If we follow the steps or “Scallete”, as the locals call them, at the alley of Piaggia della Torre, which is just next to the Civic Tower, we will arrive at the second large square of Macerata’s historic center. Piazza Mazzini.
Piazza Mazzini is, in my opinion, the town’s most beautiful square.
Before turning to your left to enter the square, you can make a stop at the Levoni Salumeria to buy some local cold cuts.
If you find it, do try the famous ciauscolo, in dialect “ciausculu”, a sublime soft-cured sausage, usually served on fresh bread, characterized by its spreadability. It is obtained by processing different parts of pork, to which crushed garlic, pepper and Verdicchio wine are added. Pork liver, grated orange peel and nutmeg are often added to the traditional mixture. .
The Mazzini square is a sunny rectangular square, initially named Mercato (Market) square. As we approach it, leaving the scalette, we first contemplate the building that today forms the corner between the square and the beginning of Piaggia della Torre. It is the “Casa del Podestà” where the tax collectors used to be settled during the 14th century.
At the beginning of the fifteenth century the square assumed, approximately, the current urban connotation and later, in the midyears of the 15th century, the walls that we can still observe today were built, encircling the inhabited area and excluding the southern countryside.
The square is surrounded by numerous buildings of the Marche characteristic architectural style, among which the former church of San Nicola di Bari, the Machelli-Pesaresi house, the Filati house and the church of Santa Maria del Riposo, while at the ground floors of some of these buildings cafes, restaurants and various shops are found.
After a radical restoration of the square, completed in the end of the 18th century, the access was simplified by demolishing the fort that defended the entrance gate. Subsequently, the large “Porta Mercato”, as it known in its current form, was opened.
If we enter the square by this gate, we can see in front of us the “Casa del Fascio”, on which the “Faro Littorio” – its characteristic lantern – stands.
Mazzini square took its actual name after Giuseppe Mazzini, a Genoese propagandist and rebel of the 19th century, founder of the secret revolutionary society Young Italy and a main personality of the movement for Italian unity, known as Risorgimento.
If by know you are exhausted and you need to take a break and have something to eat, you can sit, of course, at one of the square’s restaurants and pizzerias or you can return to the center and choose one of the center’s restaurants.
Just above Piazza Mazzini at the corner of Piaggia della Torre with Lauro Rossi street there is the Pizzeria “Scallete”, which offers descent pizza pieces to take away. A little further inside the alley Laurro Rossi there is the Osteria dei Fiori, which apart from the inside dinning room, has some tables outside. If you decide to eat there and you like truffles, I suggest that you try the purée with famous red potatoes from the nearby Colfiorito, served with scorzone truffle and poached egg. It is one of the restaurant’s specialties and it is exquisite.
Restaurants Da Silvano and Il Pozzo are also worth trying. In fact, if you go to the Pozzo, and you still feel like walking, you should consider taking a walk towards the western part of the city.
So as you come out of the restaurant, walk to your right at the Via Cesare Costa and turn left at Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, another commercial street of the city historic center.
One of the most outstanding buildings of this street is the Emiciclo Torri, constructed towards the end of the 18th century to be used as the stable of the Palazzo Torri – a mansion that is considered to have been designed by the famous architect of that era Luigi Vanvitelli – to which it was attached.
At the end of Giuseppe Garibaldi street we find the western gate of the city historic center – the former “Porta Romana” or the “Cancelli” (bars), as the locals call them.
In front of us stretches the Corso Cavour, Macerata’s largest shopping street, outside the historic center, while at the end of the street the Monument to the Fallen dominates.
The monument, dedicated to the Italian war heroes, was designed by the architect Cesare Bazzani and built between around 1930. At that time it was conceived as a scenographic access to the stadium, that is situated immediately behind the monument. It is an element that completes the neoclassical style of the entire square.
“TO THE FALLEN OF ALL WARS, TO THE MARTYRS OF FREEDOM
THE PEOPLE OF MACERATA 3 JUNE MCMXXXXIV”
(to be continued)