The Fortress

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View from Piazza del Duca

A beautiful and suggestive place that can be defined as the symbol of Senigallia together with the roundabout by the sea. It is the center of many summer activities and not only and is an essential stop in the visit of the city of Senigallia.

The Fortress can be defined as an extraordinary history book: because it is the result of the overlapping of defensive structures that have taken place over the centuries, since the origins of the city, in a site of decisive strategic importance.

Known also as Rocca Roveresca, from the name of the customers, the Della Rovere, owned by the Italian State, already handed over to the Superintendence for Architectural Heritage and Landscape of the Marche, since December 2014 is part of the assets managed by the Museum Centre of the Marche. It is one of the most visited monuments in the region and hosts exhibitions, musical and artistic events.

The structure was erected where already in ancient times the Romans had built their own bulwark, probably for defensive purposes. Little remains of that ancient construction and the only visible remains emerge only on the north-west wall of the court. Towers and ramparts have been added over time in the historical period identified in the Gothic/Middle Ages: the testimonies of the fourteenth-century Rocchetta commissioned by Egidio Albornoz are still visible, behind which the Rocca di Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta (1450) was built in 1450.

The current structure of the monument is due to Giovanni della Rovere, lord of Senigallia, and son-in-law of Federico III da Montefeltro, duke of Urbino. It was Duke Federico who made available to Giovanni the best architects of the time: Luciano Laurana and Baccio Pontelli. The intervention began in 1478 with the aim of adapting the fortress to the new defensive needs. In 1503 the fortress was conquered by Cesare Borgia who in Senigallia carried out the famous massacre that was perpetrated between 31 December 1502 and 18 January 1503 by Duke Valentino (Cesare Borgia) against his rivals: Vitellozzo Vitelli, the Duke of Gravina Francesco Orsini, Paolo Orsini, and Oliverotto da Fermo. Described later by Niccolò the short work “Description of the way in which the Duke Valentino killed Vitellozzo Vitelli, Oliverotto da Fermo, Signor Pagolo and the Duke of Gravina Orsini“, (a short historical work where the events of Vitellozzo Vitelli, Oliverotto da Fermo, Paolo and Francesco Orsini are retraced, fourth Duke of Gravina, who had participated in a conspiracy against Duke Valentino, Cesare Borgia (the so-called conspiracy of the Magione, October 1502), and believing to make peace with him were captured and killed by them while they were in Senigallia and were besieging the citadel defended by Andrea Doria).

The Rocca Roveresca is unique in its kind because it was not only a fortress, but also a mansion, home to a school of artillery founded by Guidubaldo della Rovere in 1533; extinct the ducal dynasty, after the return of the city under the rule of the Church in 1631, was a papal prison and orphanage.

Those who go to Senigallia should obviously not miss it. Turning inside you can still breathe the air of a dark and mysterious past, literally catapults coming back in time.


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This content is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Categories: MarcheSenigallia

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