Exploring the city of Jesi and its surroundings between culture, nature, food and wine! Let’s visit Jesi, a town for all tastes, in a day or a long weekend.
Today we take you to visit Jesi and its surroundings, a beautiful medieval town in the heart of the Marche region, a true jewel of history, art, culture, nature, and typical products, nestled between the green Apennines and the blue Adriatic Sea. Of very ancient origins, it is the birthplace of several famous people, such as Emperor Frederick II of Swabia, composer Giovanni Pergolesi, national team coach Roberto Mancini and fencers Valentina Vezzali and Giovanna Trillini.
Halfway between Fabriano and Ancona, the town of Jesi lies on the left bank of the Esino river, to which it owes its name – Aesis in Latin. It stands on a hillock about a hundred metres above sea level, from which it dominates the entire valley of the Vallesina and the Castelli di Jesi.
For its city walls, considered to be one of the best preserved in the entire Marche region, UNESCO has awarded it the title of “Exemplary City” for having been able to preserve a centuries-old architectural as well as artistic and cultural heritage of unquestionable beauty.
A bit of history
Founded by the Umbrians and then conquered by the Etruscans, it became a Roman colony in 295 B.C., a date that marks the birth of the municipium of Aesis, based on Roman urban planning, later merged with the monumental signs of the medieval city. It fully experienced the era of the municipalities and became a ‘royal city’ due to the birth of Frederick II of Swabia, going along with his political fortunes and misfortunes. Between the 15th and 16th centuries, its political, economic and commercial power strengthened, with a parallel flourishing in art and architecture. It was part of the Napoleonic Kingdom and experienced the Risorgimento era with its subsequent union with the Kingdom of Italy.
Itinerary to visit the city of Frederick II, Pergolesi & Mancini
The city of Jesi is truly within the tourist’s reach, since in addition to being one of the most beautiful places in the Marche region, it is a city for all tastes, whether you love to visit museums or have a passion for typical products. But it also offers space for those who love to be in contact with nature or are passionate about sports.
In short, whether you have decided to stay only a day or, better still, have chosen Jesi and its historic centre as a base for visiting its surroundings, every opportunity is good to enjoy this town to the full. Its museums, churches and palaces are interesting and absolutely worth a visit. But even simply strolling along the streets of the city centre will give you a taste of its history and tradition, as well as its food and wine specialities and local crafts, especially goldsmiths.
Saturday mornings are enlivened by the characteristic weekly market, and various events take place in the town throughout the year. Don’t miss its surroundings, which are perfect for nature and wine lovers, and very suitable for children.
So, all you must do is follow the itinerary we have prepared for you.
What to see in Jesi, strolling through the historic centre
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The historic centre of Jesi is rather small, and you can visit it all on foot, even in a single day. Our itinerary starts at its walls, passes through the main streets of the centre, paved with cobblestones, then it goes on to churches, palaces, and museums, with panoramic views and details of alleys, ideal for photography enthusiasts.
But it will not fail to offer you excellent suggestions on what to eat and where to buy typical local products, or advice on places to visit just outside the city, amid nature and good drinking.
1. DISCOVERING THE ANCIENT WALLS OF JESI
If you have the chance to visit Jesi in good weather, our advice is to start getting to know this splendid town by taking a nice walk along its perimeter. A good 1.5 kilometres long, the city walls of Jesi offer excellent viewpoints over the surroundings and beautiful glimpses of the narrow streets of the historic centre. Made of brick, the walls are a perfect example of the classic medieval defence system, with towers of different shapes, gates – there are still at least seven -, loopholes and curtains adorned with small arches and brackets. Among the most famous towers are the Torrione di Mezzogiorno and the Torrione del Montirozzo – which has become the symbol of the town of Jesi due to its shape.
2. PIAZZA FEDERICO II: OBELISK, DIOCESAN MUSEUM & STUPOR MUNDI MUSEUM
Returning from the walls, our itinerary continues inside the historic centre towards the most important and oldest square in the city of Jesi, the famous Piazza Federico II, which stands where the area of the ancient Roman Forum used to be. Here, according to tradition, Frederick II of Swabia was born on 26 December 1194, as recalled by an inscription in several languages on the façade of Palazzo Ripanti. It also houses the Diocesan Museum, with numerous religious testimonials from the Vallesina valley. The square is also home to the Stupor Mundi Interactive Museum, entirely dedicated to Frederick II. The square is then dominated by the Obelisk, built between 1844 and 1845 by the Jesi architect Raffaele Grilli.
3. CATHEDRAL OF SAN SETTIMIO
In the historic square of Frederick II, also stands the city cathedral just where an old temple stood in Roman times, and whose existence is attested by a document dating back to 1119. Completed in 1238, the cathedral was successively enlarged, renovated, and remodelled, enriched with numerous works of art by various artists of all eras. Only in the second half of the 13th century the bell tower was built, and the façade completed.
