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The Medieval village of Corinaldo

GO-ON-ITALY Corinaldo

Corinaldo, a charming medieval village located on top of a hill in the province of Ancona, occupies a well-deserved place in the illustrious list of the most beautiful villages in Italy. The origins of its name remain the subject of debate, with some theories suggesting a derivation from “Curia of Rinaldo” an ancient Lombard name that probably corresponds to the original inhabited nucleus of the place. Another hypothesis suggests that the name may have evolved from “curre in altum,” meaning “run up,” a possible exclamation uttered by Roman citizens when they left the ruined Roman city in the valley below. They sought refuge in the surrounding hills, where Corinaldo was eventually founded.

The village is famous for its artistic and architectural beauties, with numerous noble residences, civil and religious buildings of great historical interest. Of particular charm are the Walls of Corinaldo, among the most fascinating features of the village. These fortifications stand as some of the longest and best preserved medieval walls of the Marche and of central Italy. Within the protective embrace of these walls lies the urban structure that has kept intact its architectural charm over the centuries.

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Among the many staircases that adorn Corinaldo, the most famous is the “Pozzo della Polenta“, also known as “Piaggia.” This steep staircase takes its name from an ancient well that was the protagonist of a local legend, giving rise to the annual historical re-enactment known as “La Contessa del Pozzo della Polenta.” Legend has it that a man, while climbing the long staircase with a heavy sack of corn flour on his shoulders, stopped to rest and laid the bag on the edge of the well. Unfortunately, the bag slipped into the cavity, forcing the man to descend into the well to retrieve it. When some women in the village noticed his prolonged absence, they jokingly assumed that he was dining on polenta in the well. Hence the name “Pozzo della Polenta.”

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Among the architectural wonders of the village are the Palazzo Comunale, a splendid example of neoclassical design. The Municipal Theatre of Goldoni, the House of the fourteenth century, now home to the Pro Loco, and the House of Scuretto, consisting only of its facade, are also among the notable structures. The House of Scuretto is wrapped in a local legend that tells the story of Scuretto, also known as Gaetano, the shoemaker of Corinaldo, who had a great passion for wine. His son, who emigrated to America, regularly sent him money to build a house.
However, when his son requested a photograph of the progress, Scuretto devised a cunning scam by building only the facade and posing behind the window. Not impressed by the deception, his son interrupted the financial support, leaving the house unfinished, becoming over time a symbol of Corinaldo’s history.

In the panorama of religious architecture, Corinaldo boasts important places of interest, such as the Sanctuary of Santa Maria Goretti, the former convent of the Augustinians and the Church of Addolorata with its crypt dedicated to the remains of Santa Maria Goretti.

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