Sirolo is a welcoming tourist resort 20 km south of Ancona standing right in the middle of the Marche coastline. Overlooking the sea from the slopes of Monte Conero, with its suggestive landscape, stunning beaches, crystal-clear water and the iconic sea stacks of Due Sorelle beach, Sirolo is regarded as the pearl of both the Conero Riviera and Adriatic Sea.
Located in a strategic area at an altitude of 125 mt above sea level, Sirolo features a breathtaking view of both the southern Riviera and the charming rolling hills of the inner Marche region.
Among the best-known Italian tourist resorts for its outstanding commitment in protecting the natural environment, Sirolo represents one of the top destinationsfor Italian and foreign tourists attracted by its environmental, historical and archaeological heritage.
RICONOSCIMENTI OTTENUTI DA SIROLO
- Legambiente and Italian Touring Club – 3 sails award;
- FEE Italy, Foundation for Environmental Education– 28 consecutive European Blue Flags since 1994 for the quality of its crystal-clear water and beaches;
- RINA, Italian Naval Register– ISO 14001 certification since 2007 for its commitment in improving environmental performance (only 200 Italian municipalities can claim such an award)
- Green Flag by pediatricians since 2016, for its child-friendly beaches
- The Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities awarded the area “I Pini di Sirolo” as the only archeological site within the Marche region featuring the remains of a Picene necropolis from the Iron Age including the “Tomb of the Queen of Sirolo”.
- Thanks to the discover of 11 fossil impressions on the cliff above Due Sorelle Beach, the University of Camerino awarded Sirolo as one of the three worldwide sites featuring emerged ichnofossils of a Lower Cretaceous marine reptile (about 110 million years ago).
LA SUA STORIA
Few people know that researchers found evidences of human presencedating back to a hundred thousand years ago, probably left by some Sirolo-based ancient civilization. The Lower-Middle Paleolithic deposit found during the construction of TV transmitting antennas at Monte Conero proves the presence of settlements since prehistoric times.
Furthermore, multiple necropolises dating back to the Iron Age testify all the development stages of the Picene civilization (9th-3rd century B.C.)
The Caste of Sirolodates back at least to the beginning of the 11th century (High Middle Ages), and it was probably built over some pre-existing establishments by Cortesi Counts – allegedly of Germanic origin. Thanks to its particular half-timbered road system, alleys, towers and the imposing outer curtain walls, Sirolo became a prominent impregnable stronghold. Besides, the citizens of Sirolo were able to build underground tunnels and cisterns to collect water.
During the Middle Ages, Sirolo was one of the most important shelters for Franciscan movementsand other monastic orders who took refuge there to escape persecution.
In 1038, Cortesi Counts donated the abbey on top of Monte Conero and its surrounding lands to the Benedictine monks – the current Badia di San Pietro al Conero.
In 1225, Cortesi Counts traded Sirolo with Ancona for their entry into the Ancona aristocracy.
In 1353, Sirolo managed to repel the attack of militia led by themercenary captain Fra ‘Morreale, and in 1414 the village resisted the assaults by the Malatesta from Rimini.
From 1465 to the end of the 17th century, while remaining under the control of chief magistrates appointed by Ancona, the Castle of Sirolo set itself several statutes that sanctioned its relative autonomy. Such situation ceased when Sirolo became a dominion of the Papal State.
ALLA SCOPERTA DEL CENTRO STORICO
Thanks to its unique geographic location, Sirolo has long since become a top destination for Italian and foreign tourists attracted by its stunning crystal-clear waters, sea rocks, and beaches and fascinated by its glorious history, enchanting historical centre, as well as the architectural and archaeological heritage.
Nowadays Sirolo presents itself to visitors with the same look and splendor it featured in medieval times. Thanks to its castle, towers and curtain walls, visitors have the chance to magically immerse themselves in the charming atmosphere of the Middle Ages.
The historical centre
The historical centre retains much of the urban structure of the ancient castle. Starting from the bell tower, ancient defense tower, then walking along Via Italia and the alleys, it is possible to marvel at the original medieval urban layout as well as the entrances of ancient noble palaces. The walk continues up to the pointed arch (14th century), ancient southern access to the castle, and the Torrione (14th-15th century), which is the only surviving fortalice of the bastions in defence of the curtain walls. Dating back to thelate medieval period, the walls still extend along the southern side of the village up to Via Grilli, representing the foremost testimony of the ancient Castle of Sirolo. The castle was built around the year 1000 to defend the village against barbarian invasions and pirate raids, and then it joined the defensive system of the Castles of Ancona.
Located in Piazza Vittorio Veneto, the former Chiesa del S.S. Sacramento (Church of the Holy Sacrament) features a facade with a 16th-century portal surmounted by a low relief depicting a Virgin and Child – probably of 16th-century school.
The suggestive avenue of holm oaks extending from Piazza Vittorio Veneto runs along the overlook up to the “Punta”: from this panoramic balcony, visitors have the chance to marvel at the entire Conero Riviera.
