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Provincia di Pesaro e Urbino
Sito in fase di aggiornamento a seguito del riordino delle Province (L. 56/14 e L.R. Marche 13/15)


Looks out from the summit of a hill between the central and upper reaches of the River Foglia, at a natural advance surveillance point in the Apennine foothills. Today it stands above the artificial Lago di Mercatale.
The town dates back to around the 10th Century. The first castle was built in 1060, with an adjoining chapel dedicated to St John the Baptist. In the 13th Century the town offered refuge to Guelphs from Urbino who had been expelled by the Ghibelline ruler Guido da Montefeltro during the period of Pope Martin IV and his successor Honorius IV. By the end of the 13th Century Sassocorvaro was governed by the Brancaleone family, who were more feared than loved and ruled the town for over a hundred years. After six years of war, which began in 1424, it was Count Guidantonio da Montefeltro who managed to oust them from power. But the Montefeltro period was not a peaceful one, due to their rivalry with the Malatestas. Sassocorvaro thus found itself alternately in the hands of one side and then the other. When the town was finally won by Federico da Montefeltro (1463), he entrusted it to the nobleman Ottaviano, a member of the Ubaldini family, who commissioned the celebrated architect Francesco di Giorgio Martini to rebuild the castle in 1475. Upon the death of Ubaldini, the town returned to the Montefeltros, who gave it in fief to the Doria family of Genoa. They ruled until the family died out in 1626. The main building in the town is the Rocca, or castle, built by the Ubaldinis, which is perfectly preserved and now houses a small art museum and a delightful small theatre, which was built in what had been the main hall of the fortress. Other noteworthy buildings in the town include the Palazzo Battelli (18th Century), which now houses the town's Museo di Civiltà Contadina (rural craft museum), and the collegiate church of San Giovanni Battista which contains frescoes from the 14th and 15th centuries and Renaissance bas reliefs.
The Castle also houses an exhibition entitled "L'Arca dell'Arte", displaying full size reproductions of some of Italy's greatest works of art which were brought here in 1940 and secretly stored by Pasquale Rotondi to protect them from damage during the war. The event is recorded each year at the "Premio Rotondi ai Salvatori dell'Arte", which is awarded to those who have saved works of art from destruction.

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