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Provincia di Pesaro e Urbino

Fermignano

This is the first town along the Upper Metauro Valley after leaving the main road up to Urbino. It stands on the river bank, surrounded by an undulating landscape of hills and small valleys.
The town dates back to Roman times and was significant largely because of its strategic position. In ancient times it stood along the road which crossed the hills from Pitinum Mergens (Acqualagna) and continued on upwards to Urvinum Mataurense (Urbino). This is one of the places where it is said that the historic Battle of the Metauro was fought in 207 BC, in which Hasdrubal of Carthage was defeated and killed by the Roman consuls Caius Claudius Nero and Marcus Livius Salinator. Over the centuries, Fermignano was under the jurisdiction of Urbino, to whose fortunes it was closely tied, though from 1607 it was given its own administrative council. The town's most distinctive feature is the Torre delle Milizie, a sturdy square tower topped with a corbelled battlement. It defends the ancient triple arched bridge which crosses the River Metauro. Within the old town there are also several interesting Medieval and Renaissance doorways, including the gothic archway of Palazzo Calistri, and also the church of San Veneranda. The small 14th Century Church of San Giacomo in Campostella, just outside the town, is decorated with 14th and 15th Century frescoes. The celebrated architect Donato Bramante was born in a house in the countryside here in 1444, while the poet Torquato Tasso stayed in the nearby Villa Isola in 1575 and composed his famous 'Canzone al Metauro'. Fermignano was already known in Medieval times for its paper mills. During the 20th Century these became substituted by pasta factories and wool mills.
The 'Palio della Rana' (Frog Race) is one of the town's traditional events, in which the seven districts of Fermignano take part. It is held on the first Sunday after Easter to mark its liberation by the Duchy of Urbino and is preceded by a magnificent procession in historic costume.

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