Grottammare: a historical footnote

A document about 1841

It’s known that there were some villages in the Grottammare’s area aready during the Roman age.

The first news about Grottammare date back to the XI century, after the territorial affirmation of the monks in the S.Martino’s abbey.

La Chiesa di San Martino oggi
Saint Martin’s Church today.

It’s only in 1103 that the name of Gructa, which the castle on the high hill of Grottammare will be indicated with, appears for the first time.

On July 1st, 1175, according to a tradition, while Pope Alexander III was going to Venice to join the commons which raised against the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, he had to dock on the village’s harbour because of a storm. To reenact this event, people celebrate Grottammare’s Holy Jubilee, but only when the 1st of July is a Sunday. The Holy Jubilee was last celebrated in 2012.

The Holy Jubilee in 2012

In 1258, Manfred, during his try to restore the Empire after the death of Frederick II of Sicily, sent away the monks and then gave the castle to Fermo to obtain an ally in the fight against the Pope. From now on the village is under control of Fermo and will be classified as the first castle, among the eight of first grade.

un particolare di una vecchia carta geografica (Biblioteca di Fermo)
A part of an old geographical-cart (Library of Fermo)

In 1451, a landslide caused the collapse of a part of the village (walls and houses) into the sea. During History, because of the soft geology of the ground, events like this happened multiple times.

Ciò che resta oggi della frana
The rests of the landslide of 1843

In 1479 and 1525, the assaults of the Turkish Pirates were particularly serious and dramatic, because they heavily sacked the territory and enslaved everybody. Because of this incursions, they needed to fortify the old defensive coastline walls, dated back to the XI century, more. So the Battle Tower, which is now perfectly visible from the old part of the village, was built.

Torrione della Battaglia
The Battle Tower

On December 13th, 1521, Felice Peretti who became Pope Sixtus V, on April 24th 1585, was born in Grottammare. In 1575, while he was a Cardinal, he gave one thousand ecus to his native village which was threatened by a landslide of the mountain above. Moreover, the construction of Santa Lucia’s Church began right on the place of his birth, finished by his sister Camilla when the Pope died.

During the Modern Age, Grottammare distinguished itself as a place of industries in the 19th century and resorts in the 20thcentury.

Among the indistries it’s remembered the sugar factory, the only one in the whole Pontific State and one of the few in Italy. It was founded by Count Francesco Paccaroni of Fermo in 1826. After his death it became a factory for the production of bitumen. But the village rose up because during the production pestiferous fumes were formed. The death of two workmen, caused by an accident, a fire soon after and an alleged case of cholera, convinced the judicial authorities to close the refinery. On the same place a pasta factory will open. Other industries were the ones of the cream of tartar, the spinning mill, a factory of matchsticks and one of Rivosecchi’s lemonades, two factories of Collini and Celani’s orange blossom drinks, a brothers Paglialunga’s grappa distillery, two chalk makers and the D’Angelo’s playing cards factory, …


During the 20th century it became a famous seaside resort, holiday destination for wealthy families, who had their cottages along the coast built by important architects, influenced by the new figure of Art Noveau. The most famous bath establishment was built in 1878; here parties, dances, concerts and banquets took place. After the war it was named Kursaal. It became one of the trendiest summer nightclubs in the Adriatic coast between the Fifties and the Sixties, an obligatory place to go for the main Italian singers, such as Battisti.


tradotto da Marilù Ciabattoni e letto da Rachele Polini.

Precedente [:it]Il Museo delle Mummie di Monsampolo del Tronto[:] Successivo [:it]I presepi artistici di Monsampolo del Tronto[:]

2 commenti su “Grottammare: a historical footnote

  1. Di grande bellezza storica è sicuramente la vecchia cinta muraria costruita a scopo difensivo nel passato e tutto il territorio dell’antico borgo.

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