The Romanesque Marche
Romanesque Marche do not deny their focus on many cultural experiences;
the Romanesque landscapes constitute the fabric of the region’s
civilization. Many signs shape the landscape, the stone is combined with
the stones of rocky sanctuaries and hermitages, churches, stony mountains,
lakes, woods, solitude.
The Romanesque art is a quest for ascetic and hidden beauty, a beauty that
is revealed in the skilful use of the local material, the stones from the
Sibillini Mounts, sandstone, travertine, fired bricks on the plain. Just
think of the “stony” suggestion of Sant’Eustachio in
Domòra, near San Severino, or the hermitage Colle San Marco in the
Ascoli area. The “first stone” is that of the Dark Ages, bearing
witness to the dating of manufactured goods of the regional
Other examples are the rigorous icnos of the Abbey Chiaravalle
of Fiastra, and the evolution of Chiaravalle in Castagnola.
Romanesque architectures and roads are strictly linked, as abbeys,
monasteries, parish churches and hospitalia garrisoned the whole
territory. Visitors must imagine a regular net of monastic garrisons which
is matched by roads, a net made by the Flaminia and Salaria roads. Roads
passing through the Esino valley, and the Potenza and Chienti valleys, led
to the Apennines. Many inner pathways led from Sulpicanum (Arquata
del Tronto) to Fermo, then to Helvia Recina and San Severino.
It is also worth mentioning the connecting the territory to the coastline,
the Conero Mount and the lower coast of the Piceno area was also connected
through inner pathways, garrisoned by abbeys, parish churches,
hospitalia. The costal road linked Fano with the Flaminia and Emilia
roads, as well as connecting pilgrims and soldiers to the Gargano and the
boats to the Holy Land. Abbeys and parish churches are the link between
the nova and vetera tempora, between the classical period
and Europe’s new foundations.
Parish churches and Benedictine monasteries were built above areas that
were occupied by pagan sanctuaries. Thus, the Christian worship and
monuments were placed on previous pagan sites.
This was due to the charismatic and sacred value of the stone on which to
build. Examples are San Tommaso in Foglia, Santa Maria del Piano, Santa
Maria di Rambona, San Lorenzo in Doliolo, Saints Ruffino and Vitale.
In the light of this several churches were built close to the ruins of
Roman towns; Santa Maria delle Moje from Planina, Santa
Maria delle Macchie, Chiaravalle di Fiastra from Urbs Salvia,
Santa Maria di Rambona from Pollentia.
Taking materials from previous buildings and reusing them were common
practices, which gave rise to a constant phenomenon in the artistic and
architectural heritage of the Marches. The same situation is found in
other areas, both in Italy and Europe.
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