Pesaro, on the Adriatic coast south of Rimini, is an upmarket seaside town with a number of fine buildings in the historic city centre. It is also an important musical location, and an ideal destination for those who enjoy sports and the natural environment. We look at why you should visit Pesaro, what you should see and do, and how to plan your visit.
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Why Visit Pesaro?
Pesaro is the second largest city in the region of Le Marche, and has an enviable position beside the Adriatic Sea with a backdrop of mountains. For many visitors the main attractions are the long sandy beaches, the smart hotels and restaurants, and the many sporting opportunities. However there is much more to Pesaro than this.
The city was founded by the Romans in 184 BCE. In the Middle Ages it was an important centre for trade and manufacturing, and was particularly known for its ceramic workshops. Today many of the historic buildings remain, and there are churches and museums for visitors to explore.
The city of Pesaro is also renowned for its cuisine, based upon fresh local seafood, vegetables and pasta. And for its natural environment: this is the “City of Bike” and a former European City of Sport.
Pesaro, City Of Music
However, the city’s main claim to fame is its music. This is the birthplace of the composer Gioacchino Rossini, a UNESCO Creative City of Music, and home to many music festivals and other events. You can visit the Casa Rossini, where the composer was born, and the theatre that was named after him.
There is lots more information about music in Pesaro in this post – Pesaro, Capital Of Culture 2024 And UNESCO City Of Music.
What To See And Do In Pesaro
Start your exploration in the historic centre, with its narrow streets reminiscent of the Middle Ages. The main square is the Piazza del Popolo (People’s Square), which is surrounded by historic buildings and busy cafés.
The 15th century Ducal Palace (Palazzo Ducale) dominates the Piazza del Popolo. It was originally built for the ruling Sforza family and is full of grand architectural features and lavish decoration. The palace houses an important art gallery with works by Italian artists including Bellini and Tintoretto, as well as other museum collections.
Duomo Di Pesaro
Pesaro has many notable religious buildings, of which one of the most important is the Duomo (cathedral). Most of what you see now dates from the 18th century, with an impressive neoclassical façade and many frescoes and artworks. However, it was built on the remains of a late Roman church, and some early Christian mosaics are visible beneath glass panels in the floor.
Sant’Agostino has a somewhat eclectic design. First built in the Romanesque style, it also features later Gothic and Baroque refurbishments. It is full of artworks and elaborate ornamentation: look out in particular for the Venetian Gothic entrance portal and the intricately carved choir stalls.
Santa Maria Delle Grazie
Santa Maria delle Grazie is a small medieval oratory that was substantially reconstructed in the 17th century. Visit for the frescoes and paintings inside the church.
Although it can only be seen from the outside, it is worth having a look at the Villino Ruggeri (or Ruggeri House). This is a flamboyant Italian Liberty style house created for the industrialist Oreste Ruggeri early in the 20th century. The intricately worked stucco designs on the exterior are inspired by plants and sea creatures.
The Musei Civici, or Civic Museums, are housed in the Palazzo Mosca, the former home of a wealthy local family. This is a treasure house of artworks, including Renaissance masterpieces and a collection of local maiolica ceramics. The courtyard features the famous Wall of Books, a large wall completely covered with books.
Museo Archeologico Oliveriano
The Museo Archeologico Oliveriano is an archaeological museum with numerous exhibits from the Etruscan and Roman eras.
The Fortress Castle of Costance of the Sforzas (Rocca Costanza), was built by Costanzo Sforza in the 15th century. It is a massive fortress, and one of the city’s most important fortifications. It was used as a prison from the mid-19th century until 1989, but is now a venue for events.
La Grande Sfera
And in the Piazzale della Libertà, near the sea front, you can see Arnaldo Pomodoro’s sculpture La Grande Sfera (Great Sphere). This is an enormous bronze sphere in the form of a half-open globe with gears inside. It is intended to represent the union between humanity and nature.
Nature And Wellbeing
Its position on the Adriatic coast means that the city of Pesaro is inevitably connected with nature and wellbeing. Even if you are not a beach lover you will want to stroll along the main promenade, alongside the Piazzale della Libertà, and enjoy the views across the water.
This is the “City of the Bicycle”, and cyclists can find a network of almost 100 km of bike paths across the city and the coastline. Just outside the city are several nature reserves, covering both coastal and mountain scenery. And there are numerous opportunities for water sports.
Round About Pesaro
If you hire a car you can access natural parks and medieval villages within easy reach of Pesaro. Art lovers will want to visit Urbino, 35 km away. This is an important city of Renaissance art and culture, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Slightly further away is the city state of San Marino.
How To Visit Pesaro
- The nearest airports are Rimini or Ancona. Pesaro is an easy day trip from Rimini, and it is on the railway line that connects Rimini, Ancona and Bologna.
- Pesaro is also an important port, and in the summer ferries run to and from Croatia.
- The town of Pesaro is small enough to explore on foot, with the main attractions close to one another, and to the train station.
- If you are planning to stay overnight have a look at the accommodation options on booking.com.