Fermo will surprise you! Here is a guide from a DOC Marche resident to visit the province of Fermo Italy, with advice for all tastes!
As you’re reading the word Fermo, I bet nothing familiar comes to mind. So here is a complete itinerary of this undiscovered land rich in nature, enchanting villages and traditions. Read on and discover with me what to see and do in the province of Fermo!
The uniqueness of Le Marche is reflected in the vastness of the landscapes it offers. In fact, you can go from the mountains to the sea, crossing gentle hills and boundless vineyards within an hour’s drive.
This typical character is reflected in the strategic location of the city of Fermo. Positioned on the Sabulo hill, it overlooks the Adriatic Sea while being protected from behind by the Sibillini Mountains.
The historic centre, characterised by narrow alleyways and artistic buildings, contains traces of all the eras and populations that have made it a protagonist throughout history. The first tangible sign was left by the ancient Romans through the presence of Roman cisterns and some remains of an open-air theatre.
During the Middle Ages, many peoples came into contact with the city, but the greatest splendour was reached during the occupation of the Lombards, who contributed to the construction of most of the buildings present. Later, the town became part of the Papal States and this great religious vocation is reflected in the multitude of churches throughout the old town.
If all this is present within the city, think what awaits you throughout the territory! With Italia Delight, you will be part of a unique itinerary, starting from the beauty of the history and art of the city centre and moving on to the discovery of unique and characteristic landscapes. Without ever forgetting the pleasure of healthy and genuine food.
Visiting Fermo: what the city has to offer
The new and the old, origins and innovations. These aspects appear in the city as two sides of the same coin. Outside the walls of the historic centre we find the new residential part where, apart from a few clubs and pubs used for “night life”, we find almost nothing characteristic. On the other hand, the nerve centre of the town’s history is to be found in the historic central part, with its typical medieval urban layout.
Visiting Fermo means discovering amazing views as you wander through narrow, steep streets, interspersed with lanes characterised by Renaissance palaces and open spaces overlooking the surrounding landscape.
Through the many viewpoints you can admire, sitting on a bench shaded by a centuries-old oak tree, the entire chain of the Sibillini Mountains (even the Gran Sasso), but also the entire Adriatic coast as far as Monte Conero.
Fermo has a lot to tell and Piazza del Popolo is its historical centrepiece. It is the largest open space in the city and is home to the Palazzo dei Priori, the seat of the Pinacoteca Comunale. The entrance to the palace features a bronze statue of Sixtus V (a native of the city). Inside, in addition to countless works of art “made in Marche”, we find the “Sala del Mappamondo”, which houses the oldest part of the municipal library.
The Apostolic Palace, built in 1500, is also in the square. It was used as the residence of all the staff linked to the Papal States. On the other hand, the Palazzo degli Studi is the perfect meeting place for tourists and students alike, as it contains the Spezioli Library, one of the first in Italy in terms of the quantity and variety of its material. Under the elegant loggia of San Rocco, there are also bars and tourist attractions to enjoy the beauty of the square with a drink in your hand.
Ascending from the square is the eighteenth-century L’Aquila Theatre. It is one of the most famous in the region (but also in the whole of Italy). Nowadays it is the venue for performances directed by big names on the theatre scene. The highest point of the historic centre is Piazza del Girfalco with the Duomo, with its majestic Roman-Gothic façade. At the foot of the cathedral there are also large green spaces where you can relax and have a picnic.
The strong Christian imprint left during the reign of the Papal States can be seen in the large number of churches in the historic centre. The most significant of these are the Co-cathedral Church of San Domenico with its majestic Gothic altar and the Church of San Francesco with many frescoes by the painter Giuliano da Rimini.
Much of the episcopal and archiepiscopal artistic material is housed in the Diocesan Museum, which is organised in numerous rooms containing works of various kinds. From the Treasure and Silver Room to the central Picture Gallery, it is a point of interest for Christian art lovers.
The legacy of Ancient Rome in the city of Fermo can be seen in the Roman Cisterns. Dating back to the Augustan Empire, they represent an underground water collection system consisting of 30 chambers with a surface area of almost 2000 metres.
Visiting Fermo also means exploring the magical surrounding area. Follow me and discover what to see in and around Fermo! 👇
From the sea to the mountains: what to see in and around Fermo Italy?
The particular geographical layout of the territory opens up to the traveller the possibility of carrying out many different activities. Enjoying a day at the seaside in total relaxation, hiking along the countless mountain trails, visiting centuries-old villages or going on food and wine tours to taste the local delicacies. All this is possible by visiting Fermo and its surroundings!
For young people, but also for those who love the smell of salt, the seaside resorts in the area offer many opportunities for recreation. The entire Fermo coastline is characterised by an alternation of sandy and pebbly beaches, giving it a more variegated aspect suitable for all preferences.
Places like Porto San Giorgio, Porto Sant’Elpidio and Lido di Fermo represent the fulcrum of nightlife, thanks to the many clubs along the coast where you can have fun with friends to the rhythm of music.
Nature lovers can enjoy fantastic excursions thanks to the wide green spaces in the hinterland. Among the woods and mountains, there are a large number of trails ready to be explored with a backpack, walking stick and full water bottle. Starting from Montefortino, the scenery of the Gola dell’Infernaccio opens up. It is an itinerary that winds its way through the Monti Sibillini National Park, passing hidden waterfalls, hermitages and paths that reach the source of the Tenna river.
