Piazza Enrico Mattei: Enrico Mattei Square - Matelica


The main square, once called Lorenzo Valerio Square, is named after Enrico Mattei, (founder and first president of ENI - Hydrocarbons National Agency). In its center there is the Octagonal Fountain, in white stone, which dates back to l587 and was designed by the architect of the Holy House of Loreto, Lattanzio Ventura from Urbino.

From the central basin emerge four statues of sea gods; on the panels appear some papal coat of arms of Sixtus V and several cardinals. In 1619 a dedication to Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the city's patron, was engraved. The first news of the construction of the Government Palace date back to 1271 by the architect Benincasa from Florence, assisted by the pieceworker Bruno da Fabriano.

The palace, which is next to the Civic Tower, was remodeled several times and this has damaged it from the point of view of stylistic harmony. On the right side of the palace is the “Loggia”, built by Ascanio Ottoni in 1511 and designed by architects Costantino and Giovan Battista da Lugano. The little depth of the gallery and the lack of vertical expansion qualify the “Loggia” as a simple element of street furniture, assigned place to the contracting of woolens. The seven lights of the same size supported by well-proportioned polygonal pillars concluded by an Ionic capital, make the lodge a diaphragm capable of mediating the transition between the market square and the main square.

Ottoni Palace stands in front of the Government Palace. The presence of a commemorative plaque in the right staircase allows us to know the date of construction: 1472. The palace was commissioned by Alessandro and Ranuccio Ottoni. Had a U-shaped floor plan built in the first half of the sixteenth century, which opened onto a porticoed courtyard on three sides and closed on the fourth by the “Loggetta” that - passing over Via San Filippo - led to another property of the Ottoni family.
Of the original building has remained only the right wing of the “Loggia”, only that part which serves as a rear elevation of the building. The “Loggetta” has been having the task of connecting the main house to the annexe over the county road since 1521. The Ottoni would never have risked a popular uprising driving out the nuns from their monastery only to find a space for their servitude, they used the loggia as a private means of communication with the underlying Church of St. Michele Arcangelo and the gardens that laying behind it. The palace houses the Municipal Art Gallery. In the building are preserved three domus environments with polychrome geometric mosaics and part of a fourth environment with a white tiles mosaic tiles and black tile rosettes, dating from the early second century AD.

The Town Hall was bought by the city in 1606 by the family Scotti from Narni. In 1844 the municipality was assigned to architect Vincenzo Ghinelli who drew up a restoration project to prevent the demolition of the building. Ghinelli proposed a cant banking and an enlargement of the courtyard, the barracks building was extended up to Via San Filippo. The engineer Robuschi hooked the façade to robust iron keys and from that time the Town Hall is a reality that overwhelms Palazzo Ottoni. At the end of the staircase is placed the important tombstone of Caio Arrio.

Starting from Matelica, going towards Braccano, you get to San Domenico Casette, where you can admire a charming chapel and Villa Berta, recently restored. Not far away it is also the former Convent of San Giovanni Di Foro, of the thirteenth century, where the inner cloister and the sixteenth century Church full of wall paintings are of great importance.
Taking the road of the neighborhood Casette San Domenico you reach Braccano, located 454 meters above sea level, in an environment of extraordinary beauty. The village, wet from the stream with the same name that comes down from the Abbey of Roti, may have medieval origins and is very particular for its urban traits, rather intact. Since 2001 it has become "Country of Murals". At the center of the village is the Parish Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, built in 1684, and in its present form, around the mid-eighteenth century in late-baroque style. The Parish priest Don Enrico Pocognoni (victim of a Nazi massacre in 1944 which took place there) was buried inside the monument, restored after World War II.

In the building are located an elegant baptismal font, valuable wooden works and a Madonna with Child of the late thirteenth century.
Not far from the village are also the remains of the old Hermitage of San Giacomo and San Claudio Acquaviva, on the way to small town called Vespa.

However, Braccano is not only Murals, but also a starting point for wonderful hiking trails in the midst of woods and evocative landscapes. One of the most interesting routes is on the way to the Abbey of Roti. Shortly after the "baita" (lodge) you can park your car and walk: left into the "Gola di Jana" (Gorge of Jana), right to the Abbey of Roti. The ruins of the Abbey, once called Santa Maria de Rotis, are in a natural basin located along the ancient road that led to Cingoli. The building dates back to the ninth and tenth centuries A.D. However, according to some theories, in that place a pagan temple of pre-Roman origin was already there, from whose solar cult probably derives the name of the Abbey. Its particular beauty was initially noticed by the first hermit monks who settled in the area; later, the Benedictines found the important Abbey of Santa Maria de Rotis on the temple ruins.

It seems that the structure was also home and refuge for the famous and mysterious Order of the Templars, several "Maltese crosses" are above the doors. Today the main remains of the building are: the Church, with frescoed ceilings inside, the cloister and the housing of the monastery area. The area is of great natural interest, related to Apennine rare plants and animal species.


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