A brick-built hill town in Le Marche that is so charming it is named as "one of the prettiest towns in Italy" and also awarded the prestigious "Orange Flag" from the Italian Touring Club. It curls around the hill like a snail, a postcard-worthy sight surrounded by hills and woods. It is located at the foothills of the Sibillini Mountains, the range that separates Le Marche from Umbria.Despite its small size, the town has everything for daily life, and more...there are many museums here, along with soothing hot springs!
You'll find shops aplenty, smart sidewalk cafes, restaurants and specialty food stores. The weekly Thursday street market is colorful and fun. Sarnano is a well-preserved medieval town with brick buildings, palazzi, and lovely Old World charm. Some of the houses of the old town are built in what is called "case a ponte" (literally, bridged houses) that are constructed over the lane, forming a "bridge" that you pass underneath. You'll feel like you've stepped back in time as you wander around the cobbled streets.
Sarnano has medieval origins, and it shows in its construction, built on the hill with narrow lanes that wind up to the top of town. The terrace in front of the church of Santa Chiara offers breathtaking views of the nearby mountains and the cultivated countryside. Piazza Alta, at the top of town, hosts the palazzi and the church of Santa Maria della Piazza. Palazzo dei Priori, Palazzo Podesta' and Palazzo del Popolo were seats of power, now transformed into exhibition space, museums and a performance theater. If you see just one church, let it be the one dedicated to the city's patron saint, Santa Maria Assunta. The art is eye-popping, especially the frescoed chapel by Lorenzo d"alessandro, with Madonna enthronthed with the Child and angels; along with St. John, St. Martin, St. Sebastian, and St Rocco on one side, with Christ bestowing blessings with the virgin and archangel Michael on the other. The church has a beautiful wood carved crcifix by Girolamo di Giovanni, too.ibile ammirare inoltre un prezioso stendardo ligneo con Annunciazione e Crocifissione di Girolamo di Giovanni.
The museums in Sarnano include a fine civic museum and art gallery; a museum dedicated to the humble hammer - displaying the artisan and craft tool in all its forms (bronze, crystal, stone, and more). The Museo dell'Avifauna displays a huge array of embalmed birds while the Museo delle Armi showcases armaments for war and hunting from swords to rifles. The Mariano Gavasci collection is an exhibit of the local painter's works, well worth seeing, as well.
In the area, you will find plenty of walking paths for trekking or biking, along with horse riding. You can even indulge in a paragliding adventure, or a ski outing in the winter. After your active days, you'll appreciate the hot springs to soothe the sore muscles! The area is long renowned for them. The spring brings a wonderful world of wildflowers, beautiful to walk among in the hills and mountains, and the annual "fioritura delle orchidee" or wild orchids. An annual event that throws you back in time is Castrum Sarnani, a week-long medieval Palio event that puts the town's districts in a battle of skill, along with an opulently costumed parade, flag throwers, music, shows and plenty of food and fun!
Of course, you'll eat well while you're here, with fresh produce, local legumes, traditional salami and cheese, and game meat, as well. There are nice Marche wines to wash it down with!
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Explore nearby towns
Near Macerata in central Marche is a lovely town and archeological site called Urbisaglia.
The pretty town of Preci overlooks the Castoriana valley, nestled below the peaks of the National Park of Mount Sibillini.
Settled into the valley between two rivers and below hills and mountains, Ascoli Piceno is a delightful city at the Marche and Abruzzo border.