Fano is a town and beach resort on the Adriatic Sea at the north of the Le Marche region, south-east of Pesaro.
Unusually for the resorts along this part of the coast, the history of Fano dates back 2,000 years - it was at one time the largest roman settlement on the Adriatic - and there are some interesting Roman and 16th century buildings and monuments to visit in the old part of the town.
It is as an Adriatic seaside resort with high quality beaches that Fano is best known and the reason that it attracts so many visitors during the summer and as a result it can become rather crowded.
Enter the town via one of the main sights - the Arco di Augusto. This Roman arch unfortunately was deprived of its upper storey in the 15th century, when the town was besieged by Federico di Montefeltro, but the part that remains is still substantial. Your visit to Fano can start from the Porta Maggiore which is opposite the Arch of Augustus.
This entrance was constructed at the time of enlargement of the city in 1227. In 1425, under Pandolfo III Malatesta (1389 ca-1427), the gate was reinforced by a tower. Currently, following restoration in the early 20th century, the front of the gate has two entrances - a driveway and a pedestrian entrance - and battlements.
The bastion on the left of the gate is attributed to local architect Matteo Nuti, who began the restoration work in 1464.
The origins of Fano Cathedral on Via Arco di Augusto probably date back to the 10th century but the current construction is from 1140. The cathedral was designed by Magister Rainerus, as seen on the ancient inscription inside the church.
The cathedral has a typical romanesque style façade of brick and sandstone while the interior has three naves with low vaulted ceilings, and massive pillars. Among the sculptures in the church note in particular so-called "Chitarist sarcophagus”.
Court of Malatesta
Among the other notable buildings of Fano the Court of Malatesta stands out. The building comprising a series of structures built and converted by Galeotto I (1299-1385) after his appointment as Papal Vicar in 1357. Later they became the residences of the Governors and the General Court.
After several years of substantial neglect, the buildings were restored by Alberto Calza Bini (1881-1957) to make them the home of the local Savings Bank (1930). There are still a couple of rooms with 14th century vaulted ceilings and in these rooms there are paintings that make up the collection of the "Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Fano".
Among these painting note especially the "Marriage of the Virgin" by Guercino [1591-1666] (1649), a "Madonna and Child" attributed to Giovanni Santi (1433-1494), a "Saint Jerome and the Angel " attributed to Lorenzo Garbieri (1580-1654), and various portraits of religious and secular subjects.
Next stop is the Malatesta Palace, with its wide portico having slender stone columns and capitals with the characteristic pink Malatesta four petals, four light windows in brick and a small lancet coeval. This palace is one of the buildings erected on the orders of Pandolfo III between 1414 and 1421 by an unknown architect who was linked to the late gothic style of the Milan School.
The right part of the building, with the staircase and the loggia, was once attributed to Sansovino [1486-1570]. The whole front was restored in 1898 by Giuseppe Balducci, who also added a battlement.
Fano Arts and Museums
Particular attention should also be paid also to the collections in the Museum and Art Gallery of Fano, housed within Palazzo Malatesta.
In this Museum / Art Gallery you can see an archaeological section, and several important paintings by Italian and foreign artists such as Michele Giambono (1400-1462) and Giovanni Santi, Palma il Giovane (1544-1628) and Guido Reni (1575-1642), also Guercino, present with the famous "Guardian Angel".
Another important collection of painting is that of "Fondazione della locale Cassa di Risparmio", including the "Marriage of the Virgin" by Guercino, and ten beautiful still lifes by Carlo Magini (1720-1806).
A visit to Fano might end with a trip around the outside of the city, towards the hills of Metauro. This area has long produced an excellent wine which goes well with the local products such as mushrooms. Another specialty of the surroundings of Fano are meats, like the sausage San Costanzo, the "Vernajo" and "Barbarino.
Among the main courses in the restaurants here we recommend the "pappardelle with chestnuts," and among the desserts "Straccadenti" and "Berlingozzi" are recommended.
Map of Fano sightseeing & popular sights
Selected places to visit near Fano, Italy
See the Marche guide for more travel ideas...