Historical information about Grottammare city

Historical information about Grottammare city 

From its origins to the 20th century

The historical origin of Grottammare has been the subject of discussions and diatribes, starting from the original location of the coastal town. There are two most reliable hypotheses on the place of origin of Grottammare; the first is the one based on the examination of the remains of the temple of a pagan deity, the goddess Cupra, which were found about a kilometer south-west of the Tesino stream, where the medieval church of San Martino now stands .

Epigraph of Hadrian

In the latter, the remains of the pagan shrine are currently preserved and together with them, walled into a pillar, there is a marble plaque attesting to the reconstruction of the ancient temple carried out by the munificentia of the emperor Hadrian in the second century AD.

Other interesting archaeological finds found in the same area confirm that in this place a league of Etruscans and Umbrians had built a chapel, dating back to the 9th century BC.

In fact, the Etruscans, after having rejected the Umbrians from their possessions north of Ancona, helped them to conquer the region (later called Picena) inhabited by the Liburnians, the Sicilians, the Pelasgians and more ancient indigenous peoples. The temple of the Goddess Cupra had to be the tangible and unanimous expression of thanks to the divinity by the Etruscans and the Umbrians for the successful landing on the coast.

This interpretation of the origin and location of the Temple of the Goddess Cupra must be further proven and this will only be possible after in-depth research in situ and after having reviewed the scarce and tampered with archaeological remains, among other things not optimally preserved also for the quality. the materials used are not excellent, such as terracotta and gravel, and above all due to the abandonment of the valley settlements for over fifteen centuries.

Dea cupra

The other hypothesis on the origin of Grottammare is linked to the presence of some ruins of an ancient pagus (village), which with the name of Pater-Janus would have been built along the ancient road that in pre-Roman times led to Fermo, on the current Colle delle Quaglie. This remote settlement is confirmed by the discovery of some ruins of embankment (opus incertum), the foundations of a church which is mentioned for the first time in 1480 when speaking of a Curte San Paterniani and, further north, the remains of a burial ground Roman (or earlier) and further south than a Christian.

As we have already mentioned, it is not easy to establish where the first inhabited nucleus of the Etruscans and Umbrians actually was in the Grottammare area; what we want to underline is that, on both interpretations proposed, the protective presence of the divine hovers strongly, the Goddess Cupra in the first case and the Pater-Janus in the second, expression of a need towards the transcendental that was born with man and that it had, especially in the past, a very important social function, that of bringing together nuclei of populations often of different origins in villages.

In the late Piceno period, Grottammare most likely developed considerably taking advantage of its favorable geographical conditions: first of all the presence of a port inlet close to an easily defensible impervious territory: and it is therefore presumable that the Greek and Eastern commercial products that from VIII century BC invaded the markets of the Italian peninsula and passed not only through Fanum, Castrum Firmanum, Truentum, but also through Grottammare.

Because the Umbrians and the Etruscans built their temple close to the Tesino valley and then instead settled further north constituting the pagus of Pater-Janus rather than on the hill where today the old encased stands which, among other things, was a a place particularly rich in water and easily fortified?

According to some local historians, the answer is all too obvious: the hill was already inhabited by ancient indigenous people who lived by hunting, exploiting the thick woods of the surrounding hills, and fishing, using the small natural harbor that will certainly have aroused so much interest in the Umbrians. and in the Etruscans, who, however, had to settle further north, thus not being able, at least initially, to use them.

It is interesting to note that Grottammare appears for the first time in the early 10th century with the name Grocte or Grupte, and later, Cripte or Grupte a mare; in previous centuries, however, the place was indicated with the name of Castello Supportica or Subportica. The question relating to the presence of two different names to indicate the same place was resolved by local historians discovering that the two names do not indicate the same place but refer to two neighboring castles that coexisted on the hill; on the contrary, based on the orographic structure of the area, we can speak of two small adjacent urban areas that have fulfilled two different functions. The first, higher and on top of the hill, is the castle of Grupte, which has the typical characteristics of the medieval fortress, being an ideal place to be able to defend against enemy attacks because to the east it is almost overhanging the sea, while it is surrounded by walls on the other sides. The second area is located further down, on the slopes of the mountain, and is the place where the population has developed over the centuries.

Most likely it was the inhabitants of Supportica who built the castle of Grupte for defensive purposes and took refuge there during the Saracen raids.

In the 10th century, to meet the needs of expansion, from the castle of Grupte we settled in the ancient site of Supportica and from that moment the town continued its existence as a thriving coastal center.

Within a couple of centuries, however, Grottammare lost its autonomy because the bishops of Fermo, juggling the medieval struggles between the Papacy and the empire, obtained from the papal legate, in 1248, the annexation of the fortress and the port of Grottammare, as compensation for having returned under the subjection of the Holy See; in 1259, King Manfredi definitively ceded the town "cum sua porto" to Fermo, thus totally destroying its political autonomy.

The particular position of the place, the remarkable fertility of the soil, the marked industriousness of the inhabitants meant that Fermo considered Grottammare as the most important of the eight first-class castles over which it had jurisdiction. For this reason he had the walls of the castle of Grupte restored, now dilapidated due to the wars and sieges sustained, and in 1299 he began the expansion of the small ancient port that had been silted up and which has now disappeared.


