Mondavio: who won here in 1462, the Malatesta or the Montefeltro? The Vatican!

Yes, this picture is out of season.. now it’s spring and a foggy day might just mean an even warmer day. Time to put that coat in the closet for next winter. And certainly the past winter doesn’t promise anything good for next year. February in fact has been extremely harsh in Marche, especially in the northern province of Pesaro-Urbino. That’s where you can find Mondavio, whose main attraction, the castle is definitely worth a visit. And again, also the food is quite impressive, especially in the truffles’ season, in autumn.

Mondavio’s castle is preserved very well, and it also contains a wax museum, where late medieval scenes are reproduced in a perfect setting. We are again in the area of Machiavelli’s “The prince”, not far from Montefeltro, the region of Urbino, where Raphael was born. Mondavio is a perfect location, as it is equally distant to the sea and to the mountains, just across Ancona’s province. In 1462 this place saw its greatest battle, between the Malatesta family, ruling over the coastline between today’s Marche and Emilia-Romagna, and the Vatican-backed Montefeltro family from Urbino, which controlled an area across Marche and Umbria. The Vatican won, and Mondavio was given to the Della Rovere family, which had connected with the Montefeltro, whose Guidobaldo was however attacked by “Il Valentino”, Machiavelli’s infamous “prince”. With the end of the Della Rovere dynasty, Mondavio became officially under the jurisdiction of the Vatican, which kept it so until the unity of Italy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Jesi and its secret rural “museum”

Talking about Jesi usually includes mentioning its most famous character, born here by chance in fact, Federico II, Frederick the II, the Christian conquerer who managed to make peace with Muslim Saladin, after decades of bloody fights between Europeans and Arabs. Now, the story is too long and interesting to actually write about it now. But just be contented with knowing that this crucial figure in the history of Europe and the Mediterranean was born in the little town of Jesi, which is located halfway between Ancona and Fabriano on the route connecting to Rome.

This said, the idea of this post is much, much more limited. If you ever go to Jesi and you have 20 minutes to wait at the station, don’t just stand there with nothing to do, or maybe try out all your ring tones on the phone.. take a walk out of the station and make a right. A few metres and you will find a small café, very oldfashioned, rustic, some would say even ugly.. but if you go across the first room, you will find a real museum. A museum on how farmers lived in the early 20th century and even earlier. In fact, it’s not really a museum, it’s supposed to be a wine drinking place, but I rarely saw anybody in there. It’s very dark, a bit abandoned.. but still, it’s an amazing, atopic thing to see. There you can check out agricultural tools, but also musical instruments, toys of all sorts, bycicles, wooden benches, etc.

So the point of this post is to point out how rural life has a meaning in Marche, a region that lived almost exclusively on agriculture for several centuries up to the 50’s. Also, this place I’m suggesting you to know is a good chance to explain what “atopic” means. “Atopos” means “no place”, “unpredictable”, “foreign”, impossible to categorize. And so is this little café, where nobody would really enter unless they know what’s hiding in there.. so keep in mind, Jesi has secrets everywhere for you to find out. The owners don’t seem to have an idea of how precious that place is, but I guess that’s ok as long as they keep everything inside and visible (even though barely, due to the lack of light) for any “atopic” passer by..

This slideshow requires JavaScript.