Montefabbri: come and experience the ‘real’ Italy in this hilltop village

When I say ‘Italy’, what is it exactly that you think of? That is the question I asked a few friends of mine living abroad. Their answers: Prada, Michelangelo, mafia (sigh), Tuscany (forget it, now Marche is the new Tuscany ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), wine, ‘la dolce vita’, Ferrari (sorry, Francine, I didn’t ask you – I’m sure I would have gotten quite different answers ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Well, being Italian, the things that sound/look Italian to me when I try to capture ‘moments of Italianity/Italyness’ are the following: a key into a keyhole outside a house door, a brick entrance gate to an ancient village, a Madonna with child on a wall, streets (possibly narrow) of cobblestone, a pastel pink countryhouse with dark green shutters, a panoramic view on gentle hills with the sea at the far end of a breathtaking sight, cats, laudry hung out to dry…

If all this sounds ‘Italian’ to you too – and if this sounds like a place you would like to go and visit – well, you just have to head to Montefabbri, one of Italy’s most beautiful villages (‘borghi’) in the province of Pesaro and Urbino (Marche region). The following pictures talk for themselves.

However, let me give you a few hints (of course, if you do come, just let me know and I’ll show you around!).

First of all, you have to arrive to Montefabbri from Colbordolo. This will allow you to enjoy your first view on the village enclosed by the city walls from high above and you will be amazed by its simple beauty.

Second: Montefabbri was the birthplace of Giansante Brancorsini who took his vows at the Franciscan convent of Mombaroccio after a dramatic event in his life in 14th century (while trying to separate two fighting friends, he accidentally injured one of the two who later died of an infection). Giansante Brancorsini, born of a noble family, moved to the Franciscan convent in order to expiate his sins.ย  He gained popularity thanks to his strong faith and to the many prodiges achieved while alive (among which the taming of a wolf; the miracle of an oak tree which, after receiving his blessing, started producing acrons with a little cross on them). Today it is a destination for pilgrimages and, if you visit Montefabbri, you should pay a visit also to the beautiful convent of Beato Sante (about 25/30 minutes away).

Third:ย  stop at the ‘Arci’ circle (I looked up in an online dictionary and I found this entry for ‘Arci circle’: ‘an old left wing political circle’…) and get a coffee there. You will be able to see the elderly of the village playing cards (‘briscola’ mostly) or watching sports on TV, and you’ll come across some good ole’ genuine cursing (isn’t it true that, when we were young, the first things we wanted to learn in a foreing language were: ‘I love you’ and a couple of good cursing? – good thing that, later on, we found out that there is more to a conversation than swinging between these two extremes… even if I must admit it: we Italians curse a lot!). Anyway, going back to the Arci circle, you’ll find it on your left, past the entrance gate, after some thirty steps.

Fourth: you may want to pay a visit to the Pieve di San Gaudenzio dating back to the 11th century and restored in the 16th century. If you are really lucky you are likely to experience one of the following 2 situations. Situation #1: the church is open; situation #2: the church is closed but the lady with the keys to the church hears you walking through the village narrow (I mean, really narrow) streets from inside her house and walks after you screaming ‘don’t go away!’ (as it happened to my sister last Tuesday while visiting Montefabbri with an acquaintance).

Fifth: if you are a cat lover, bring your camera along. I mean, I know you can take good pictures with your smartphone as well. Still, you’ll come across many cats in the village (in Spring and Summer) in quite a few awesome ‘typically Italian’ settings, and you will be regretting not bringing your camera along (at least, don’t say I did not warn you!).

Sixth, seventh, eighth… (you could go on forever when it comes to Italy!).

The rest is pure magic!


  1. I am so honored to be mentioned by name in your blog! ๐Ÿ˜˜

    Let me give you my answer anyway…I would have said the best food I’ve ever eaten, the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen, and more history than I could ever know. But honestly, if someone says “Italy”, I first think of my wonderful friend Simona!

