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The centro storico is located on a hill between the Chienti and Potenza rivers. Together with the modern town, sprawling on the plain below, it has a population of about 41,000. There is a lift (elevator) connecting the two towns. The town is solid but unostentatious, being built between the 1600s and 1900s. In the central Piazza della Libertà is the Loggia dei Mercanti with two-tier arcades dating from the Renaissance.

There are a number of striking palazzi, mostly along Corso Matteotti, including Palazzo dei diamanti. Next to the Loggia dei Mercanti, Corso della Repubblica leads to Piazza Vittorio Veneto where, in the Palazzo Ricci, there is a museum and art gallery: the most important artpiece is the Madonna and Child by Carlo Crivelli. Another museum is the Museo delle Carrozze (carriages).

The cathedral dates form the 1100s.

There is a University (founded in 1290) and an Art school, two publishing houses (Liberilibri and Quodlibet) and therefore, Jazz clubs and the like.

The Palazzo Buonaccorsi was built 1700-1720 for Count Raimondo Buonaccorsi and his son Cardinal Simone Buonaccorsi using designs by Giovanni Battista Contini. The piano nobile is known for the Sala dell'Eneide, decorated with frescoes by the Rambaldi, Dardani, Solimena, and canvases by Garzi. Giovanni Gioseffo dal Sole painted a canvas. Other submissions were from Gambarini, Balestra, Lazzarini, and Franceschini. See main entry at Palazzo Buonaccorsi.

Just north of the town, at the Villa Potenza, lie the remains of ancient Helvia Recina, a Roman settlement destroyed by the Visigoths.

Some way south of the town is the Romanesque church of San Claudio al Chienti: its unusual shape is due to one church being built on top of the remains of another.

Macerata Opera Festival

In July and August the Macerata Opera Festival is held in the 3,500 to 4,500 seat (depending upon each opera's sets) Arena Sferisterio. It is a huge neoclassical arena erected in the 1820s as a stadium for a form of handball by the architect Ireneo Aleandri. The orchestra pit is so wide that musicians at each end cannot hear each other. The monument “Alla Vittoria” at its gates, projected by Cesare Bazzani, dates from fascist times.

Following an extensive 1989 renovation of the 550-seat Teatro Lauro Rossii, since 1990 some operas are performed in that theatre, originally named the Teatro Condomini and built by Antonio Bibiena from 1767 and inaugurated in 1774 with Anfossi's Olimpiade. In 1872 it was renamed for the musician Lauro Rossi who was born in the town.

Other

The mathematician and humanist Matteo Ricci was born in Macerata. Ricci was the first western man to enter Beijing in 1601 and to translate into Chinese many Western classics like Euclid, Cicero and many others.

The Futurist painter and Bauhaus architect Ivo Pannaggi was born and died in Macerata (1901 to 1981) after living in Rome, Berlin and in Norway.

Fractions

Acquesalate, Acquevive, Botonto San Giacomo, Botonto Sant'Isidoro, Cervare, Cimarella, Cincinelli, Collevario, Consalvi, Corneto, Helvia Recina, Isola, Madonna del Monte, Montanello, Piediripa, Sforzacosta, Valle, Vallebona, Valteia, Villa Potenza.

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Additional Photos by Stamatis Stamatis (stamatis) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 278 W: 11 N: 413] (2565)
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