Frontino medieval village (Pesaro-Urbino - Italy)

The small and delightful village of Frontino of only 300 inhabitants is located not far from the mountains of Monte Carpegna and the Sassi Simone and Simoncello. It rises on a narrow and long rocky spur at 520 meters of altitude in a dominant position over the valley of the Mutino stream, surrounded by hills, woods and cultivated fields, it offers an image of other times.

Historical signs

The certain history of Frontino begins in the 6th century AD when it had the name of Castrum Frontini, later the castrum turned into a real castle with lots of fortifications. In the course of its history, Frontino also underwent the domination of the papacy, then it passed under the domination of the Montefeltro, a powerful family of the area, to which it remained always linked even when it was placed under siege by the bordering Malatesta although destroyed and rebuilt several times.

Visit to Frontino village

From ancient times, the houses have occupied all the available space offered by the ridge, so there has been no building development for several years, but only renovations and / or reconstructions. To access the village there are two roads, one is the historic one and the other was obtained with an intervention on the external walls still partly present on the south side of the village. Entering from what was to be the front door of the past, we find the three possible routes to visit Frontino, to the right the road that runs along the walls towards the north, in the center the main alley of the village and to the left the road on the walls to the south offering a beautiful view of the surrounding areas.

The most interesting part is represented by the central alley, the main one. Crossing it one immediately identifies with the spirit of this place, silent, well-maintained, with few people on the street, mostly elderly. After a few steps the alley closes and joins the parish church of Saints Peter and Paul. Looking up you are caught by the high or almost ivy-covered civic tower which overlooks a small and pretty square. Continuing, we skirt houses with many plants and flowers on display until we reach the fifteenth-century Palazzo Vandini, now converted into a restaurant.

Immediately after a small garden and after some houses, with the typical stone facades, a square with a watch tower that closes the walls and the village. Recently, a modern-style fountain by the Turin artist, Franco Assetto, has been created on the square with a questionable style if we consider the context.

Parish church of the village

The parish church of Saints Peter and Paul has the entrance under a small portico that runs along the main alley of the village. I was lucky enough to meet the parish priest, a person who was very helpful and interested in enhancing the church and the village, which told me different stories and traditions of the place. In the church there is a 1610 painting by the painter Antonio Cimatori, known as Il Visaccio, belonging to the school of Federico Barocci, the most important Urbino painter after Raphael. The picture represents the Madonna with Child and the Saints Ubaldo and Francesco.

Montefiorentino Convent     nearby

Immersed in greenery and silence, this convent in pure Franciscan style is located on a suggestive hillock. Traditionally, the building dates back to its founder St. Francis (1213). As often happens, over time it has undergone several enlargement and modification interventions.

When you reach the parking lot in front you can admire the beautiful façade with double loggia. The entrance to the church is through a beautiful portal with a pointed arch. with its door, more than a hundred years old, marked by the passage of time.
The church internally has a single nave with an essential style as expected for this place. On the right, as soon as you enter, a chapel dedicated to the Counts of Oliva and dating back to 1484 with two interesting finely sculpted side sarcophagi, inlaid kneelers and an altar with a beautiful wooden altarpiece representing the Madonna with Child, by Raphael's father.

A few works on the sides show a beautiful fresco, partially recovered, depicting Sant'Antonio Abate. In the presbytery there is a beautiful dark wooden choir with simple finishes always in the Franciscan style. Beautiful the painted wooden balcony that encloses the seventeenth-century organ even if it appears a little worn by time.
The adjacent cloister, recently glazed and with two wells in the center, appears to be well preserved. Curious and interesting is a wooden door of the cloister dating back to the past centuries with a small door, large studs with hinges, locks with large keys, internal closing beams embedded in the wall and locking wedges, an original piece now rare to find.

St. Jerome Monastery    nearby

Also in the vicinity of Frontino we find this ancient monastery dedicated to St. Girolamo and dating back to 1500. To reach it follow the provincial valley road and almost at the height of the deviation for the village of Frontino, you will notice a tourist sign indicating the road. It is a narrow and winding uphill road that after a few kilometers reaches the Monastery which is located in a quiet and isolated area surrounded by woods and ancient oaks.

The complex has recently been renovated and the convent part is now a period residence, practically a high-level hotel for events, weddings, congresses, etc. The church can always be visited and is normally always open during the day. Seen from the outside the monastery is really beautiful, the restoration gave it a new youth.

