Pesaro is a city and comune in the Italian region of Le Marche, capital of the Pesaro e Urbino province, on the Adriatic. Fishery, furniture industry and tourism are the main strengths of the local economy.
During Renaissance it was ruled by the Malatesta (1285–1445), Sforza (1445–1512) and Della Rovere (1513–1631). Under the latter family, who elected it as capital of their duchy, Pesaro lived its most flourishing age, with the construction of numerous public and private palaces, while a new line of walls (the Mura Roveresche) was erected. On September 11, 1860 the Piedmontese troops entered the city, and Pesaro was subsequently annexed to the new Kingdom of Italy.
At the heart of the city lies the wide main square, Piazza del Popolo. Sipping a cool drink from one of the smart bars flanking the piazza, admire the sea-horses and tritons that decorate the sparkling fountain in the centre. Then let your eyes wander over the Palazzo Ducale that vies for your attention with the imperious post office building. The clean-lined Renaissance palace, recently restored, was built in the middle of the 15th century by the ruling Sforza family. It now houses local government offices and an exhibition space open to the public. Take a moment to walk into the imposing courtyard.
The city was once noted for its ceramic workshops that turned out the brightly painted earthenware known asmajolica. In the Musei Civici (Civic Museums) in Piazza Toschi Mosca (just off via Rossini) you can browse through one of Italy's finest collections of Renaissance and baroque pottery, much of it striking for its spontaneous, almost modern, use of colour and design.
If crockery leaves you cold, the warmth of Giovanni Bellini's masterpiece, the Coronation of the Virgin in the adjoining Pinacoteca shouldn't. This large painting with a series of smaller panels, originally created as an altarpiece, catches the eye with its sun-drenched colours and rounded, sculptural figures. The gallery also has a large collection of interesting, if less important, Renaissance pictures.
|La Rocca Costanza|
Centuries before the Sforza family ruled Pesaro, the city was already a thriving Roman colony, founded in 184 BC, probably on the foundations of an even older settlement . For lost property from Roman Pisaurum visit the Museo Archeologico Oliveriano in via Mazza to the west of the main square.
Like most Italian beaches, the 3 km strand here is laid out with serried ranks of umbrellas and deck chairs but it is rarely overcrowded. For a more secluded beach with green hills as a backdrop, make for Baia Flaminia just to the north of the centre. As well as sections with all the gear where you have to pay, there are also free stretches of public beach. You'll also find free, uncluttered public beaches just south of the town on the SS16 road towards Fano.
Not surprisingly, the best food is still to be had in Marche homes rather than in restaurants. The arrival, however, of tourists in smaller towns and villages has often raised the standards in local restaurants and led to the "rediscovery" of long lost traditional dishes.
The old labels ristorante, trattoria and osteria have become somewhat interchangeable in recent years; many of the smarter, and most expensive places, call themselves osterie and take pride in reinterpreting strictly local dishes with great flair. Many restaurants also double as a pizzeria, but note that pizzas are usually only available in the evening when the wood-fired oven is lit.
Avoid the temptation just to order dishes whose names are familiar to you from back home - you will frequently be missing the best the house has to offer. If you are touring in summer or early autumn, look out for posters advertising the local sagra - a festival dedicated to a town's particular speciality where you can try the food in question in every guise imaginable.
- The Ducal Palace, constructed by Alessandro Sforza in the second half of the 15th century. The façade has a portico with six arcades supported by six heavy pilasters and an upper floor with five windows crowned by coats of arms, festoons and puttoes.
- Pesaro Cathedral Basilica, built in the 5th century over remains of a late Roman edifice and dedicated to St. Terence during the Middle Ages. The façade, in Romanesque-Gothic style, is unfinished: it has a simple ogival portal surmounted by a band of small arches. Step inside to see the remarkable mosaic floor uncovered in 2000. The beautiful early Christian work dates from the 6th century and can be admired through glass panels set in the suspended modern floor. This vast work of art belongs to the same period as the magnificent Byzantine mosaics at Ravenna. In some points you can also glimpse an even earlier and deeper mosaic floor dating from as early as the 4th century.
- The Rocca Costanza (Castle), built in the 15th century by Costanzo Sforza, later for a time used as prison. It has a square plan with four cylindrical corner towers and a wide dry moat. The building was named after Costanzo Sforza, who had it built between 1474 and 1483. The initial design of Giorgio Marchesi Settignano, but soon after was assigned to another architect, probably the great Luciano Laurana, the Work continued under the guidance of Cherubino from Milan. In 1500 Cesare Borgia occupied Pesaro and the fortress, The interior features an arcade courtyard with round arches. The central arch is flanked by two round with garlands marble, beneath which elegant inscriptions recalling the two main architechts of the Rock. Newly renovated in 1657, the Rock was turned into prison in 1864 until 1989. It is currently used as a venue for cultural events, including those linked to the annual Rossini Opera Festival.
- The birthplace of Gioacchino Rossini, located at 34 Via Rossini. It has a museum dedicated to the composer, with manifestoes, prints, portraits and his spinet.
- The Palla Di Pomodoro In Freedom Square, at the center of the gardens, there is a huge sphere with characteristic mechanisms, created by renowned sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro, is now a symbol of Pesaro and the square is a meeting of citizens. The grand ball lying on the surface of the water of a fountain from which one looks the sea, is the bronze cast made in 1998 by sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro based on the original made in 1967 for Expo ' Montreal. The original work is located in Rome today outside the main entrance of the Foreign Ministry headquarters. Since the seventies, the Great Ball has become a traditional meeting place and to provide information to visitors passing through town. In the late '90s it was covered with bronze and placed at the center of a large fountain, mainly to prevent degradation and vandalism.