Mondavio is a hidden gem in central Italy’s le Marche region. The picturesque historic center rises up from a castle and is enclosed by medieval walls. Within the center are a few shops, a bar, and two restaurants. Just below the castle is a bar with views of the castle from the outside tables and another restaurant. Although there’s not a lot to do, it’s a pleasant town to use as a base for exploring northern le Marche.
Things to See and Do in Mondavio
Mondavio has a small, charming historic center enclosed within walls. Have a coffee or a drink at Bar il Duca in the main square at the highest point of the town and enjoy people watching and a view of the castle below. Also on the main square are the town hall with a bell tower and a small bakery and food shop. Al Giardino della Rocca, near Saint Francis Church, is another great place to sit outside in the garden and enjoy an apertivo with a great view of the countryside below. They also serve lunch and dinner.
Mondavio’s top sight is its fortress, Rocca Roveresca, built between 1482 and 1492. In the moat are replicas of 16th century weapons used to defend the fortress. Inside the rooms are displays showing how they might have looked in the past, from the dining room with people enjoying a feast to the torture chamber. At the top are weapon displays and good views of the countryside and small towns surrounding it.
Just below the main square is Saint Francis Church (currently being renovated in spring 2019). From the cloister you can access the Civic Museum, with a collection of paintings and objects from religious buildings. Another church to see is the Insigne Collegiata di San Pietro e Paterniano, rebuilt in the 16th century, housing several art works. The small, historic Apollo Theater, dating from the early 17th century, is still in use and is sometimes open to visitors.
Take a little time to wander along the tiny streets, stopping to look at views of the countryside. Near the castle is a park and a path that goes along the outside of the town walls for a nice stroll.
Plan Your Visit to Mondavio
Where to Stay:
We stayed at and recommend Apartment Mondavio, a spacious and comfortable palazzo right in the historic center near the castle.
Hotel la Palomba, with a good restaurant and swimming pool, sits just below the castle.
B&B MikiGio is in a residential area about 1 kilometer from the center.
Mondavio is about 30 kilometers inland from Fano, where there’s a train station and bus service to Mondavio. Buses serve other nearby towns but the best way to get to Mondavio and explore the area is by car. We recommend renting through Auto Europe.
Where to Go Near Mondavio
The beautiful walled hill town of Urbino is only 40 minutes away by car. Urbino’s stunning Ducal Palace houses the National Art Museum of le Marche, one of the best places in the world to see Renaissance art. Near Urbino, visit Urbania, the Duke of Urbino’s vacation home.
Small towns and castles dot the hillsides around Mondavio. The closest is the little town of Orciano that sits on a ridge across from Mondavio. Cartoceto has a small but charming historic center and a great deli, Gastronomia Beltrami, where they sell goat and sheep cheese produced on their farm. It turned out to be my favorite day trip this time. Medieval Corinaldo is known as the Italian capital of Halloween.
Farther inland you can see the life-size Roman Gilded Bronzes in a little museum in Pergola, then head south to the bigger town of Sassoferrato with the remains of the Roman town of Sentinum, a historic center above town near a small castle, 3 museums, and some interesting churches. Continue a little farther to visit the famous Frassasi Caves.
Fano is a nice seaside town with a historic center, seaside promenade, and beach.
For a look at top places to go in the region, see Le Marche Map and Guide.
This post may contain affiliate links to sites I believe are of benefit to travelers. There is no cost to you but the small amount of revenue helps defer the cost of bringing you this free information.