San Severino is a town set in the rolling wooded hills of the southern Marche region, south of Cingoli. Situated on the so-called Black Mountain, when you arrive you can see the castle and the ancient seat of the medieval city dominating the hilltop.
There are still large sections of walls remaining from the ancient buildings, including two gates and, on top, two landmark towers: that of the municipality and, in front, the bell tower of the Old Cathedral.
The second of these towers was built in the 10th century and remodelled several times, and contains the remains of the patron saint and a fine wooden choir from the Renaissance period by local artist Domenico Indivini (1445 ca.-1502). Dating from the same time is the square cloister, a peristyle with two rows of arches that connects the church to the former Bishop's Palace.
The most important 'monument' - or rather group of monuments - in historic San Severino is the Piazza del Popolo, a square surrounded by porticos, 224 meters long and 55 metres wide. It was built in the 13th century and extends along the road that skirted the medieval village. The palaces that surround it show the best of local architecture from the 16th century to the current day.
On one side of the square stands the Teatro Feronia, built in 1827 by local architect Ireneo Oleandri who gave the interior of the palace a neo-classical style.
Among the religious buildings, the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Doliolo is the oldest Church of San Severino. Tradition tells that it was built by Basilian monks (of Greek Orthodox Rite) on the ruins of a temple of goddess Feronia. The current building is from the 14th century, but it has undergone several renovations. The crypt of the church is interesting and was probably built in the sixth century.
Among the frescoes of note in the basilica are “Stories of St. Andrew” by the Salimbeni brothers (Lorenzo [1374 ca.-1418] and Jacopo [1380 ca.-1426 ca,]), authors of other frescoes located in the sacristy. Note also some paintings by Cristoforo Roncalli, known as Pomarancio (1553 ca.-1626).
The Church of Saint Augustine has a façade a with Gothic portal, adorned with potteries and remains of frescoes attributed to Lorenzo d’Alessandro and a bell tower in the Romanesque-Gothic style. The church interior is adorned with remarkable works such as the wooden crucifix by Acciaccaferri (XVI century), and some paintings by Pomarancio. The choir is a work by Ireneo Aleandri.
Visit the Civic Gallery (in the Manuzzini Palace), which houses many paintings from the local school of painting. Among the most important works are: "Our Lady of Peace" by Bernardino di Betto, known as Pinturicchio (1454-1513); two polyptychs by Niccolò Alunno (1420-1502) and Vittore Crivelli (1433-1395); an altarpiece by Paolo Veneziano (1300 ca.-1365 ca.) and paintings by local painter Lorenzo d’Alessandro (1445-1501) and Bernardino di Mariotto (1478 ca.-1566).
The Archaeological Museum preserves prehistoric finds from San Severino and the surrounding area, ranging from the Paleolithic era to the Early Middle Ages.
Tourist interest in San Severino is enhanced by new and important archaeological finds. The Archaeological Park of Septempeda is two kilometers east of San Severino in a flat area north of the Potenza River, with a concentration of artefacts mostly visible in the locality called Pieve (trans: "Parish”).
* The birth and evolution of Roman Septempeda from Oppidum (Fortified Town) to Conciliabulum (Meeting Place of Roman citizens) and, finally, to become a Municipium, with special privileges, was mostly linked to the autonomy of local government and a favourable alliance with Rome, and is linked to its role as a centre of communication on routes such as the “Via Flaminia” and “Via Salaria”, linking the major cities of Piceno, Fermo and Ascoli.
The area once occupied by the city is still largely bounded by city walls made of large blocks of sandstone. The archaeological remains within the walls essentially come from ancient “thermae”. The building is located in a yard paved with bricks, surrounded on either side of a portico and also having a swimming pool. Around it are some rooms paved in mosaic.
Also in the urban area, south of the road near the Parish Church, several Roman houses have been identified. Of particular interest are four mosaics, the oldest of which dates back to the end of the Republican period and the other to the Imperial age (2nd century).
In the immediate surroundings a workshop area was found, the excavations of which have revealed a complex of brick kilns and ceramics used between the 1st and 4th century AD.
The San Severino surroundings are very rich in restaurants and taverns, which offer an ideal chance to sample local dishes such as the homemade pasta, tortellini, ravioli, tagliatelle, lasagne, gnocchi and, particularly for those who love fish, mixed grills are widely present using sea bass, sea bream, flounder and swordfish.
See also history of San Severino