Chruch of St. Nicholas from Bari
Located in Piazza Vittorio Veneto, this neoclassical-style church with the typical Latin cross shape is flanked by a bell tower with a spire dome. The church was built between 1732-35on the remains of a religious building from 1230.
The church also features a 16th-century wooden crucifix, a Fedeli pipe organ from 1723, an altarpiece by Giacomo Foschi depicting the patron saint St. Nicholas from Bari with the Virgin, and a canvas with San Domenico (St. Dominic) attributed to Carlo Maratta.
Church of the Holy Rosary
Located along via Italia right before the 14th-century pointed arch, this neoclassical style church was built during the 16th century using Conero white stone.
Among other works on the inside, the church features the Virgin of Mercy attributed to Pompeo Morganti(first half of the 16th century) and the Virgin and Child by Ernst Van Schayck from 1606.
Kept within an urn of the high altar are the remains of Blessed Pietro da Treia (1214-1304) and the wooden Christ(around 1815) – the latter being carried in procession on Good Friday. Outside, carved on the ashlar of the eastern perimeter is the bas-relief depicting the archangel Michael with the Latin inscription “Angelus Michael Stetit“.
Villa Vetta Marina
Located south of the historical centre and overlooking the sea from Via San Francesco, this private residence was built on the former convent commissioned by St. Francis from Assisi in 1215 (according to tradition) which also hosted Blessed Pietro da Treia.
This rectangular-shaped building features large windows and red brick friezes. Of the former convent, only the bell tower (the current clock tower) and the portal (now featured in the small chapel) remain.
According to tradition, St. Francis from Assisi predicted the coming of the Holy House from Palestine to Loreto during his stay in the convent. Theoretically, on the night between 9 and 10 of December 1294, the Angels would prodigiously move the abode of Virgin Mary(the Holy House) to Loreto – and there remained up to date inside the Basilica of the Holy House.
Rumour has it that, during his stay in Sirolo, St. Francis even planted two elms, which are currently standing in the park.
As Villa Vetta Marina is a private residence, it cannot be visited. However, on St. Francis Feast Day (October 4) people can access the grounds of the Villa to attend the celebration of a Mass.
Located south of the historical centre within the curtain walls, this theatre was built in 1873 using Conero white stone as a tribute to Cortesi Counts –feudal lords of Sirolo during the Middle Ages. The inner horseshoe-shaped exhibition room features a gallery of Doric columns setting up two tiers of boxes. The vault is decorated with ten dancing female figures depicted within octagonal squares encircling the central rose window. A crystal chandelier dangles from such rose window.
Each summer the theatre hosts a theatre festival culminating with the prestigious Franco Enriquez National Award – in memoriam of the great theatre and opera director of Florentine origin.
Archaeological site “I Pini”
“I Pini di Sirolo” is the only archeological site within the Marche region featuring the remains of a Picene necropolis. Among other graves discovered, a monumental circular tomb named the “Tomb of the Queen of Sirolo” (6th century B.C.) stands out.
Built on a funerary area having diameter of 40 metres, it represents the largest noble circle tomb ever discoverd. Two chariots (a curricle and a calash)were found in the pits inside the tomb, as well as the remains of two mules and numerous ornamental objects, furnishings and household utensils.
Part of such lavish artifacts are exhibited at the State Antiquarium of Numana, while the Conero Natural Park visitors centre (located in Via Peschiera, Sirolo) features a reconstruction of the Tomb of the Queen.
Siro, the Sirolosaurus
During a recent research on Conero Natural Park, the senior archaeologist Luca Natali made a startling discovery on the cliffs overlooking the sea above Due Sorelle Beach: namely, a series of 11 impressions of about 8-15 cm in length and 15-25 cm in width were discovered.
Following subsequent studies performed together with a research team from the University of Camerino, it was agreed that such ichnofossils were imprinted about 110 million years ago by the fore-paddles of a Lower Cretaceous unidentified marine tetrapod.
Thanks to this finding of exceptional value, Monte Conero has become one of the three worldwide sites featuring emerged ichnofossils of a marine reptile.
The author of the footprints was baptized “Siro” in honor of Sirolo, and soon became its mascot.
The sunken wrecks: Potho and Nicole
On the seabed in front of Due Sorelle Beach, between 7 and 14 metres in depth, are the remains of the merchant ship Potho, which was shipwrecked during a storm on the night between 14 and 15 March 1962 following the collision with the sea stacks.
The remaining parts of the wreck (winches, pieces of the boilers, the propeller and a mast) went through a colonization process, integrating perfectly with the reef life. Nowadays, this sunken wreck represents an attractive destination for diving enthusiasts.
A couple of miles off the coast of Numana village, at a depth of 13-14 metres and in perfect navigation trim, lies the wreck of the motor ship Nicole, which sank during a severe storm on the night between 26 and 27 January 2003. Both the bow and stern castles are clearly visible, as well as the internals – with the exception of the engine room. The wreck has become an actual artificialreef, representing the ideal habitat for numerous marine species.