What to do and see in Pesaro like a local? Here are some suggestions for discovering the Italian Capital of Culture 2024.
Churches, squares and museums, a long musical tradition, the vibrant summer life along the low and sandy seafront, a strategic location that provides easy access to nearby places, towns and cities where every visitor can easily find whatever they want: nature, art, history or entertainment.
All these features will make you fall in love with Pesaro. Curious to find out more about the Italian Capital of Culture for 2024? Here are some hints to visit Pesaro like a local.
What to do in Pesaro like a local
A stroll from Piazza del Popolo, Pesaro's most iconic corner, reveals the coexistence of two distinct identities that define this beautiful city. On the one hand, you'll find the elegant and refined side, while on the other, a more joyful and carefree essence that makes it a perfect destination for the younger crowd.
Pesaro is the hometown of Gioacchino Rossini and boasts Art Nouveau boulevards and seaside villas, some picturesque pastel-coloured buildings in the harbour of Calata Caio Duilio, and small refined squares to explore. And let's not forget about the culinary delights! You simply must try the special pizza which is unique to this place and cannot be found anywhere else.
The city is best explored by foot or bicycle, thanks to its tidy urban cycle path network that makes it even more human-friendly.
To help you make the most of your time in Pesaro, we've put together 7 insider tips to ensure you travel like a true local. Check it out!Book your hotel room in Pesaro❯
7. What to do in Pesaro like a local: living your best (beach) life
Pesaro's vibrant summer atmosphere is typical of the Adriatic coast, with seafront clubs that stay open until late and dancing that lasts until dawn. You can easily explore the city coastline, which is divided into three areas: Baia Flaminia, Ponente, and Levante.
The beaches in and around Pesaro are long and sandy with shallow waters, characteristics that make them perfect for children to play and have fun safely.
If you're seeking a more private experience, San Bartolo Park is home to some wild and isolated bays. One of the most beautiful places on the coast is the Fiorenzuola di Focara shoreline, an unspoilt corner and one of the province's gems. You can trek along the paths from the town's centre to reach this stunning beach. Alternatively, an asphalt road is available for those who prefer a more comfortable tour, but a short walk on foot is still required.
6. Attending the Rossini Opera Festival
The Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro has been celebrating the works and operas of Gioacchino Rossini since 1980. This international event is held annually in August to showcase Rossini's timeless compositions, from famous masterpieces to lesser-known arias. You can find the schedule on the official website.
Pesaro is the custodian and sounding board of the Maestro's vast heritage. The festival's mission is to recover forgotten capolavori through meticulous analysis that combines musicology and theatre.
If you're planning a visit, be sure to check out Rossini's birthplace and, when allowed, Palazzo Olivieri, featuring the Pedrotti Auditorium and the Tempietto Rossiniano, which preserves some of the composer's memorabilia.
5. Taste Rossini Pizza
Indulging in a slice of pizza is a surefire way to lift one's spirits. But have you ever tried Rossini Pizza? Gioacchino Rossini, the celebrated opera composer from Pesaro, was a renowned food lover and connoisseur. Many dishes and preparations are dedicated to the Maestro, as the parade of 'alla Rossini' on restaurants and osterias menus testifies.
It's no surprise that Pesaro's gastronomic speciality is an homage to its most famous citizen. However, if you want to try the original, you must visit Pesaro, as it's a struggle to find it elsewhere.
The base is a classic tomato and mozzarella pizza, but it's the addition of two ingredients that make all the difference - hard-boiled eggs and mayonnaise, sometimes laid to form a treble clef.
Some Neapolitan pizza purists may turn up their noses, considering the combination too daring or even heretical - like a pizza with pineapple. However, locals are enthusiastic and fond of their speciality.
It is said that this traditional snack was invented in the kitchens of a pastry shop in the centre during the 1960s. Since then, Rossini Pizza has become a passe-partout at any time of day - from breakfast to dinner. So, why not give it a try and see what all the fuss is about?
4. Going on a family outing
The province of Pesaro shares some lovely towns that are perfect for a family outing. In such places, it wouldn't be surprising to spot ladies in elegant rustling gowns and knights in armour strolling along the cobbled streets in the shadow of castles and ancient defensive walls.
Several of these villages, including Mondolfo, Pergola, Mondavio, Gradara, and Fiorenzuola di Focara, are even part of the renowned Borghi più Belli d'Italia, the circuit grouping some of Italy's most beautiful destinations. Not to mention Urbino, where you can immerse yourself in the Italian Renaissance.
If you're in the mood for a change of atmosphere and region, the proximity to Emilia Romagna makes it easy to access the most renowned resorts of the Riviera, like Cattolica, Rimini, and Riccione.
In addition, you can easily reach attractions and amusement parks that are popular with children, such as Oltremare, Italia in Miniatura, Cattolica Aquarium, Aquafan, and Fiabilandia.
3. Getting around on your bicycle
Discover the most beautiful and famous attractions of Pesaro on your bicycle, just like you would in any other city by using the metro. The local cycle path, Bicipolitana, is designed like a classic rail route with different directions indicated by the traditional colored signs.
Each route has its own unique colour - the red line connects the port to the centre and Piazzale della Libertà, the green line goes from Baia Flaminia to Borgo S. Maria, the yellow line from the centre to Pantano, and so on. This project is still in progress, with new areas added to the complete map on an ongoing basis.
Cycling around Pesaro is an enjoyable and eco-friendly way to experience the city.
2. Not taking a selfie under Medusa
The Pesaresi claim that getting too close to this opera brings bad luck. Want to tempt fate? Then here's where you should go.
Palazzo Mosca is a lavish 17th-century residence that has welcomed several notable personalities such as Stendhal, Casanova, and Napoleon. Since 1936, it has served as the home of the Musei Civici. The collection on display at the museum boasts several milestones of the Italian Renaissance, valuable sculptures, and ceramics. Among the exhibits, a majestic work of art has gained a sinister reputation over the years.
It is a large majolica depicting Medusa made by the Marche artist Ferruccio Mengaroni in 1925. The face of the gorgon is none other than a self-portrait of the author, who used a mirror to create it.
According to the chronicles, the mirror broke as the artist set to work, which was considered an omen of impending doom. Unfortunately, Mengaroni met his demise when a crate containing his creation fell on him during the staging of the Biennial of Decorative Arts in Monza in 1925.
Medusa has been the subject of many celebrated masterpieces throughout art history. While Mengaroni's work may not be as renowned as those of Rubens or Caravaggio, its author has achieved a remarkable level of realism and hypnotic expressiveness, making it a small treasure to rediscover.
1. Trekking in San Bartolo Park
Open-air adventures, enchanting views, historic villas overlooking the sea, and small fortified villages - Mount San Bartolo awaits you with its paths through the natural park from Pesaro to Gabicce Mare.
There are 1600 hectares of protected area featuring a succession of high cliffs, small valleys, woods, castles and vineyards, with here and there the same views that inspired Piero della Francesca, Leonardo and Raphael.
The park is also home to one of the jewels of the Marche Renaissance, the glorious Villa Imperiale, a sumptuous Sforza residence that dates back to the 15th century.
To make the experience even more complete, use the San Bartolo Experience app and follow its directions to discover the beauty of this small yet magnificent territory.