The Church is no longer the object of worship. The external façade houses a small open gallery with three round arches, on its side you can see the cloister which today lacks a side but this is to give breath and harmony all together. The interior of the church is a unique naval communication and is a bit dark. Interesting is the altarpiece depicting the Madonna with Angels, the Child Jesus and the Saints Girolamo and Giovanni Battista Bambino, a work on canvas by Bernardino da Longiano (1560). On the walls there are several frescoes including a canvas with Madonna, Child and Saints surrounded by small panels that represent the scene of the evangelical life.

Old Bridge Mill and Bread Museum    nearby

The Mulino del Ponte is located on the provincial road just at the deviation that leads to the village of Frontino. The complex dates back to 1658 from certain documents even if it is thought to be more ancient and linked to the foundation of the Castle (1200) which from here was supplied with flour and bread. In this area there were many existing mills that used the water of the Mutino stream that flows into the valley many are fucked while others are still active. This, the most important was acquired and restructured by the municipal administration of Frontino who then built the adjoining bread museum.

The complex is divided into three buildings in stone masonry and a tower that was used as a sighting and defense structure. Attached to the complex a large basin collects the water of the stream at a higher and higher point. The accumulated water is an energy reserve for the mill even in dry periods. We are not faced with a mill driven by an external shovel as often imagined. Here the water of the tank is channeled inside the mill and hits a horizontal hydraulic rotor consisting of a set of spoon-shaped blades, thus providing the energy necessary for the rotation of the axis to which the grinder is connected.

The external structure can always be visited while for visiting the museum it is necessary to contact the Municipality of Frontino. At the entrance of the complex there are indications with times and telephone numbers. Calling, an employee, in my case Nicola, goes down within a few minutes to open the museum and give some explanation. Small and pleasantly interesting is the museum which consists of a few rooms. Several original components can be observed, such as the wooden hydrualic wheel, the millstone and a hand-operated circular sieve. There are also various accessories for processing grains as well as photos and explanations of how the mill works. The mill is operational only for educational purposes and is driven by a modern paddle rotor (real operation is seen) but everything else remained as it was in the 1980s when the mill stopped working.

Saint Mary of Mutino Abbey     nearby

Also in the vicinity of Frontino, although part of another municipality, there is a small village perched on the hills and born around an ancient Abbey. The town is called Monastero of Piandimeleto and can be reached from the provincial road at the bottom of the river Mutino. Pay attention to the signs that are not so obvious. From the provincial road a narrow and winding road that goes up to the village comes off.

The Abbey dates back to the 12th century and is dedicated to Saint Mary of Mutino, the Mutino being the river that flows downstream. The church, the subject of a recent renovation, is open and can be visited only during religious services, typically on Sunday morning. The external facade on which the central portal with a pointed arch and with a rectangular window at the top opens is simple and linear. On the side of the façade there is a wall in which there are hints of architraves, niches, etc. that suggest a previous different disposition or different volume compared to the one visible today.

The village that surrounds it is small and includes a single pedestrian alley that makes a circular tour of houses, balconies and small stone buildings of the past such as sheepfolds, wood sheds and ovens for baking bread. Both the village and the Abbey are well kept and well kept. The few inhabitants I met and talked to are not only Italian but also foreign. There are Germans and Australians who have found here a quiet and natural beauty that gives them great serenity. What emerges with pleasure and that everyone cares about this place, many are those who renovate their homes instead of abandoning them even if to use them only as a second summer home since here and in the surroundings there is really little or nothing.

Frontino curiosity

The International Festival of Scarecrows is held every year in Frontino, which recalls the ancient rural tradition that is variously interpreted by the taste of the participants; each one proposes his own interpretation of scarecrows according to his own imagination, with the chosen materials and also with the traditions, colors and style of his country of origin.

See the photos of International Festival of Scarecrows


Frontino considerations

A small village, simple, clean, well maintained and delightful, the atmosphere that is breathed is one of the main elements that distinguish it. Not least the contact with the few inhabitants of the village, often elderly, who have proved to be hospitable and available at the interview, an element not just in case you want to evaluate a visit to this remote and a little isolated fortified village. It should be noted that the country is included in the list of the club "The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy", an important tourist recognition.

Where is Frontino

Frontino photo and video gallery

All photos, albums and videos on this site are by Robert.

Complete photo album
of Frontino
Video from the drone
of Frontino

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Medieval villages near Frontino

Macerata Feltria
(Pesaro-Urbino IT)
Monte Corvaro
(Pesaro-Urbino IT)
Piagnano
(Pesaro-Urbino IT)
Sassocorvaro
(Pesaro-Urbino IT)

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