Best places to visit in enchanting Camerino | Bellarome

Best places to visit in enchanting Camerino

Camerino is an Italian town of 6.859 inhabitants  in the province of Macerata, located between the Chienti and Potenza valleys, in a suggestive position on a hill in the center of the mountain area of the province of Macerata, closed to the south by the Monti Sibillini massif and to the north by Monte San Vicino.

The territory is characterized for the most part by a hilly landscape, with a pleasant alternation of cultivated fields, small woods and ancient oaks.

The city has given birth to the most significant pictorial school in the Marche region and has been home to one of the most prestigious Italian universities since the Middle Ages

Today, in fact, Camerino is known above all for its university, but also for its architectural, cultural and artistic beauties, as well as for its good cuisine, and for being the place where the order of the Capuchins was founded.

Let’s discover together the reasons that make Camerino a destination of great interest and attraction!


Ducal Palace

The Ducal Palace of Camerino is a Renaissance monument, home to the University of Camerino. It has an original part remodeled at the end of the fourteenth century. It was enlarged and completed in the second half of the fifteenth century under Julius Caesar of Varano. The Palace boasts a precious four-sided courtyard, perhaps due to the great military architect Baccio Pontelli, around which the rooms open, among which the Sala degli Sposi stands out with fifteenth-century frescoes.

From the Renaissance courtyard, commissioned by Giulio Cesare Da Varano, you can access the terraces (from which you can enjoy a beautiful panorama of the Sibillini Mountains) and the interior rooms among which the stables and the arms rooms of the fifteenth century are worth a visit.

From a beautiful helical staircase you can get to the Botanical Garden of the University, founded in 1828 by the pontifical doctor Vincenzo Ottaviani, which has an important collection of medicinal plants as well as the characteristic greenhouses obtained inside some caves that open at the base of the walls.

After the 1997 earthquake, some of its treasures were moved to another location. Nowadays, it is the representative seat of the University of Camerino.


The Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata

The Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata in Camerino since 1970 has been awarded the title of minor basilica. The Cathedral, the work of Andrea Vici and Clemente Folchi, was rebuilt in the early nineteenth century on the site of the Romanesque-Gothic cathedral destroyed by the earthquake of 1799.

In the grandiose interior and in the sacristies, you can admire valuable examples of the polychrome wooden sculpture of the thirteenth century (Crocefisso) and the fifteenth century (Madonna della Misericordia), as well as interesting paintings by mannerist painters of the seventeenth century.

The painter Carlo Crivelli created a large Polyptych which is now dismembered and is found in various museums between Europe and the United States.

The central altarpiece is located at the Pinacoteca di Brera museum in Milan. In the crypt, it is possible to admire two stone lions, the busts of Cardinal Angelo Gioni and his brother produced by Bernini’s workshop and the sarcophagus of S. Ansovino in Tuscan Gothic style, dedicated to the saint who was bishop of the city in the IX century, with particular animal figures carved at the base of the sarcophagus.

Due to the 2016 earthquake, the cathedral is unfit for use, pending that the building’s renovation and safety works are completed.


Convent of San Domenico

Erected at the end of the century. XIII around a pre-existing church, now it is owned by the University and it is intended to make it the seat of all the city museums; it already houses the Pinacoteca-Museo Civico Girolamo di Giovanni.

Inside, we can find works by painters of the Camerino school of the sec. XIV-XVI (note the nucleus of works by Girolamo di Giovanni); Greek and Roman antiquities, vases from various eras including some proto-attics and italioti, fragments of Roman mosaic flooring from a nearby house.


The complex, built after the Swabian sack of the city, underwent various transformations in the 15th and 16th centuries and was restored to house the city’s museums.

The works contained therein go from the thirteenth to the fourteenth century and include first of all the eighteenth-century picture gallery of the Da Varano family of Ferrara with paintings depicting various members of the family, to which were added various works coming largely from the confiscation of ecclesiastical properties after 1860.

We must remember works by Olivuccio di Ciccarello, Cola di Pietro, Arcangelo di Cola.

On the lower floor of the convent, there is a civic archaeological museum with important finds dating from the Neolithic to the Middle Ages of different origins.

The archaeological section collects finds from the Paleolithic to the Roman age, mosaics (floor) and fragments of fresco, dedicatory and funerary inscriptions, numismatic collections, collections of Greek and Italic vases. The Pinacoteca preserves works by fifteenth-century Camerian painters.

Among the paintings, you can admire the splendid panel of the Annunciation and Christ in Piety, the most surprising poster of the fifteenth century from the Marches, by Giovanni Angelo d’Antonio.


Monastery of Santa Chiara

The area currently occupied by the Monastery of S. Chiara di Camerino was built as early as 1385. On the site there was perhaps a fortified complex, the “beautiful manor”, mentioned in a fourteenth-century plaque once preserved inside the convent and transcribed by the Lili in his `Historia di Camerino`. The plaque in fact reported the following text: `Joannes Varanus D. Berardi D. Gentilis Filius Spaccaferro cognominatus testament reliquit in vico bel magine cited in Div Venanzi suburbio has proprias domus hisque monasterium sub nomine sancte marie nine construi handavit fratesque orders montis oliveti welcome voluit here possession m cepere ano MCCCLXXXV`.

The Monastery of S. Chiara is therefore built, reordering and incorporating pre-existing fourteenth-century structures, by Giulio Cesare da Varano in 1483. In this monastery, which housed the community of the Poor Clares, the same daughter of Giulio Cesare lived for forty years: Blessed Camilla Battista da Varano, canonized by Benedict XVI on October 17, 2010. Currently her remains are kept and exposed to worship in the crypt dedicated to her in the church of the monastery of Santa Chiara.

