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


Tolentino (anc. Tolentinum Picenum), a town of the Marches, Italy, in the province of Macerata, 11 m. by rail W by S of that town. Pop. (1901), 5111 (town), 13,107 (commune).​a It is situated on the Chienti, 735 ft. above sea-level, and was once a fortified town of great strength. The cathedral has a fine portal by the Florentine Giovanni Rosso (1435), and contains the remains of S. Nicholas of Tolentino (d. 1309), whose Renaissance tomb and frescoes illustrating the life of the saint by Lorenzo and Jacopo da San Severino are preserved in a room adjoining the chapel north of the high altar.​b The church of San Catervo contains the early Christian sarcophagus of that saint, which is embellished with curious reliefs. The Museo Civico contains antiquities discovered during excavations near the town (in 1880‑1884) in the Picene necropolis, dating from the 8th-4th centuries B.C. The town is the birthplace of the condottiere Niccolo Mauruzzi, and of the learned Francis Philelphus, one of the first disseminators of classical literature, who was born in 1398. At Tolentino the treaty was made between Bonaparte and the pope in 1797, by which the pope ceded Avignon; and here in 1815 a battle was fought in which the French under Murat were defeated by the Austrians.

Thayer's Notes:

a In 2000, the official census figures gave Tolentino 18,934 inhabitants.

b The church described here is not the cathedral, at least not today (2003), and I suspect not when the article was written, either, since the cathedral of S. Catervo, which the article mentions immediately afterwards, actually dates back to the 4c and St. Catervus' sarcophagus is still there.

The church in the article is the Basilica of S. Nicola, and the large square room, usually referred to as the Cappellone (big chapel), comprises one of the great fresco ensembles of central Italy: not only it should not be missed, but for the lover of Italian and medieval art, the 14c frescoes are worth a wide detour from any trip in the area.

A large round machicolated and crenellated brick tower. It is the Torrione San Catervo in Tolentino, a town in the Marche (central Italy).

The Torrione S. Catervo, or big tower (13c), a remnant of the city walls. It was the Austrian command post in the battle of Tolentino, 2‑3 May 1815.

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Page updated: 18 Nov 17