Passions & Places

World-famous Marchigiani

I marchigiani famosi nel mondo

Le Marche, land not only of saints, artists and poets, but also of Popes, scientists and sportsmen: in every century and in every field, the people of Le Marche have made themselves known and remembered both in Italy and all over the world. A land of saints such as Maria Goretti who was born in Corinaldo in 1890, who came from a humble family forced to emigrate to Agro pontino. It was in Nettuno (a town near Rome) that Maria, just 12 years old, was raped and killed by a young boy. Her sacrifice was recognised by the Church who in 1950 made her a saint. Even today the birth house of Saint Maria Goretti is a place of pilgrimage for many.  

 it’s obvious to mention the great Raffaello born in Urbino in 1483 and celebrated everywhere as a painter of exceptional sensitivity capable of influencing new Italian art courses of the Renaissance, then it’s also necessary to recall Mario Giacomelli, the photographer from Senigallia, who was born in 1925 and disappeared in 2000. He’s counted amongst the greatest contemporary photographers: his images which often portray the enchanting landscapes of Le Marche which are recognised all over the world.  

Le Marche has been a source of inspiration for many a great composer such as Giovan Battista Pegolesi, born in Jesi in 1710 and who brought comic operas to the theatre; Gioacchino Rossini (born in Pesaro in 1792) whose operas are recognised, listened to and performed all over the world; Gaspare Spontini, born in Maiolati in 1774 and died in 1851 in the same town and the tenor Beniamino Gigli, born in Recanati in 1890 who commanded the stands of the most prestigious theatres in the world.
Born in Recanati in 1798, there was also the great poet Giacomo Leopardi whose verses everywhere are famously recalled often angoli and scorci still recognisable from his town of birth. As a poet, whilst perhaps not so famous as Leopardi, but endowed with profound patriotism was Luigi Mercantini who, born in Ripatransone in 1821 sang the deeds of the Risorgimento and composed the hymn of Garibaldi.

It was also a lady from Le Marche who revolutionised the children’s education system, pedagogics specialist Maria Montessori, who was born in Chiaravalle in 1870. She supported how children should be protagonist of growth. Another woman known all over the world but originally from Ancona, is the actress Virna Lisi who worked with the best directors and alongside brilliant actors such as Alain Delon and Jack Lemmon. A world less glamorous however was that of the background of Enrico Mattei born in Acqualagna in 1906 and the founder of the economic and finance of ENI. He died in 1962 in a plane crash in mysterious circumstances.

Also international sport claims numerous sons from Le Marche: from Senigallia at the beginning of the 20th century was the talented footballer Renato Cesarini, famous for scoring in the last few minutes of the game (which is where the Italian saying “in zona Cesaroni” comes from). Le Marche is also home to some of the best fencers in the world: The Jesi School of fencing has for decades, produced a number of exceptional champions such as Olympic contenders Valentina Vezzali and Giovanna Trillini.

From Tavullia comes Valentino Rossi, motorcycling champion who has now won all the circuits in the world. Everywhere in his hometown, you’ll find reference to the young citizen who brought a pleasantness and frankness to the world, qualities typical of his homeland.

And finally a hero, a true hero of our time: Carlo Urbani. Born in Castelplanio, he dedicated his entire life to research into infectious diseases. President of Doctors Without Frontiers, it was Carlo Urbani who discovered and isolated the terrible SARS virus and subsequently raised the alarm to the OMS warning of the spread of the disease. Unfortunately it was a disease he contracted himself and which resulted in his death in 2003. He was only 46 years old. He lived with a profound altruism: a love for others, for those weaker than himself, with the idea of solidarity, a quality which we like to think can always be found in Le Marche, a land in which to grow and develop.


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