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Candelara, the village of candles

Wednesday 21 march 2018

A village where every stone seems to have a story to say, a country surrounded by lush nature and a panorama of enchantment that caresses the blue of the Adriatic and the rugged lines of the Marches Apennines at the same time.

Candelara, the village of candles

It is a magical place, Candelara. One of those villages that glance at it fleetingly would inspire as many stories as there are the gates that open onto alleys and streets. It is no coincidence that the coat of arms of the town, depicting three candles on as many heights, sink its raison d'etre in the legend. According to the ancient narrative that has come to the present day, passing from mouth to mouth, from generation to generation, there was a time when a group of human beings placed candles on some hills and then chose to live in the one sheltered from the winds. the one that housed the flame that died last.

Today Candelara is a small town, which has just over a thousand souls, located seven kilometers from Pesaro, its municipal capital. A fraction, therefore, and in addition anything but populous. Then one would think of a sleepy village, one of those good suburbs to go to sleep after a day's work. But it is not like that: we are in a castle that knows how to surprise, a fascinating castle full of history.

Probably the territory had already known man in prehistoric times and it is certain that it was the site of settlements in the Roman one. It is however from the construction of the Pieve dedicated to Santo Stefano, that is between the 6th and 8th centuries, which took to develop the Candelara we know. The imposing building, which presents an unusual Greek cross plan and some architectural elements that bring it closer to both the Gothic and the Romanesque style, allows us to imagine the ancient splendor of the place and would be worth a visit already in itself. But if the exterior is unbelievable, the interior is not something that goes unnoticed: there is an 18th-century organ still in operation that keeps numerous frescoes of exquisite workmanship.

Of a few centuries younger than the place of faith is the castle, where the towers and walls strengthened in the middle of the fifteenth century by Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta excellently resist to the harassment of the time. It is reached by crossing the characteristic brick bridge that in the 16th century replaced the drawbridge. To notice, to the right of the entrance door, the Clock Tower where you can admire the still functioning mechanisms by visiting the so-called Sala del Capitano.

A walk through the narrow streets of this walled village that in 1176 gave refuge and salvation to Emperor Federico Barbarossa (after the disastrous battle of Legnano) is an experience that gratifies the soul and the gaze, that look that in these parts it can range free from the blue of the Adriatic to the nearby valleys filled with vines and olive groves, until it reaches the rugged peaks of Montefeltro and the reliefs of Catria, Carpegna and Nerone.

Almost it is hard to believe that a small-scale village, a tiny casket, can contain so much charm. Yet the list of wonders has not yet reached its end. Just outside the castle, in fact, there is another jewel: it is Villa Almerici, a luxurious eighteenth-century structure built from a pre-existing medieval fortress according to the design of the famous architect Luigi Vanvitelli.

The best times to visit Candelara are summer and spring, but those who like to revel can opt for the month of December, when the country is radiated by the light of thousands of candles and comes alive with the jubilation brought by musicians and street artists that surround one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Italy, an event known as Candelas in Candelara and that attracts a large number of curious from everywhere.

Enjoy your visit!

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