Fabriano offers a name which is immediately recognized by two groups of people: interested in paper making and old books, and those who love Italian painting. Both claims to fame date to roughly the same period, as well: native son Gentile da Fabriano's beautiful and characteristically elaborate
paintings of Christian subjects which arrive in our mailboxes every year at Christmas; and the city where he was born was one of the earliest places in Europe to make high-quality paper on an industrial scale. In turn this was one of the factors that led to the establishment of nearby Foligno
(in Umbria, 55 km SSW of Fabriano) as the earliest printing center in Italy in the late 15c.
Fabriano's wealth and commitment to the fine arts in the late medieval period have left it with many handsome monuments, a majestic town centre and the Museum of Paper Making and Watermarks.
The Fontana Sturinalto, a 13c work by Jacopo da Grondolo, in a piazza with several civil buildings like the Palazzo Comunale.
Fabriano is located in the heart of the region of Le Marches at the feet of the Apennines, approximately 30 kilometers from the Cantinone Bed and Breakfast Holiday Accommdation. It lies nestled in a valley rich with natural beauty and a rich historical and artistic heritage. Found on the extremt west of the acnient map the “Marca d’Ancona” bordering Umbria, Fabriano locatge on the ancient road between Ancona and neighbouring towns like Gubbio and Assisi. Today the town is surrounded by green countryside and uncontaminated nature, which is good example of a successful union between city architecture and a natural panorama. Fabriano has been an important cultural crossroads from ancient times and traditions which still today characterises the territory.
Information documented in the 12th, 13th and 14th Centuries and today preserved at the “Archivio Storico Comunale di Fabriano” (the Fabriano Council Historical Archives), reconstructs the beginnings and evolution of Fabriano as the centre of papermaking in the Marche region. According to these archives, there was no paper-makers representative amongst the twelve artisan corporations that governed the Council and that were listed in the public act of 1278 in Fabriano.
By 1283 the first mention of papermakers was noted. Small wool mills existed along the Giano River bank which were used to produce a paper from a kind of bamboo. The history and development of paper making in Fabriano can be seen at the museum of Paper Making and watermarks. Sa with most inventions, the watermark came about from an accident.
One of the most interesting and informative of Fabriano's museums is a museum of working bicycles. This small private collection boasts nearly 50 bicycles from the turn of the last century that were used by tradesmen and others with a need for a dedicated use bicycle. You will marvel at how so much “stuff” could be loaded into special boxes and cabinets and transported by bicycle by tradesmen such as bakers (with an onboard oven), doctors (with medical kit), cobblers (with leather material, tools and forms), firemen (complete with hose and nozzle), granita vendors (with a can of ice, graters and flavorings). The bicycle museum was a testament to an age before online shopping, local stores and malls, recalling a time when you waited for a passing expert who could mend a pan or read a letter for you.
Fabriano is about more than just the Museo delle carta, however fascinating that is. Make sure you allow some time to explore the rest of the town, especially the Piazza del Comune, Fabriano’s main square. Sit for a while over a coffee, admiring the lovely buildings that surround the square. These include the Palazzo Vescovile with the Torre Civico, the 14th century Palazzo del Comune and 13th century Palazzo del Podestá.
This latter is the most striking of the piazza’s buildings, with its distinctive swallow-tailed Ghibelline battlements (indicating that the Chiavelli family, who ruled Fabriano, were supporters of the Holy Roman Empire in the 12th and 13th century struggles between this and the Papacy). Today it houses the Magistrate's Court. The distinctive arched bridge on one side is a legacy of the time when a stream once flowed past this spot.
In front of the Palazzo del Podestá is a lovely fountain, the Fontana Sturinalto pictured above.
This is an example of the very much unexpected gems Fabriano has to offer. The collection was brought together in 1862 and was moved to the Ex Ospedale di S. Maria del Buon Gesú in 1912. After the fatal earthquake in 1997, it was removed to a house outside the town centre but since 2006 it is back in the meanwhile restored rooms of Buon Gesú.
The building itself is magnificent already from the outside. Late Gothic arched windows, some even look “oriental”. Make sure you look closer at the loggia outside, there are some wonderful old frescoes (right hand side of the entrance portal) by Maestro di Staffolo (1460).
Inside, the museum surprises with many beautiful religious paintings by artists of 13-16th century, mostly by Alegretto Nuzi (14th century, there is even one of his paintings in London’s National Gallery) and Antonio da Fabriano (15th century). Sadly, the most famous painter from Fabriano, Gentile da Fabriano, is not represented in the museum. Another room houses wonderful Flemish tapestries of 16/17th century and beautiful old wooden sculptures.
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 10:00-13:00 and 16:00-19:00
Entrance fee: 4 € (and reduced fees for kids, students and retired people). You can buy a combination ticket for Pinacoteca and Museo della Carta for 8,20 €, which is a good value if you plan to visit both museums anyhow.
Your holiday in Marche starts here...
Find your holiday accommodation - perfect for the whole family - at Cantinone Bed and Breakfast and Holiday Apartments. Cantinone is an eco-friendly B & B - we offer luxury at a budget price and are committed to green practices like recycling, using local and organic food, and renewable energy.
Fabriano Tourism Site
More about Fabriano on Marche Voyager Site
How to get to Visit Fabriano from the Cantinone
Getting there: easiest by car, take the SS76 highway in the direction of Roma. After passing through the beautiful Gola Della Rosa, exit at Fabriano Est (30 minutes by car from the Cantinone). Also accessable by train you need to get off the train at Fabriano station which is a 10 minute walk into the historical centre of Fabriano.
Opening Hours and Ticket Prices
Opening times: All the information on Ticket Prices and Opening hours is on the Museum website. Click on the ticket to go to the website (opens in a separate window).
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