  2. Looks a lovely place, my kind of Italian experience! I agree with Francine re: Italian food, people and history!! One day I shall come and meet you in Marche, one region I haven’t explored yet….

  3. I was deep in conversation a couple of nights ago with a friend and my amazing wife. The ladies were trying to understand why I’m not keen on traveling. I said that if we had the money (which we don’t) I might put up with the discomfort if I was able to live in a town/city for a while and get to know the people (I can work anywhere in the world as long as I don’t run out of pencils). “In any case,” I said. “If I want to visit anywhere in the world I read my WordPress blogs. Like the wonderful lady who lives near Valentino Rossi’s mum!”
    Two days later and here you are showing me your beautiful country.
    If our circumstances improve I will take you up on the offer to ‘show us around’.
    My wife has visited your beautiful country and my ancestors came from one of the Aeolian Islands.
    To answer your first question: beautiful food, beautiful women, fashion, cars, motorcycles, Movie directors, movie stars, ‘Inspector Montelbano’, beautiful villages, dogs sleeping in the sun, sparkling ocean, (sadly) waves of refugees, wine and old men playing cards, intense conversations and of course Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Bugatti, Ducati, and all the others.

    • Thank you, Terry. Thank you so much. for your feedback. I am fond of WordPress blogs too. That’s a cross information you get from all around the world and, most of all, the information you get is authentic as blogs are writtend by ‘real’ people sharing their life experiences. I think I’ll write a post with the written and oral comments I got on what sounds ‘Italian’ from all around the world. Grazie and, who knows?, maybe one day we’ll meet in the Marche ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • You’re absolutely right! I too live by the sea and could never live without it. But then again, I like to go to this hinterland villages in the Summer, when on the coast it gets too hot… You always find a gentle breeze on those hilltop villages that cools you a bit ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. What a wonderful blog you have . . . And thank you for enjoying my poem on the snow geese and daffodils . . . We love Italy and have made several trips there, mostly in the north from the Cinque Terre across to Venice by way of Tuscany and Assisi. Love the Lake District and have wonderful memories of staying on Lago Magiore . . . We held our son’s wedding at a villa in Lucca . . . I will follow your blog . . . Blessings!

    • Grazie, Peter. Yes, I very much enjoyed your poem! Today, you are the second person who made me think of Wordsworth’s poem ‘I wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ (‘…and then my heart with pleasure fills,
      and dances with the daffodils’). Grazie. I am impressed by your many trips to Italy and the many places you visited. And how beautiful to hold a wedding in a villa in Lucca… congratulations on your son’s wedding ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes to you too!

  5. Reblogged this on Under Western Skies and commented:
    As a new feature, I’ll occasionally post the work of bloggers I admire. They are writers from around the world, and they cover a wide variety of subjects. Some are professional writers or photographers, some not. In every instance, they provide words and pictures, not merely one or the other.

    I’m delighted to begin with Where Lemons Blossom, by Simona Lidia Zaira of Pesaro, Italy. Simona’s blog is dedicated to giving us a look at the “real” Italy, from the perspective of a well-traveled, observant native and student of her homeland. She writes (in excellent English) about aspects of daily life in towns and villages the typical traveler rarely has the opportunity to explore. I encourage you to explore more pieces on her blog. Please give her a “like” if you enjoy what you find.

        • The pleasure is all mine (il piacere รจ tutto mio!). On Saturday I will be playing in Fano with our amateur orchestra :-). I’ll walk by the monuments and places you described so well! I’ll even throw a coin in the fountain of the main square (deplorable Italian tradition!) saying ‘this is for Brad’ (you know, in Italy we say that if you throw a coin in a fountain wishing to go back to that place… than your dream comes true!). Only if you want to, of course!

  6. […] The day after the interview, Annie got back to take some more pictures, so we took her to a few loveley villages in our hinterland (Ginestreto, Sant’Angelo in Lizzola, Belvedere Fogliense and Montefabbri). […]

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