My first “field trip” after a very long time was at the beginning of 2021 with Isabelle. Finally I got to see my beautiful hills again!
We decided to drive to Loretello, one of the “castles” of Arcevia.
You know when they say that the path is sometimes more surprising than the goal? Indeed they are right! On the way to Loretello, we stopped spontaneously in San Pietro, another fort in the municipality of Arcevia. It was definitely my first time (shame on me!) – shouldn’t I know that even in the smallest borgo in Le Marche there is something to discover?
We were indeed welcomed by a castle, which was mentioned as early as the 13th century, with beautiful buildings and a city wall from the 15th century.
After just a few steps through the alleys of the tiny castle, we landed on the piazza of San Pietro …
… where the charming terrace of the fine hotel “Il Paradiso del Rei” was.
The wall of the hotel was decorated with a fresco of St. Peter, created by the contemporary artist Bruno di Arcevia, who co-founded the art style “La Maniera Italiana” in the 80s and whose works can be found throughout the region and as far as the USA.
“The view from the terrace invited us to come back in spring” – says Isabelle:
The Church of St. Mary of Montevago outside the city wall was unfortunately closed. So we missed a wonderful fresco of the Madonna from the 16th century, which was restored under the direction of the Knightly Order of Montevago (L’Ordine dei Cavalieri di Montevago) in the last century.
We continued on to our actual destination, the Loretello castle, which was even older than San Pietro, namely from 1072! Originally it belonged to the Abbey of Fonte Avellana, but in 1255 Loretello was transferred to Rocca Contrada, the ancient Arcevia.
The renovations of the 14th and 15th centuries can still be seen in the current state. In the 18th century, Loretello finally lost its military function and the drawbridge was replaced by a beautiful, solid bridge with 3 arches.
Isabelle had already visited Loretello several times with the hiking group from Cupramontana (when the spring colours were much brighter); and I did as well, when I was as young as 13/14 years old.
But seeing it now at Christmas time was something new:
The Christmas atmosphere was of course something special, and we enjoyed strolling through the city walls and the narrow streets with the wonderfully restored houses.
A small restaurant offered products from the region to try: wines, the sweet cherry Visciola wine, cheese, balsamic vinegar, jams, honey, olive oil, truffles, salami, pasta and more. A nice reason to come here in summer, I think, because the owner probably also prepares panini and ham / salami platters to take away – always a temptation for picnic lovers like us!
In a small square with a panoramic view, there is a surprisingly detached building that houses the agricultural museum.
Isabelle visited it with the hiking group 7 years ago.
The building is so strange because it also houses the city gate that leads to the impressive 3-arch bridge, which is also the landmark of Loretello.
At the end of the bridge a sign indicated a public wash house. Very curious, we followed the indicated path through a small forest to finally reach the fountain with the former wash house. A European project had apparently helped with the restoration.
Would you like to take a trip to the 9 castles of Arcevia? Highly recommended! We have already discussed some of these castles in previous articles: Caudino and Nidastore, Palazzo, Castiglioni, Piticchio. Only Avacelli and Montale are missing.