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Bill Thayer

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Macerata (Macerata province)

A town of the southern Marche: 43°18N 13°27E.   Altitude: 315 m   Population (2003): 41,100

[image ALT: A tall brick church seen from under some heavy, dark arches. It is a view of the church of S. Paolo, from beneath the arcades of the Palazzo Comunale, in Macerata, a town in the Marche (central Italy).]

The church of S. Paolo from beneath the arcades of the Palazzo Comunale.

The provincial capital of Macerata until fairly recently was just one of the many walled towns in the area, on top of its hill overlooking the Potenza river; rapid expansion since World War II has given it the feel of a small city.

Like many brick towns, Macerata also has a feeling of architectural unity; it helps that much of it was built during a relatively brief period, from the 16c to the 19c. Its most famous building is the Sferisterio, a 19c stadium for pallotta, a ball game related to jai-alai that was once very popular throughout the Marche; designed with a large seating capacity and good lines of sight, the Sferisterio is finding new life as a summer festival venue.

Most of the churches in town are late brick buildings: S. Giovanni and S. Paolo (17c), the Duomo and S. Filippo, and the Madonna della Misericordia (18c); this last named, by Vanvitelli, is particularly attractive. My own favorite, at least until maybe another visit gets me to change my mind — especially if a few more churches are open — is the small medieval church of S. Maria della Porta, the upper story of which has been reworked many times while the lower story, the original 9c church of S. Maria Assunta, has just recently been restored.

There is a small museum with Roman inscriptions and statues; and the Museo delle Carrozze, a fine collection of carriages from the 17th to the early 20th century, is appealing and instructive.

A small website should eventually appear here, since I spent a day in Macerata poking around and taking pictures, unfortunately by pretty bad weather, which'll give me the excuse to go back, since the town is hardly exhausted by the 24‑hour visitor. Pending my more formal website though, you may find it useful to read the Mar. 23, 2004 entry of my diary, with 2 more photos, sort of; for more complete and detailed information, you should see the sites in the navigation bar at the foot of this page, of course.


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Page updated: 25 Mar 09