4. COLOCCI SQUARE
From Piazza Federico II we move to Piazza Colocci, where we find the Palazzo della Signoria, one of the most significant public buildings in the region. It dates to the 15th century and was the seat of the Magistratura Cittadina, later the Governor’s Palace. Today it houses the Planettiana Library and the Municipal Historical Archives. Visit the Sala Maggiore, with its 16th-century coffered wooden ceiling and the 18th-century shelving, also wooden, of the old Pianetti library.
5. COLOCCI-VESPUCCI HOUSE MUSEUM, BISACCIONI PALACE AND MOJ
This is a not-to-be-missed stop if you want to let yourself be enraptured by the atmosphere of times gone by. In the Colocci-Vespucci House Museum you can admire objects, furniture and paintings in perfectly arranged period rooms, that will show you how the most important and aristocratic families of Jesi used to live. The current headquarters of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Jesi (Savings Bank Foundation of Jesi), Palazzo Bisaccioni is often the setting for exhibitions of ancient, modern, and contemporary art, as well as the site of the MOJ, Museo Ori Jesi (Jesi Ori Museum), wanted by the town homonym association to keep alive the memory of Jesi’s goldsmith tradition, when in the 1950s via degli Orefici was full of goldsmiths’ workshops.
6. MUSEUM OF THE PRINTING ARTS STUDIO
Not far away, inside the old Palazzo Pianetti, you can visit the Museo dello Studio per le Arti della Stampa (Museum of the Studio for Printing Arts), which exhibits presses and printing machines dating back to different eras, together with ancient and rare books of great value.
7. PERGOLESI THEATRE
One of the temples of Italian opera, the Pergolesi Theatre is located on one side of Piazza della Repubblica, the centre of Jesi’s cultural life and a meeting point for the evening movida. Built around 1790, this majestic theatre was named after the famous violinist and composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, a native of the town and one of the main exponents of Italian Baroque music. Renowned among connoisseurs for its perfect acoustics, it is a triumph of Rococo decoration.
8. CORSO MATTEOTTI AND CLEMENTINE ARCH
From Piazza della Repubblica you arrive in the shopping street, Corso Matteotti, a long and highly scenic axis. Its most interesting point is undoubtedly the Arco Clementino, a triumphal arch erected in 1734 in honour of Pope Clement XII of the Orsini family, who was instrumental in the abolition of the grain duty.
9. CIVIC ART GALLERY
Palazzo Pianetti in Via XX Settembre is home to the Pinacoteca Civica, where you can admire the wonderful Galleria degli Stucchi. Over 70 metres long, it houses numerous works by Lorenzo Lotto, in particular the marvellous Pala di Santa Lucia.
What to eat, buy and do in Jesi
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1. From the rolling hills, DOC and DOCG wines
It is forbidden to leave the city without tasting and taking home the area’s numerous food and wine specialities, capable of satisfying even the most demanding palates. The Marche region, and in particular the area of Ancona (Jesi and the neighbouring Vallesina), offer numerous typical products, both food and wine.
First and foremost, in terms of fame is Verdicchio wine, which owes its name to the typical colour of the grapes when they ripen. There are several varieties: classic, riserva, passito, spumante, all recognised as DOC and two also DOCG. Other important DOC wines are Lacrima di Morro d’Alba and Rosso Piceno, as well as Esino, both white and red. Unique in its kind is Vino di Visciola, an alcoholic beverage (14 degrees) made from an ancient variety of wild cherry that is fermented in red wine from the area.
2. Traditional recipes of Jesi between nightlife & local handicrafts
The Marche region’s meat production is also prized, most of all the veal from the Central Apennines, then “ciauscolo”, the typical soft spreadable salami, and various types of sausages such as liver sausage and “coppa di testa”.
Don’t be fooled by the “lonzino di fico”, which is not a salami but a typical sweet, prepared by grinding figs and dried fruit, such as walnuts and almonds, to which is added rum or the typical “sapa”, a very sweet-tasting syrup made from must.
At certain times of the year, the streets of the city smell of cheese pizza, the typical savoury cake prepared according to old traditional recipes. But above all, do not leave the city if you have not first tasted the famous meringues of Pasticceria Bardi and the “Torta di Carnevale” (Carnival Cake), an ancient recipe that originated in the noble families of Jesi at the end of the 19th century, linked to the tradition of the “pista”, the processing of pork, usually carried out between January and February.
Among the local handicrafts you can buy unique pieces of goldsmith’s art, wicker or wrought iron artefacts and handmade ceramics.
