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Fiastra Abbey Nature Reserve covers 4,448 acres in the towns of Tolentino and Urbisaglia, in the hilly area of the province of Macerata from 130 to 306 m.a.s.l., between the rivers Chienti and Fiastra, its main tributary.

Both Tolentino and Urbisaglia have a very ancient and important history, and a magnificent cultural and architectural heritage.

Medieval Urbisaglia was built in the NW area of the abandoned Roman town. Roman ruins are actually included both in the area of the walled town and in the Fortress. The Fortress, called “Rocca” in Italian, was built at the beginning of the sixteenth century on the site of a pre-existing medieval stronghold, of which there remain the base of the Keep and some ruins at the centre of the inner ward.

The Archaeological Park of Urbs Salvia is the most important and amazing archaeological site in Region Marche. A comfortable route leads from the Museo Archeologico Statale, in the historic centre of Urbisaglia, through the sightseeing of the main monuments of the ancient Roman town: the Theatre, which is one of the largest Roman theatres in Italy, the Temple and its cryptoporticus (i.e. an underground arcade with fragments of frescoes), the Walls and the Amphitheatre.

Urbs Salvia was a colonia founded during the 2nd century BCE. Its importance reached the top with Augustus and Tiberius, when it was completely rebuilt.

It was utterly destroyed by Alaric in 408-10 AD, and both Procopius (De Bello gothico II. 16, 17) and Dante Alighieri (Paradise, XVI. 73 - 78) talk about its desolation.

Urbisaglia web site

Tolentino is the town of St. Nicholas, the preacher and thaumaturge Agostinian monk who died in 1305. The vast Basilica, one of the most important sanctuaries in central Italy, is dedicated to him. The Gothic Chapel of St. Nicholas, entirely decorated with frescoes dating back to the beginning of the 14th century, is one of the most important fresco cycle in Region Marche.

Between Tolentino and Fiastra Abbey stands Rancia Castle. Before being enlarged and transformed by Maestro Andrea from Como (who was commissioned by Rodolfo II from Varano, Lord of Camerino), the castle was an important grancia (farmstead) belonging to the Cistercian monks of Fiastra Abbey. Nowadays it is a great square building, endowed with a high keep (about 25 meters) and with large rooms that used to lodge horses and armigers.

Tolentino web site