Fabriano and the Marche region
FABRIANO AND THE MARCHE REGION
Fabriano is a town of painters, blacksmiths and paper masters, well-known all over the world for its long history of paper production which is a distinctive feature of the town. Creation and transformation are key factors in this town of artisans, blacksmiths, potters, wool merchants, tanners and, above all, paper masters. Today, the city is aiming to become a creative centre while preserving its century-old traditions.
Fabriano is a town in the Marche region, in the province of Ancona. Villages have developed around the historical medieval centre, which is the heart of the town and where the original fortifications are found. The river Janus flows through the town and has played a crucial role in the economic and social development of Fabriano, in particular for the paper industry and artisans’ workshops.
Fabriano is located in the middle of a valley in the central-northern area of the Apennines reaching from Montefeltro to the Sibillini Mountains and is characterized by a rough and impressive landscape.
The area is prone to carsic phenomena which over time and together with its green areas, have generated a unique landscape and hypogea. The ‘Natural Regional Park of Gola della Rossa and Frasassi’ was founded on September 2nd, 1997 and is the largest protected natural area in the Marche region.
The area of the Gola della Rossa and Frasassi was established as a Natural Park in 1997. The Frasassi Caves, whose main complex is the ‘Grotta del Fiume-Grotta Grande del Vento’, are a cavity representing one of the largest carsic areas in Europe. They attract around 300,000 visitors every year.
Fabriano is a city of art with a remarkable artistic and monumental heritage: small streets and old walls are distinctive features of the history of the town dating back to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period. The main historical and cultural places of note are the Podestà Palace (1255), the Sturinalto fountain (1285), the Saint Francis archade (1450), the Bishop’s Palace from the Reinassance period and the Saint Venanzio Cathedral, in which various paintings from the Manierism and Baroque periods are conserved. From the 14th century, the international Gothic style flourished in the town due to great artists such as Allegretto Nuzi and Gentile Da Fabriano.
The ‘Hospital of Sweet Jesus Mother Mary’ built in the late Gothic style hosts the Civic Art Gallery ‘B.Molajoli’. Among the buildings with great historical, religious and artistic value are the ‘Oratory of the Charity’ with a series of frescos by Filippo Bellini and the ‘Oratory of the Gonfalon’ with a gold-coated coffered ceiling. Contemporary art can be found at the Civic Art Gallery and at the Guelfo Museum where collections belonging to ‘La Casa di Ester’ (Ester’s house) are displayed.
The recognised skills and creativity of numerous and qualified artisans from Fabriano allowed, over centuries, the development of activities that have transformed into real entrepreneurial organisations, and into companies that currently occupy relevant international positions.
Fabriano has an extraordinary history and an exceptional artisanal tradition which successfully combines culture, craftsmanship and tourism with the main objective of preserving old professions, by harmonising industry and craftsmanship while enhancing its century-long cultural and artistic heritage.
Fabriano has been the cradle of paper production in Europe and even today still represents one of the main manufacturing centres. Over centuries, paper has been a source of economic wealth and social prestige, a type of promotion and artistic production. It has been linked to creativity, both for its production and its use. The history of paper manufacturing in Fabriano can be found in the Paper and Watermark Museum, one of the main museums of the Marche region. The International Watercolour Festival is one of the noteworthy events dedicated to the creative use of paper.
INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE
By the 13th century, Fabriano was already a world-class manufacturing and commercial centre thanks to many artisanal and manufacturing workshops. In the 1950s, substantial growth in the metal and mechanical industry allowed the town to become one of the main industrial districts in Italy. Large companies present in the town include Ariston Thermo Group, Elica, Faber, the EMEA Headquarters of Whirlpool, and Fedrigoni Paper Mills (the former Cartiere Miliani).
The historic roots of Fabriano are retraced in the ‘Palio di San Giovanni Battista’ (Palio of Saint John the Baptist), an event dedicated to the 14th century, which was a golden period for the town when the workshops and trades became established in the socio-political context. This medieval event takes place for two weeks ending on June 24th, the day dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, the town’s patron saint.
On this occasion, the city centre streets are enlivened by an historical parade with around two hundred characters wearing medieval costumes, performances from flag-throwers and competitions among archers. In addition, there are ‘artisanal workshops’ representing the main medieval economic activities. The most important event is the competition known as the ‘Sfida del maglio’, during which blacksmiths belonging to the four ‘gates’ of the town, namely Borgo, Pisana, Cervara, Piano, each of which represents a particular town district, compete with each other, demonstrating the strong connection between Fabriano and the manufacturing sector.
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Marche are a region in central Italy, with a great wealth of stories, landscapes and artistic and natural treasures. Marche are rich in hills and mountains, but also face the sea, and they are filled with towns, castles and monasteries, small and big towns, with a strong artistic and cultural heritage and entrepreneurial attitudes.
Many internationally renown artists and scholars can trace their roots to the Marche region: among them, Gentile da Fabriano, Raffaello Sanzio, Padre Matteo Ricci, Gioachino Rossini, Giacomo Leopardi, Maria Montessori.
The Marche region hosts two UNESCO Creative Cities, Fabriano and Pesaro, and a UNESCO World Heritage site, Urbino.
The whole region will be involved in the Unesco Creative Cities Conference project, through the Great Bear Cities project (“Le Città dell’Orsa”).
To learn more about the Marche region, visit https://www.turismo.marche.it
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