Colli al Metauro
Colli al Metauro, in the province of Pesaro and Urbino, was established on January 1st, 2017 following the merger of the municipalities of Montemaggiore al Metauro, Saltara and Serrungarina.
Montemaggiore al Metauro dominates the entire right bank of the lower valley of the Metauro from a prominent wooded hill. Ancient settlement of early mediaeval origin, formerly a possession of the ancient Benedictine abbey of San Paterniano in Fano, it constituted one of the defensive bulwarks of the Malatesta coastal territory against the hinterland raids, until 1462, when Federico da Montefeltro conquered it, taking it away from Sigismondo Malatesta. In ancient times it was a very important passage area, as it was crossed by the Via Flaminia. The traces of this past are now clearly visible in archaeological areas and museums, as well as in the local toponymy. Although the origin of its name is not certain, it is likely that the Mons Major derives from its geographical characteristics. Montemaggiore is in fact located on the right ridge of the Metauro river, about fourteen kilometres from Fano and the Adriatic.
Saltara preserves its original mediaeval appearance with the ancient walls of the castle. Near the built-up area stands the elegant church-sanctuary of the Madonna della Villa, which preserves a valuable classical organ that has recently been restored.
Serrungarina stands on the top of a hill. Inside the castle’s ring of walls, where the fortress once stood, at the end of a characteristic flight of steps, there is today the parish church of Saint Anthony the Great, constructed in 1665 and rebuilt in 1867. Not far from Serrungarina there are also the ancient castles of Bargni and Pozzuolo. Typical product of Serrangarina is the pera angelica.
Thanks to its panoramic and strategic position, Montemaggiore can be defined as a “balcony on the Metauro” or “a balcony on history”. This is because two important historical battles took place near it, although centuries apart: the Battle of the Metaurus between Rome and Carthage, and the Allied offensive against the Germans, entrenched along the Gothic Line during World War II. Both are of fundamental importance, since they moved the military equilibrium of the conflict to the subsequently victorious parts, with historical consequences in the following epochs.
The historic centre of Montemaggiore is very small and enclosed by the walls of the ancient castle. Taking an oval shape, in a single central street there are a handful of alleys and a panoramic street, which allows you to explore the whole town. The access road is Via del Castello and leads to Piazza Italia. A scenic staircase gives access to the upper part of the castle village towards the former Porta Castellana, surmounted by the Civic Tower, rebuilt after the war. Going up and looking behind you, you can admire a beautiful garden with a centuries-old plant and the splendid scenery of the hills. The historic centre of Montemaggiore has been restored to its former glory with careful work of building restoration. Several houses are part of an important “scattered hotel”.