Fabriano is a hidden gem in le Marche region known for having been a top place for paper production going as far back as the 12th century. The highlight of a visit to Fabriano is the Paper and Watermark Museum but the town itself is worth visiting for its good historic center, including its lively main square with a fountain similar to the one in Perugia, Umbria.
What to See and Do in Fabriano
Start your visit in Piazza del Comune, the main square of the historic center. Have a look at the beautiful fountain, Fontana Sturinalto, dating from 1285 and designed by designed by Jacopo di Grondolo of Perugia. The imposing white Palazzo del Podestà dates from 1255 and is said to be the oldest building in the Marche region.
Step inside the cosmetics store called 1896, on Corso della Republica behind the Palazzo del Podestà, for a look at the Antica Farmacia Mazzolini Giuseppucci with its elaborate neo-Gothic decor, preserved inside the modern store. If you like shopping, continue along this street.
On the next square, Piazza della Cattedrale, is the 14th century cathedral, Cattedrale di San Venanzio , restored in Baroque style in the early 17th century. Inside are 14th – 15th century frescoes including the Story of the True Cross by Giovanni di Corraduccio. Near it re the cathedral’s museum and the tourist office in Piazza Papa Giovanni Paolo.
Visit the beautiful 13th century Church of San Benedetto whose interior holds Baroque art works and a handsome wood choir. Also in the San Benedetto Monastery Complex is Presepi in mostra, a permanent display of nativity scenes including an interesting reproduction of the town called Presepe del Borgo (usually only open during the Christmas holiday season) and the unusual Museum of Historical Pianos and Sound with 18 historic pianos from the 17th – 19th centuries (closed for restoration at time of writing).
Fabriano is one of the few cities where hand-made paper continues to be produced. Visit the interesting Paper and Watermark Museum, Museo della Carta e della Filigrana to explore the history of paper production and printing, find out how to make hand-made paper, and learn about watermarks.
La Pinacoteca Bruno Molajoli, the Civic Art Gallery, displays 13th -14th century frescoes and 14th – 17th century paintings. The Museo dei Mestieri Bicicletta on Via Vincenzo Gioberti, has a display of historic bicycles (closed Mondays and during lunch break).
Teatro Gentile, a historic Baroque theater, still holds performances. It’s sometimes open to visitors during the day, ask at the tourist office.
Outside town, visit Sbaffi to taste their hand-crafted sparkling wines – call ahead to make an appointment.
Plan Your Visit to Fabriano
Where to Stay: Hotel Residenza la Ceramica is a short walk from the historic center and has parking and a terrace.
Hotel Le Muse has simple rooms in a restored convent, centrally located with parking.
La Portella is a bed and breakfast in the city center, about 15 minute walk from the train station or you can use their shuttle service.
- See Fabriano’s location on our Marche map and guide
Where to Go Near Fabriano
Frassasi Caves, beautiful caverns, are only about 15 minutes away. The town of Sassoferrato, about a 20 minute drive, has a small historic center, interesting churches and museums, and a Roman site. Fonte Avellana Monastery or Pergola and the Museum of the Roman Gilded Bronzes are each about 40 minutes away.
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