The monastery was inaugurated in 1484. During the twentieth century, the complex underwent numerous restoration interventions which often altered the original configuration of the plant by replacing structural and architectural elements. The last restoration was carried out around the 1950s. Internally, the fresco on the ground floor of the building on one of the walls near the portico is a 16th century work by an unknown author.

The ex-refectory, where the detached fresco by Giovanni di Corraduccio is kept, houses an unorganized collection of furnishings and paintings that became property in the five centuries of existence of the conventual community of S. Chiara. A sixteenth-century table of Perugian inspiration, the apographer of Antonio da Segovia, various brochures and a miscellaneous code of the century are worth mentioning. XV-XVI.

After various events, today the convent is inhabited by a very active community of the Poor Sisters of Santa Chiara.

The monastery has a well-kept guesthouse and a reception house. The guesthouse can accommodate up to 13 people, while the reception house up to 32, in double rooms with independent management.



Basilica of San Venanzio

The Basilica of San Venanzio constitutes, together with the Duomo, one of the most important buildings of worship for the faithful of Camerino, in the province of Macerata.

Until the eighteenth century, the square of San Venanzio had a very different, suggestive and grandiose appearance: the floor was at a lower level than the current one, so the facade of the church with its magnificent portal and bell tower, perfectly visible, looked more slender.

After the 1799 earthquake, its appearance changed profoundly, but it has preserved the facade, the apse and the bell tower of the second half of the fourteenth century, with the beautiful flowered Gothic-style portal surmounted by a large rose window.

In the lunette, Madonna with child; two lions on a shelf; in the Gothic style crypt Arca di San Venanzio.

In the church, in fact, the relics of San Venanzio, patron of the city, are preserved, as well as the famous Ark of San Venanzio.

It is a building with a late Gothic style, which is accompanied by a reconstruction, following the earthquake of 1799, of a neoclassical mold, but which guarantees in any case an appreciable artistic continuity.

Inside, we also find some valuable artistic works, attributed to Luigi Poletti, artist and architect of Modena origin.


Church of Santa Maria in Via

The first news of the existence of a church of Santa Maria in via a Camerino is reproduced in the “Rationes decimarum” of 1299 and in a testament of 1341, nine years before the return of the thousand crusaders who according to tradition reported the revered image from Smyrna . In the 16th century the church was a poor and irregular construction; the image was kept in a narrow chapel. The current church was built with a project by Andrea Sacchi on the area of the previous one, an oratory, the rectory, other houses purchased by card. Angelo Glori, between 1639 and 1642. In 1643 he welcomed the image. It was consecrated in 1654.

Here you can see the icon of the Madonna and Child, by Maestro di Camerino, which has a long history behind it, in fact the years of the past have brought to light information regarding his arrival here in Camerino, thanks to the crusaders of the town of return from Izmir.

This church is a place of worship very popular with the faithful. In fact, many go right inside the sanctuary to pray to Heavenly Mother, to thank her for the good she infuses in the Cameroonian community.

Unfortunately, the Santa Maria in Via Sanctuary also suffered damage from the earthquake that hit the south of the Marche region in 1997. After a long period of restoration, the church was reopened to the public in 2006, to joyfully welcome all the pilgrims from Italy and the world.

The first news of the existence of a church of Santa Maria in via a Camerino is reproduced in the “Rationes decimarum” of 1299 and in a testament of 1341, nine years before the return of the thousand crusaders who according to tradition reported the revered image from Smyrna . In the 16th century the church was a poor and irregular construction; the image was kept in a narrow chapel. The current church was built with a project by Andrea Sacchi on the area of the previous one, an oratory, the rectory, other houses purchased by card. Angelo Glori, between 1639 and 1642. In 1643 he welcomed the image. It was consecrated in 1654.


Botanical Garden

The “Carmela Cortini” botanical garden of the University of Camerino was established in 1828 by prof. Vincenzo Ottaviani, professor of Botany in the Faculty of Medicine of the same University; in this capacity he dealt with medicinal plants, both by collecting them on the Apennines and by cultivating them in the botanical garden, which he considered of great importance for teaching and research.

It was Vincenzo Ottaviani himself who chose the area on which the garden was built, which was initially occupied by uncultivated gardens and sodas, bordered and supported downstream by a wall and crossed along a road.

Despite many difficulties, he managed to create the botanical garden and, in an inventory of 1835, it appears that 1096 trees and shrubs were cultivated, as well as those of the avenues, and 887 plants from the ground and from the pot.

On the walls of the Palazzo Ducale at the beginning of the last century, a balcony was built, normally called the “balcony on the walls”, from which you can admire a vast panorama that ranges from the surrounding hills to the chain of the Sibillini Mountains, which closes to the south the horizon. From the balcony you can also admire the vegetable garden, which is immediately below, with the hanging garden, the flower beds for herbaceous and shrubby species, the trees, some of which reach the balcony and go beyond it.

At the base of the spiral staircase and along the perimeter of the walls that skirt the garden internally, there are some natural caves (“grottoni”) partly excavated in the sandstone banks on which the foundations of the Doge’s Palace rest, in the form of arches and wrapped overlapping.

The garden is divided into two main parts, the nemoral part on a nineteenth-century slope, in which the secular trees form a grove, and the other on the flat, where there are herbaceous, shrubby and arboreal species of various sizes, also for ornamental purposes. In the flat area there are several sectors, some of which are divided into square flowerbeds which house spontaneous and ornamental plants, and officinal plants. Among the square flowerbeds, other thematic areas are highlighted: the one dedicated to the flora of the central Apennine altitude, the one intended for the cultivation of bulbous species from the Marche, the flowerbed dedicated to the genus Helleborus, to the genus Peonia and to the genus Hydrangea; most of the paths are also bordered by boxwood.