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    Don’t miss in San Leo

    San Leo

    The Fortress of Francesco di Giorgio Martini
    It is named in honour of the Siena-born architect commissioned by Federico da Montefeltro in 1479 to redesign the layout of the mediaeval keep. Now a museum, it remains an important example of military architecture. During the late 14th century it was conquered by the Malatesta, who succeeded the Montefeltro. In 1502 the fortress was conquered by Cesare Borgia, called the Valentine, but a year later returned to the Montefeltro and in 1527 to the Della Rovere. In 1631,when it passed under the Papal State, it was turned into a jail where numerous Risorgimento patriots were imprisoned, although its most famous prisoner was Count Cagliostro.

    Cathedral of San Leo 9th - 12th century
    Firmly anchored to the rockthat supports it, it is on a site consecrated to prehistorical divinities. It is the best example of mediaeval architecture in the Montefeltro and one of the most important examples of Romanesque architecture in centralItaly. Built in 1173, it includes the ruins of the early mediaeval cathedral dating from the 7th century when ancient Montefeltro, later San Leo, raised to the status of civitas, became seat of the new diocese. It faces east and the entrance is on one side, topped by the sculpted busts of St. Leo and St. Valentine, from the ancient church. The crypt once housed the sarcophagus containing the remains of St. Leo, although now only the 6th-century lid with inscription remains.

    Pre-Romanesque parish church of La Vergine Assunta 11thcentury
    This is the oldest religious building in the Montefeltro area andbears witness to its conversion to Christianity. The term parish refers tothe community of this massif that St. Leo evangelized between the 3rdand 4th centuries. According to tradition, it was the saint himself whobuilt the first church here. Rising high above the sheer rock, the façadefaces east and can be entered via two side portals, both topped by asmall blind loggia and with alternating two-coloured ashlars, a precisereference to Byzantine-Ravenna art. The columns and capitals werereclaimed from the Roman or late Antique periods. The candid ciboriumwith heavily sculpted capitals (881-882) is particularly precious.

    Bell tower 12th century
    A solid and imposing monument, it is also themost isolated due to its impervious location. In fact, over the years iteven served as a refuge for the Bishop and clergymen.

    Palazzo Della Rovere 17th century
    Now the town hall, it was built for the Della Rovere family, who succeeded the Montefeltro. Its noble façade is embellished with sandstone motifs and adorned with a solid, rusticated ashlar-work portal and windows topped with gables in Tuscan Mannerist style.

    Museum of Sacred Art 16th century
    In Palazzo Mediceo, the coat of arms with the lily of the city of Florence and that of Pope Julius II della Rovere are clearly visible. It houses 13th - 18th century sacred art exhibits, including a 14th-century Madonna della Mela by Catarino di Marco from Venice and a Madonna and Child by Frosino (1487-1493).

    Palazzo Nardini 14th century
    Count di Chiusi met St. Francis here on 8 May 1213 and was so struck by the words of the saint that hegifted him with Mount della Verna.

    Montemaggio Monastery of the Brothers Minor and churchof Sant’Antonio Abate 16th century
    Next to the splendid Baroque church, it is organized around two cloisters. This mystical place boasts a cistern, octagonal well and delightful “snow-house”.

    Sant’Igne Franciscan Monastery 13th century
    Its foundationis attributed to St. Francis, as is the original name, linked to the miraculous apparition of the “sacred fire” that indicated the lostway. Consecrated in 1244, the church still has part of the trunk ofthe elm under which the saint preached.

    Castle of Pietracuta
    The remains stand on the sharp rock that gaveits name to Pietragùdola. It belonged to the Carpegna family, then the Malatesta and the Montefeltro who had the fortress redesigned byFrancesco di Giorgio Martini. It was home to Duke Federico and his consort Battista Sforza in 1462. It even passed under the owner shipof San Marino before returning to the jurisdiction of San Leo. Closeby is the delightful Renaissance monastery of San Domenico and adjacent church, commissioned by Giovanni Sinibaldi.

    Taken from Malatesta & Montefeltro: a journey through the hills of Rimini

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    Last update: 16/03/2017