Fossombrone (Fossombron in the Gallo-Piceno dialect) is the largest of the villages in the middle Metauro Valley, characterised by a historic centre with a mediaeval imprint, lying on the slope of a hill and dominated by a Citadel and the ruins of the Malatesta Fortress. The name Fossombrone undoubtedly derives from Forum Sempronii, the name of the ancient Roman centre linked in turn to the figure of the tribune Gaius Sempronius Gracchus who came to this area in 133 B.C. to enforce the agrarian law.
The settlement of Forum Sempronii, 164 miles from Rome, was located further east than today's Fossombrone, in the locality of San Martino del Piano, was soon elevated to the rank of municipality (1st century B.C.) and experienced a period of splendour in the imperial age. The ancient city was devastated by the Goths led by Alaric, in transit to Rome in 409 AD. After many ruins, the inhabitants built the new centre on the hill overlooking the present town. In the Lombard era, its territory was the scene of a fierce battle between King Liutprand and the rebellious Duke of Spoleto Trasmondo, who, defeated, was deposed and locked up in a convent.
Fossombrone, as recorded in written documents, remained outside the dominion of the Church until 999, after which it came under the power of Pope Silvester II. In the early years of the 14th century, the Church State invested the Malatesta family as lords of the town, and in their harsh rule they provided for the construction of imposing fortifications. In 1444, Galeazzo Malatesta, lord of Pesaro, sold the town to Count Federico da Montefeltro, under whose rule, Fossombrone enjoyed a period of prosperity due to the flourishing production of wool, paper, silk and the renovation of buildings.
Federico was succeeded by his son Guidobaldo, who lived there almost constantly due to the amenity of the place and the healthy climate, and was succeeded by Francesco Maria I della Rovere, Guidobaldo's nephew. Under the Della Rovere dukes, the city was greatly enlarged, and in 1616 Francesco Maria II had the settlement expanded in the flat area below the hill to the Metauro River. In 1631, the Della Rovere family having died out, the entire Duchy of Urbino, and therefore also Fossombrone, passed under the direct control of the Papal State, of which it was part until 1860, the year of its annexation to the Kingdom of Italy, whose historical events it followed from then on.
Some of the streets and districts in the historic centre of Fossombrone were born around the 15th and 16th centuries, during the period when the town was the country residence of the Della Rovere family. Corso Garibaldi is of great importance for its 15th-16th century palazzi such as palazzo Staurenghi, palazzo Cattabeni, municipal palace and bishop's palace, although they have lost much of their ancient splendour except for the upper court. Among the ecclesiastical buildings, the churches of San Filippo, San Francesco, Sant'Agostino, Sant'Aldebrando on the citadel and the Cathedral are noteworthy. Worthy of note is the monument 'il gemellaggio', a bronze casting by the artist Andrea Corradi.
Certainly deserve a visit the Archaeological Museum 'Augusto Vernarecci', the house museum and the Quadreria Cesarini, the Concordia Bridge, the symbol of the village, and Archaeological Park Forum Sempronii.
Municipality of Fossombrone
Province of Pesaro and Urbino
Population: 9.133 forsempronesi
Altitude centre: 118 m s.l.m.
Protected Natural Areas:
Furlo Gorge Natural Reserve
Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi 8 - Tel. +39 0721 7231
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