After one year and a half in Macerata, we moved to the northern part of Marche Region, in Pesaro, where I’m working as a hotel receptionist at Hotel Gala, few metres away from the sea, but also not far from the Appennines which shape the borders of our region. One of the must see around Pesaro is certainly Gradara, a pleasant small borough on top of a hill, a typical medieval town bordering with Emilia Romagna.
In fact though, Gradara is not purely medieval, as most of the Castle was remodeled in the 1920’s by its last owner, Umberto Zanvettori, who brought in his taste for liberty and art déco, turning the once medieval Castle, so famous for being mentioned in the Divine Comedy, into a masterpiece between decadentism and exoterism. One of the first impressions I had upon entering was a particular resemblance to the mansion of Gabriele D’Annunzio on the Garda Lake, in the north of Italy. Only the legend is left of the story of Paolo and Francesca, the two characters which Dante mentions in the Divina Commedia, the rest is much more recent history, between 1921 and 1923, when the Castle was rapidly restored and its contents, mainly ancient weapons, sold to Castel Sant’Angelo, the former Vatican prison which faces Saint Peter’s church in Rome.
Overall, I would say Gradara could be a bit disappointing if you look for a pure medieval context, but at the same time its uniqueness in style is so stunning and well preserved that it’s definitely worth a careful visit. Also, its location between sea and hills make Gradara a charming place where to eat one of the delicious local “piadine”.