For the less energetic, there is always the possibility of entering the Cugnolo Wood near Torre di Palme. Here a short route with small bridges, steps and panoramic views leads to the Grotta degli Amanti (Lovers’ Grotto). The characteristic name was dedicated to the forbidden love between two young lovers, Laurina and Antonio. During the First World War, they chose to take refuge in this cave in order to express their love. Romance and nature, a perfect combination!
Scattered throughout the area are a large number of medieval villages, some with unique characteristics.
It is impossible not to mention the village of Servigliano, whose historic centre was modelled on the prototypes of the ideal sixteenth-century city with its famous square. In Moresco, in the heart of the Sibillini Mountains, stands the Moresco Castle and its heptagonal tower, which give the village a fairytale, almost surreal atmosphere.
Remaining inland, we find the queen of the Sibillini Mountains, the village of Amandola. Its splendid Piazza Risorgimento, the steps leading up to the Sanctuary of Beato Antonio and the belvedere of Piazza Umberto I, which overlooks all the Sibillini, have made this village a gem waiting to be discovered.
Romanesque traces in the area can be found at the Church of Sant’Ugo in Montegranaro with its apse still perfectly frescoed. Moving towards the coast, the jewel in the crown is Torre di Palme. Thanks to the presence of the Gothic church of S. Agostino and the panoramic terrace overlooking the entire coast, it has been elected one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
Even the palate wants its share
The great closeness between the sea and the mountains is also brought to the table thanks to a wide choice of local dishes to taste. Travelling throughout the territory allows the tourist to approach a varied cuisine, passing from the interior to the coast. Arm yourself with a knife and fork and get ready to discover the pleasures of eating in the province of Fermo!
The pride of Fermo cuisine is undoubtedly the maccheroncini di Campofilone. When you arrive in the hill town of the same name, you can taste these delicacies in some typical restaurant in the historic centre, perhaps on one of the panoramic terraces of the town. Designated a PGI product, this very thin egg pasta, very similar to tagliolini, is mainly eaten with a good meat sauce. They are best enjoyed during the Maccheroncini festival, which takes place in early August.
Speaking of first courses, we should also mention the typical “vincisgrassi”, a Marche variant of lasagne. Unlike the traditional version, this lasagne has a more rustic flavour. They are in fact seasoned with béchamel sauce and less valuable parts such as offal and cockscombs.
We find a wide variety of second courses, given the particular geography of the area. From the typical inland cured meats such as ciauscolo and fermanello salami, we reach the coast where it is possible to taste the typical “brodetto di pesce” (fish soup) whose recipe changes from one village to another.
The massive hilly area gives ample space for the growth of vineyards. In fact, we find a wide selection of white wines to best pair with local dishes, such as Pecorino and Passerina. Also relevant is the vino cotto, a liqueur-like drink obtained from a cooked must to pair with the traditional sweets of the area such as ciambellone and dry biscuits.
What to see in Fermo for a plunge into history?
If you love historical re-enactments and you are in the province of Fermo, what to see and do?
During the summer, all the medieval villages in the Fermo area celebrate historical re-enactments that attract both locals and curious travellers. These events are centuries old and are accompanied by food and wine stands and historical parades.
Immerse yourself in the Middle Ages: unmissable events
Among these, the most famous and special events are those in:
- Grottazzolina with the “Days of Azzolino” – held in the town’s Este castle where, to the sound of Celtic music, shows, historical archery competitions and the Giostra del Monaco are held. This particular challenge sees the protagonists facing each other with a mace, recalling the ancient medieval splendour.
- Ponzano di Fermo with the “Palio delle Botti” – a race in which barrels are rolled along the streets of the historic centre. The event recounts the moment when the municipality of Ponzano was divided from that of Fermo, under the will of Pope Pius V.
- Sant’Elpidio a Mare with its two main events, the “Città Medioevo” and the “Contesa del Secchio”. During the first event, which takes place mainly at the end of July, the entire historic centre is divided into four districts. Each district has its own food and wine stands, theatrical sketches and themed performances. On the second Sunday in August, the “disfida” is held, considered the oldest in the region. It is similar to today’s game of basketball. Each contrada aims to score as many points as possible by trying to shoot a leather ball into a special bucket reconstructed in the shape of a well. The origins of the challenge are reminiscent of when, during the Middle Ages, the contrade challenged each other for the privilege of being the first to acquire water from the city’s only well.
- Fermo with the “Cavalcata e Palio dell’Assunta” – is the commemoration that attracts the largest number of travellers. Accompanied by a parade of ladies and knights, ten contrade compete on the backs of their steeds. They compete along the alleys of the old town to win a banner made of fine silk, the so-called “Palio”.
How to get to the province of Fermo
Visiting Fermo and its surroundings is easy! The province of Fermo is well connected with the rest of Le Marche region. A dense network of motorways makes it easy and not exhausting to move around. The best way to travel by car is to take the A14 motorway and exit near the three tollbooths provided: in sequence, Porto Sant’Elpidio, Porto San Giorgio and Pedaso.
If you travel by train, the numerous railway stations make it easy to reach the province of Fermo. The only way to reach Fermo by plane is to stop off at Falconara airport (in the province of Ancona) and arrive in the Fermo area by other means.
Now that you know what to see in Fermo because I have enticed you with all these wonders to explore, all you have to do is create your own tailor-made food and wine trip with one of Italia Delight’s Local Experts! Thanks to his or her knowledge, you can visit the province of Fermo, including for example a guided tour of the Campofilone pasta factory to taste the fantastic maccheroncini. Having said that, all that’s left to do is wish you a pleasant journey… and bon appétit! 😋