The village of Corinaldo is perched in a strategic position between the March of Ancona and the State of Urbino.
It is listed as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and was awarded with the Orange Flag by Touring Club Italiano.
Its symbol is the imposing circle of walls that has remained practically intact since the 15th century.
The 912-metre-long circuit can be explored in an evocative walk.
The walls embed an urban structure which, although it suffered the necessary and inevitable transformations over the centuries, has preserved a uniformity of materials and architectural features that give a unique structure to the historic centre of Corinaldo.
Just climb one of the many towers along the walls to admire an extraordinary landscape: the gentle Marche countryside, the Apennines with Monti Azzurri in the distance and the urban area enclosed by the mighty fortifications.
The landscape is characterized by the strong presence of man over many centuries of sharecropping.
The scattered settlement is united by roads bordered by trees, in a sequence of soft hills cultivated with the care of a garden where the gaze is lost in infinity.
The countryside is so well ordered and cultivated that in 1642 Vincenzo Maria Cimarelli wrote: ‘non si scorge campo che pieno di alberi fruttiferi, di viti, lini, biade et legumi non rassembri un oscenico teatro’; ‘una terra filtrata, civile la più classica delle nostre terre’ added Guido Piovene in his Viaggio in Italia.
The walls surround the village and delimit the landscape between the outside and the inside, as a tangible sign of freedom and independence. They defended the people of Corinaldo from besieging armies for centuries, guaranteeing autonomy and sovereignty to the local community.
According to Touring Club Italiano the fortified perimeter is the best preserved wall circuit in the Marche region. The urban centre is characterised by brickwork, a maze of internal streets and an imposing staircase that climbs from Porta del Mercato straight up to the heart of the town.
The oldest part still preserves the medieval urban layout, while the part of the village enlarged in 1484 recalls the Renaissance. Within the walls, churches and convents, humble hovels and aristocratic palaces create a cascade of buildings with roofs held in place by the defensive walls.
The landscape is both rural and urban, in a unique ensemble of great charm.
Smell the scent of lavender and admire the thousands of shades at the foot of the old village of Corinaldo. Almost five hectares of fragrant plants are coloured in delicate lilac, which turns purple in sunlight.
The lavender field is open all day from 20 June to 20 July: a piece of Provence transplanted in the Marche region.
There are many places that speak of Maria Goretti, the Corinaldo martyr who promised Paradise to her murderer.
She is the symbol of purity defended at the cost of her life after an attempted rape. Maria Goretti is venerated as a saint and martyr by the Catholic Church and was canonised on 24 June 1950.
The itinerary starts from the house where she was born. The building stands not far from the old town centre, in Contrada ‘Pregiagna‘, and can be easily reached by car or bus. The small, two-storey, brick-built peasant dwelling preserves memories of Maria and of the Goretti family.
The parish church of San Francesco hosts the baptismal font where Maria received the sacrament of baptism on 17 October 1890, the day after her birth.
The church of Madonna dell’Incancellata is the closest sacred building to the Goretti house. Here the girl used to go to pray, especially in the month of May, dedicated to the Virgin. In the first altar on the left, the Corinaldo-born painter Mirco Mariani immortalised the devotional moment. The historic centre hosts the Diocesan Sanctuary of Santa Maria Goretti. To the left of the entrance are the mortal remains of Mamma Assunta, who died in Corinaldo in 1954 – the only case in the history of the Church in which a mother witnessed the canonisation of her child. To the right are the remains of Alessandro Serenelli, who was released from prison after 27 years and asked the Saint’s mother for forgiveness. In the central altar made of white Carrara marble, next to a wooden sculpture depicting Maria Goretti, there is a silver urn containing the bone of the arm used by the martyr in an attempt to defend herself.