentatious wealth. Its centre was almost entirely built between the 16th and 19thC. The Renaissance two-tiered arcades of the Loggia dei Mercanti on central Piazza della Liberta' is the most striking piece of architecture.

The best of the city's palaces line Corso Matteotti, the road that leaves the square at the side of the Loggia, while Corso della Repubblica will take you to Piazza Vittorio Veneto and the civic gallery and museum. Here is a mixed bag of works by Umbro-marchigiani painters - most important is Carlo Crivelli's Madonna and Child.

Adjacent to Piazza della Libertà, is Piazza Cesare Battisti, on which stands the palace where, during the fourth centenary of the entry of Father Matteo Ricci in China, a sign was affixed to the marble in memory of the great Jesuit Macerata, as these places where he was born and lived.

If you have time, you might examine the fine carriages in the Museo delle Carrozze or brush up your modern Italian history in one of the country's best museums dedicated to the Unification of Italy and wartime resistance - you'll find them in the same palazzo as the pictures.

Just north of the town, by the river at Villa Potenza, lies ancient Helvia Ricina. When the Visigoths destroyed this Roman settlement in the 5th-6th century, its inhabitants moved up to safer ground and founded Macerata. Remains of the old city can still be seen, including the large amphitheatre, which stands just by the junction with the SS571, as well as a stretch of stone-paved roadway.

Tramonto con vista Monti Sibillini Ruderi Helvia Recina - Villa Potenza (Macerata) Piazza della Libertà Sferisterio Musicultura Sferisterio di notte Sferisterio scenografia Chiesa_particolare Campagne maceratesi Palazzo dei Diamanti Cappellina Loggia dei Mercanti Corso Cavour Piazza Mazzini Palazzo Buonaccorsi Museo delle Carrozze

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