From aperitif time onwards, there are many places in the historic centre where you can enjoy the movida and taste local specialities, staying up late with drinks, music and chatting.
3. Jesi City of Sport
In 2014, ACES, the Association of European Capitals of Sport, proclaimed Jesi “European City of Sport”. Many sportsmen and women from Jesi have won world and Olympic titles in various disciplines, bringing Jesi to the headlines. The sporting culture of the city of Jesi is undoubtedly linked to the Jesi Fencing Club, particularly in the discipline of foil fencing, to the point of making it the city with the most medals in the history of the Olympics: 22 medals including 14 gold, 2 silver and 6 bronze with athletes of the calibre of Stefano Cerioni, Giovanna Trillini, Valentina Vezzali and Elisa di Francisca, all pupils of master Ezio Triccoli, to whom the city’s sports hall has been dedicated.
Jesi is also the city of Roberto Mancini, football champion and current coach of the Italian national team, to whom we owe the conquest of the European title in 2020.
Events not to be missed
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Palio of San Floriano
Palio of San Floriano is a thirteenth-century historical re-enactment with processions of figures, flag-wavers, drummers, and archers held in May. It begins with the traditional “scampanellata de San Florià” (bell tolling) along the streets of the historic centre, followed by the announcements of the ancient herald, medieval music concerts, archery competitions, historical processions, medieval taverns and the typical “Corsa della Campana” (Bell Race), in which compete representatives from the various municipalities of the Vallesina.
San Settimio Fair
Every year, on 22 September, is celebrated the feast day of the patron saint of the town of Jesi, San Settimio, and over the next three days are held the ancient Three Fairs, whose origins date back to the early 14th century. The streets of the historic centre and those immediately outside the city walls are filled with stalls with many local handicrafts and typical food and wine products.
Pergolesi Spontini Festival
Organised each year by the homonym Foundation to divulge and enhance the works of the two composers, this festival includes appointments dedicated to both performance and study, with events taking place in and around Jesi, from late summer to late autumn.
What to visit around Jesi
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Thinking of staying a few days in the area and don’t know what to visit in the vicinity of Jesi? There are many places worthy of note and interest. We recommend some that we consider unmissable, and which are also suitable for children!
THE CASTLES OF JESI
The town of Jesi enjoys a geographical position that makes it an ideal place to stay, as well as a starting point for visiting the famous Castelli di Jesi, a series of historical villages of medieval origin full of art, history and tradition: Serra de’ Conti, Montecarotto, Poggio San Marcello, Rosora, Mergo, Serra San Quirico, Castelplanio, Castelbellino, Maiolati Spontini, Cupramontana, Staffolo, San Paolo di Jesi, Monte Roberto, Belvedere Ostrense, San Marcello, Morro d’Alba, Monsano, Santa Maria Nuova.
RIPA BIANCA RESERVE
The Ripa Bianca Reserve lies near the eastern entrance to Jesi and is crossed by the Esino river. Ideal for nature lovers, it is perfect for children, with no less than four different natural environments – river, agricultural (with an educational area focusing on sustainable agriculture), calanque and lacustrine (home to the most important heron nesting site in the Marche Region with birdwatching stations). You will have the opportunity to walk along theme trails and then arrive at a belvedere, located right at the top of the gullies, crossing the river on a floating raft bridge.
CAVES OF FRASASSI
These are underground karst caves, rich in stalactites and stalagmites with magical shapes and fascinating colours. The Frasassi Caves are in the municipality of Genga, in the province of Ancona, and are part of the Gola della Rossa e di Frasassi Regional Natural Park. They form a complex of numerous large underground environments, to the point that one, the “Abisso Ancona”, could even contain the Duomo of Milan! Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., tickets on site.
A few kilometres from Jesi are other places of historical, cultural, and scenic interest, all worth seeing and visiting, such as Senigallia, Ancona and the Conero Riviera, Recanati and Cingoli.
- Explore Ancona and its surroundings with gusto
- Recanati between art and good food
- Full of nature, in Cingoli
How to get to Jesi
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- A14 Bologna-Taranto motorway: Ancona Nord exit (toll 16 km from Jesi)
- SS 76 Ancona-Rome motorway: Jesi Est, Jesi Centro and Jesi Ovest exits.
- Ancona-Rome or Milan-Lecce railway lines (junction: Ancona or Falconara Marittima railway stations).
- Raffaello Sanzio Airport of Ancona-Falconara Marittima (15 km from Jesi)
From here direct train line from Castelferretti station (300 metres from the terminal) or bus line to Ancona, Falconara Marittima stop, railway station and connection to Jesi.
Now that you know what to see in and around Jesi, all that remains is to wish you a wonderful stay in Le Marche! 😉