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


Recanati, a city of the Marches, Italy, in the province of Macerata, 8 m. direct NNE of the city of that name. Pop. (1901) 14,590 (town), 16,389 (commune).​a It has a station on the railway 17½ m. S of Ancona, and distant 4½ m. from the town,​b which is built on a hill, 931 ft. above the sea, and retains portions of its 15th‑century wails and gateways. It was the birthplace of the poet Leopardi (1798‑1837), whose monument adorns the principal piazza and whose family has collected in the town a very interesting museum of Leopardiana; it also contains fine old mansions of the Leopardi, Mazzagalli, Massucci and Carradori in the main street, and a Gothic cathedral, built towards the close of the 14th century and dedicated to S. Flavianus, patriarch of Constantinople. The churches of S. Maria sopra Mercanti and San Domenico contain characteristic examples of the work of Lorenzo Lotto, as also does the new municipal palace, with a fine old battlemented tower, while the palace of Cardinal Venier has a fine Renaissance loggia by Giuliano da Maiano, who was probably responsible for the designs for the portals of S. Agostino and S. Domenico. The older buildings of the town are noteworthy for the curious terra-cotta work which adorns the majority of them.

Recanati appears as a strong castle in the 10th century or earlier. Round this gathered a community whose petty wars with Osimo (Auximum) called for the interference of Innocent III in 1198. From Frederick II it obtained the right of having a port on the Adriatic; and by Gregory IX it was made a city and the seat of the bishopric transferred from Osimo. This oscillation between Guelf and Ghibelline continued characteristic of Recanati. Urban IV abolished the "city" and bishopric; Nicholas IV restored them. John XXII again, in 1320, removed the bishopric and placed the city under interdict. The interdict was withdrawn in 1328 on payment of a heavy fine, but the bishopric remained in abeyance till 1357. Gregory XII, who on his deposition by the council of Constance was made papal legate of the sees of Macerata and Recanati, died in this city in 1417. The assistance rendered by Recanati to the popes in their struggles with the Sforza seems to have exhausted its resources, and it began to decline. Considerable damage was done by the earthquake of 1741; and the French, who were twice in possession of the city in 1797, pillaged it in 1799.

Thayer's Notes:

a In 2000, the official census figures gave Recanati 19,882 inhabitants.

b The station is in fact in the neighboring town of Loreto: officially calling it "Loreto-Recanati" — a rose by any other name — does not make that walk any easier, especially with a suitcase. When planning your trip to Italy, beware of these remote train stations; there are lots of them.

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Page updated: 12 Jul 08