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An article from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, now in the public domain.
Any color photos are mine, © William P. Thayer.


[image ALT: The interior of a very large late‑18c church, looking toward the altar. We see a wide central aisle separated from lateral aisles on either side by arches supported on pairs of columns with Ionic capitals. Over the altar, a large apsidal fresco. It is the cathedral of Macerata, a city in the Marche (central Italy).]

The Duomo (Cathedral) of S. Giuliano.

Although the basic fabric of the church was medieval, it was gutted and entirely redone in the late eighteenth century.

Macerata, a city of the Marches, Italy, the chief town of the province of Macerata and a bishop's see, 44 m. by rail S. of Ancona. Pop. (1901), 6,176 (town), 22,473 (commune).​a Crowning a hill 919 ft. above sea‑level, with a picturesque mass of buildings enclosed by walls and towers, Macerata looks out over the Adriatic. The cathedral is modern, but some of the churches and palaces are not without interest. Besides the university, agricultural school and industrial institute, Macerata has a communal library founded by Leo XII, containing a small but choice collection of early pictures, and in the municipal buildings, a collection of antiquities from Helvia Ricina. There is an enormous amphitheatre or sferisterio for pallone, a ball game which is very popular in the district. The industries comprise the making of bricks, matches, terra-cotta and chemicals.

[image ALT: A large building, which appears to be oval or circular, which can only be seen in this photo from part of it bulging out to the right from behind a three-stories rectangular façade scanned by five deep arches, above which a monumental inscriptions can be read. It is the Sferisterio of Macerata, a city in the Marche (central Italy).]

The Sferisterio:
for the ornament of the city and public enjoyment

Macerata, as well as Recanati, was founded by the inhabitants of Ricina after the destruction of their city by Alaric in 408. During the Lombard period it was a flourishing town; but it was raised from comparative insignificance by Nicholas IV to be the seat of the governors of the March. It was enclosed in the 13th century by a new line of walls more than 2½ m in circuit; and in the troubles of the next two hundred years it had frequent occasion to learn their value. For the most part it remained faithful to the popes, and in return it was rewarded by a multitude of privileges. Though in 1797 the inhabitants opened their gates to the French, two years afterwards, when the country people took refuge within the walls, the city was taken by storm and delivered to pillage. The bishopric of Macerata dates from the suppression of the see of Recanati (1320).

Thayer's Note:

a In 2014, the official census figures gave Macerata 41,489 inhabitants.

[image ALT: A coat of arms on an elaborately-shaped shield, although the arms themselves are simple: quartered, the upper left and lower right quarters bear a cross, the other two quarters bear a disk with a large six-branched asterisk. The shield in its turn is supported by two crossed cornucopias, and surmounted by a five-pointed ducal crown. It is the arms of Macerata, a city in the Marche (central Italy).]

The coat of arms of the city of Macerata.

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Page updated: 19 Nov 17