The borough of Gradara is located in the Marche region in the provinces of Pesaro and Urbino with a population of about five thousand inhabitants. The first impression you have when you get to the village, is that the whole country is suspended on its Roman Malatesta castle made with original stones and with the typical medieval atmosphere.
Some historical evidences of the medieval town: in 1032 is mentioned the church of Santa Sofia in Cretariae land, in 1162 the castle passed into the ownership of the municipality of Pesaro, in 1182 there was the construction of the tower and later on the development of the fortress, in 1283 Pope Boniface VIII gave Malatesta Verucchio vicarage perpetual fief, in 1311 began the construction of the fortress, whose most products are the stronghold, the “castle” (the first manor house with beautiful rooms in the wing of the fortress considered together with the stronghold the oldest) and a wing of the arcaded courtyard, in 1363 received the first Statute by Malatesta Malatesti – updated in 1548 by the Duchess Vittoria Farnese and remained in force until 1861, in 1433 the castle was given in pledge to Pandolfi Malatesta who transformed it into the residence for his mistress Isotta and never returned to its rightful owner, in 1463 the medieval town was conquered by Federico da Montefeltro, in 1510 the Duke and Duchess of Rovere, lords of Pesaro and Urbino, gave the fief of Gradara to their respective wives, Gradara in 1631 came under the dominion of the Church and remained until the unification of Italy in 1861.
The Rocca today shows all its splendor with furniture and paintings from the antiques market and according to the taste of D’Annunzio’s era. Inside frescoes by Amico Aspertini (Italian Renaissance painter) is the beautiful terracotta altar by Andrea della Robbia in 1480 (Italian sculptor and ceramist), representing the Madonna and Child with Saints. The other masterpiece kept in a room of the fortress is the altarpiece dated 1484 by Giovanni Santi (Italian painter), father of the great Raphael, arrived from the church of Santa Sofia where appears the first iconographic model of Gradara, with its great towers and crenellated walls. The small municipal art gallery also contains works by Bartolomeo Vivarini, Gian Giacomo Pandolfi and Benedetto Coda.
The walls of the fortress are of Malatesta origin. The first boundary close to the castle is decorated with merlons and Ghibellines, while the second circle is larger and contains including the fortress also the historic center of the borough. The wall is made up of fourteen towers and a fortified gate with signs and emblems of the Sforza family, Della Rovere and Farnese. Rounding out the beauty of the village, there are battlements, towers, underground tunnels and vigorous curtains with slits.
Crushers and vineyards in Gradara
The country is rich in olive groves with numerous mills and vineyards where a wine of primary quality is produced, in addition to the ancient culinary traditions such as the “tagliolini con la bomba” (soup) made with homemade pasta, oil , onion and bacon – in addition to meat produced by farms in the area. During the year, a party known as “Il Medioevo a Tavola” is held and lasts a few days where the restaurants of the village turn into fifteenth century taverns.