The history of Grottammare, after its transfer to the city of Fermo, traces that of many other Italian centers that are involved in the frequent and disastrous passage of armies, in the fratricidal war of neighboring cities and in the raids of Turkish pirates, English corsairs. , etc….

It was precisely following a dangerous incursion and temporary occupation of the town by pirates in 1525, that Grottammare was completely surrounded by walls, fortified in the gates, strengthened with a tower called "of the battle", placed next to Porta Marina and in exact correspondence with the underlying port, in order to be able to respond adequately with the new guns to other possible enemy incursions.

Tower of the Battle

On December 13, 1521, in the place where the Church of Santa Lucia stands today, Felice Peretti was born, who went down in history as Pope Sixtus V.

Of the illustrious Pope we remember the fight against banditry, his rigorous moralization of customs, the work of embellishment of Rome. On his initiative the famous Vatican Library was built. Moreover, with the work of the architect Fontana, he managed to raise the famous granite obelisk in St. Peter's Square.

Pope Sixtus V

The history of Grottammare is strongly linked to this important figure who, with his influence and that of his sister Camilla Peretti, contributed to bringing it benefits and notoriety.

From the 17th to the 20th century

Grottammare continued to enjoy a lot of prestige throughout the area thanks to its very active port which, in addition to having a defensive function, in 1643 was chosen as the seat for a government office that controlled the embarkations and landings on the beaches of San Benedetto, Cupra and Pedaso. .

During the reign of Italy, proclaimed by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1804, Grottammare was declared a "court of peace" and under it were also San Benedetto, Acquaviva and Monteprandone, which however Leo XII in 1827 assigned to the "district" of San Blessed.

From 1799 to 1817 Cupra Marittima was a fraction of Grottammare and in this period, thanks to the continental block to which Napoleon was subject, which had produced a very high increase in transport freight rates, trade through its port underwent a notable expansion.

After the Napoleonic defeat of 1815, there was a period of crisis and a notable demographic decline; it was only thanks to the installation of new factories in the second half of the 1800s that the difficult moment was overcome.

In 1848-49 Garibaldi was hosted in Grottammare and made new proselytes there; now the time was ripe, the town rose up in September 1860 with the other neighboring centers and 500 papal soldiers were taken prisoner. Plaque to Garibaldi

A few days later, the town welcomed Vittorio Emanuele II who received the Neapolitan commission that came to offer him the formal offer of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

The historic meeting took place at the splendid Palazzo Laureati and a marble plaque on the south facade of it still remembers the exceptional event today.

The popular and bourgeois conscience of the citizens of Grottammare, open to the ideas of freedom, democracy, equality and renewal, kept the king of Italy here for five days. In 1910, to commemorate this event, a monument called «of the Annexation» was erected in the current Ricciotti pine forest, which symbolizes the submission and adhesion of the Neapolitan people, freed from Bourbon domination, to the new kingdom of Italy.

From the end of the eighteenth century the interests of the town had been oriented towards the coastal area below: the expansion plan of the new embankment, approved by Pius VI, designed by the architect Pietro Augustoni, dates back to 1779. It consisted of a network of streets, six meters wide, crossing at right angles, and delimiting rectangular blocks of constant ratio.

The current Grottammare has extended over the meter given to it by Augustoni and the continuous retreat of the sea has allowed the formation of luxuriant pine forests that flank the railway.

Subsequently, at the beginning of the twentieth century, numerous and charming Art Nouveau villas were built close to the coast by rich families of vacationers who had chosen this place as their summer residence, among which we mention Villino Matricardi and Villa Trento, where once the sugar refinery stood.

Villino Matricardi

Later Grottammare was embellished with the splendid avenue of palm trees and oleanders that offers tourists, in the summer, that contrast of colors that from the intense blue of the waters on the horizon fades into lighter shades on the shoreline, mixes with the color ivory of an extremely thin sandy mantle and blends with the dark green of the pine forest, interrupted here and there by the pink and white tufts of the flowering oleanders. Il lungomare

In the second half of the twentieth century, due to the growth of the population and the search for new living spaces, Grottammare expanded towards the south, on the border with San Benedetto del Tronto, with two recently built neighborhoods. The Ischia I area is centered on the church of the Gran Madre di Dio, which is accessed via an avenue adorned with recently planted maple trees.

The church is modern in style and the interior is embellished with some wooden works, such as the statue of the Madonna and Child, the Via Crucis, which stands out for its fifteen stations instead of the traditional fourteen, and a high-relief with the theme of the family. , the work of the sculptor Francesco Santori.

The second district of recent plant and close to the administrative borders with San Benedetto del Tronto is the one aggregated around Piazza Carducci.

The square was designed as a space with a square plan, embellished with lime trees and Aleppo pines, with circular corners characterized by the presence of Canarian palms. The homogeneity of the red brick flooring is interrupted in the center by a gray granite arranged to draw a star. The buildings of the new urban agglomeration have arisen around this space.


Fonte: Comune di Grottammare

Grottammare mon amour