Frontino, among the most beautiful villages in Italy, is a small hidden gem of the Marche region. Discovering it is a pleasure for the senses and soul
Frontino, a hidden gem of Le Marche, is a tiny little town in the Montefeltro Mountain Union with just the right mix of personality and fairytale factor that makes it truly unique.
It's the smallest municipality in the province of Pesaro and Urbino. However, its modest size does not take away the charm of this enchanting place. It's no coincidence that Frontino is counted among the prestigious list of I Borghi più Belli d'Italia (the association collecting the most beautiful villages in Italy) and that the Italian Touring Club has awarded it with the Orange Flag.
But what is it that makes Frontino so special? To find out, you'll necessarily have to visit the borgo. In the meantime, we'll give you here a few hints.
This hidden gem of Le Marche is an oasis of peace where you can get your fill of good vibes amidst the landscapes of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines and the beauty of a mediaeval historic centre that will give you moments of pure poetry.
Discover Frontino, the hidden castle village in Le Marche.
Frontino, history of the smallest municipality in the province of Pesaro and Urbino
As mentioned earlier, with a surface area of 10.74 km², Frontino is the smallest municipality in the province of Pesaro and Urbino.
The history of the borgo is marked by the clock of its civic tower and the lush Virginia creeper that covers it, alternating, season after season, bright greens with warm reds and golden oranges. Looking at it from below, you might wonder if a solitary princess will ever look out from the window at the top. Fairy-tale suggestions happen in such places!
Despite the modest size, Frontino has seen centuries of history, all of which are still clearly legible in the cobbled streets of its historic centre, one of the most beautiful in the Montefeltro area. The village stands high up on a spur dominating the Mutino valley in the shadow of Mount Carpegna.
The name is probably a reference to the Castrum Frontini of Roman times. Of all the events that have affected it, the most significant for symbolic and civic value is the battle known as 'dei Coppi' in 1451. Chronicles narrate that when Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta's troops attempted an assault on the castle, the people of Frontino fought tooth and nail by throwing even the tiles of their houses at the soldiers.
An ancient 'border' territory in Massa Trabaria, an area known for supplying logs used to manufacture beams, Frontino was founded as a fortified village. This characteristic is evident to anyone walking through the tangle of beautiful dwellings coloured with flowering balconies embraced by the mighty castle walls.
What to see in Frontino
To discover what to see in Frontino is to take a journey into the medieval past of central Italy. It's a small town, so your visit should only take you a little time if you don't have much.
This hidden gem exudes a welcoming atmosphere that immediately puts you at ease.
The village of Frontino is just what you need for a break (even if only for a few hours) of calm and relaxation. Get into the mood and put your smartphone on aeroplane mode so as not to be distracted by the lively quietness you'll find. Doing so among the centuries-old pines and gorse swaying in the breeze of Le Marche forests will be simple.
On the way to your destination, you'll come across a recently restored 14th-century mill, Il Mulino di Ponte Vecchio. In the past, it was used for processing flour and bread. Today it houses the Museo del Pane (Bread Museum).
Continuing along a series of hairpin bends, you'll soon reach the historic centre of Frontino. The perfectly ordered ensemble of brick houses and the streets paved in local stone show how the castle village has maintained the medieval appearance of its origins.
In addition to the clock tower, another similar construction betrays the old settlement's defensive purposes. It is a polygonal-shaped tower in Piazzale Leopardi, a panoramic terrace with a view of the mountains embellished by an astonishingly modern fountain by Franco Assetto. The Torinese artist donated a large number of works to the municipality, all of which are on display in the Franco Assetto Museum.
Behind Piazzale Leopardi is the Titano Theatre, a large open-air venue built in the 1970s that is reminiscent of the theatres of antiquity.
As in any self-respecting village, a parish church cannot be excluded. The one in Frontino is dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul and contains some valuable works such as the Madonna and Child by Antonio Cimatori 'Il Visaccio'.
Yes, the town is definitely small, but during the year, there is no shortage of events and manifestations that animate its streets, making Frontino an even more attractive destination—the Black Truffle Festa, the Bean Sagra and the unique Scarecrow Festival.
What to see around Frontino
The Monumental Complex of Montefiorentino is undoubtedly one of the things to see around Frontino. According to legend, St. Francis founded it in 1213 while passing through the lands of Montefeltro. The Franciscan monastery is among the oldest and most prominent in the Marche region. It consists of a church, a cloister and a Renaissance chapel—the Conti Oliva chapel is an authentic jewel.
From the church also comes the precious polyptych by Alvise Vivarini, currently on display at the National Gallery in Urbino. Every year, the convent hosts Premio Nazionale di Cultura Frontino–Montefeltro, a thriving cultural initiative held in Frontino since 1981 with the participation of writers, journalists and publishing houses from the most prestigious to the smallest.
A short distance away, still outside the walls of Frontino, is the 16th-century Monastery of San Girolamo. Now an accommodation facility of great historical value, it features an ancient single-nave church, a refectory frescoed with a depiction of the Last Supper and the former monks' cells.
Frontino is located within Sasso Simone and Simoncello Park. If you love trekking and walking in the green, take the opportunity to stroll along scenic paths and white roads and reach the two 'sassi', giant rocks that emerge imposingly from the soft hilly landscape. You'll also come across the remains of Città del Sole, the abandoned city that Cosimo de Medici built in the 16th century.
If you are in the mood for a bit of effort, try Il Cippo di Carpegna, a steep and decidedly demanding climb through the woods where Marco Pantani used to train. It's a decidedly romantic stage that cycling enthusiasts should take notice of. Two tributes to the great cyclist mark the itinerary: a sculpture and a blow-up picture of him in the saddle. Once you reach your destination, catch your breath admiring 'il cielo del pirata' (the pirate's sky), a view that embraces the Republic of San Marino, the Fumaiolo and Aquilone mountains and the Marecchia valley.