Tolentino, Town of the Porticoes
Our Marches region motorcycle explorations took us down from San Giustoon a serpentining dirt road to the main highway leading to nearby Tolentino. Encircled by softly-rounded hills Tolentino’s medieval streets lead to quiet piazzas bordered by redbrick porticoes which give no sign of past violence: Papal troops had battled against feudal overlords and during World War II, the Fascists fought the partisans hidden in the surrounding hills.
San Nicola da Tolentino, great preacher and recognized as a saint during his lifetime, lived here until his death in 1303. So venerated was San Nicola that the town’s church, dedicated to San Giorgio, was re-dedicated to him two hundred years after his death. At that time, the medieval church was heavily restored and embellished with precious marbles but the highest form of artistic beauty in the church for me is in the adjacent chapel dedicated to San Nicola and frescoed in the mid-fourteenth century by an unknown but highly skilled maestro. This affresco artist immortalized the life and miracles of Tolentino’s San Nicola in vivid episodes, brought to life in astonishingly brilliant colors. I was enthralled by the depictions of the fourteenth century buildings of Tolentino which backdropped the scenes. Such an important historical documentation of the town’s medieval architecture!
One affresco in particular caught my eye: “San Nicola Heals the Blind Girl of San Ginesio“. Photography was allowed and I had to capture that one for Alyssa and Bill, New Jersey friends, whose Italian “hometown” is now the tiny village of San Ginesio. Pino and I spent a good amount of time engrossed in the frescoes and then wandered the adjacent cloister of this Augustinian shrine where, for centuries, contemplative monks had prayed and read their breviaries while strolling here.
Read about a favorite Marches seaside spot
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Click here to read about the Marches region “underground”
Read about San Giusto, our Marches stop before Tolentino
Read about another small Marches gem