The historical origin of Grottammare has very ancient roots. In the place where the Church of St. Martin stands today, the remains of a temple of a pagan deity, the goddess Cupra, have been found. In the church, along with the remains of the pagan shrine, walled into a pillar, is a marble plaque that dates the reconstruction of the ancient temple to the time of Emperor Hadrian (2nd century B.C.). Archaeological remains testifying to the presence of Etruscans and Umbrians (9th century B.C.), dedicated to the goddess Cupra, have been found in the same area.
Due to its geographical position located on a harbor inlet abutting impervious territory that was easily defensible, Grottammare developed greatly in the late Picenian period.
2 castles were erected on the same hill, the first known as Grocte or Grupte, and later as Cripte or Grupte a mare, located at the top of the hill, an ideal place to be able to defend against enemy attacks, has the typical features of the medieval fortress. The second known as Castle Supportica or Subportica, on the slopes of the hill, was where the population came to develop over the centuries.
Following a dangerous raid by pirates, in 1525 Grottammare was completely surrounded with fortified walls and strengthened with a keep known as “of the battle,” placed in exact correspondence with the harbor below, so that it could respond adequately to other possible enemy raids.
On December 13, 1521, in the place where the Church of Santa Lucia stands today, Felice Peretti, who went down in history as Pope Sixtus V, was born.
Pope Sixtus V is credited with the construction of the famous Vatican Library and the granite obelisk erected in St. Peter’s Square. However, his figure is mainly linked to the fight against brigandage, his strict moralization of customs, and the general beautification of Rome. He always remained attached to his native lands, intervening several times to change their political fate and promote wealth and prestige.
Over the centuries, Grottammare was chosen as the seat of a government office that embarked and disembarked at the beaches of San Benedetto, Cupra and Pedaso; it hosted Garibaldi and shortly thereafter, Victor Emmanuel II, who received here the Neapolitan commission that had come to make him the formal offer of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
Later, in the early twentieth century, Grottammare became a famous vacation spot, and numerous lovely Art Nouveau villas, including Villa Trento, were built close to the shoreline by wealthy vacationing families who had chosen this place as their permanent summer home. The splendid avenue of palm trees and oleanders that adorn the entire shoreline, punctuates the contrast of colors that from the deep blue of the waters on the horizon fades to lighter shades on the shoreline, mixes with the ivory color of an extremely thin sandy mantle, and blends with the dark green of the pine forest. Since the last three centuries, it has been celebrated as the Pearl of the Adriatic Sea.
The 5-km-long beach, surrounded by orange groves and palm trees and served by well-equipped bathing stations, is lined by a seaside bike path that, with a pleasant walk, leads all the way to Cupra Marittima.
Grottammare has been awarded the Blue Flag , the three “Blue Sails” by Legambiente and is included in the list of “The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy.”
Places of interest in Grottammare:
- Church of St. Augustine, Church of St. Lucy (built on the site where Sixtus V was born), Teatro dell’Arancio and Church of St. John the Baptist, home of the Sistine Museum.
- The Torrione della Battaglia, probably built between the 15th and 16th centuries, houses a wonderful collection of works by sculptor Pericle Fazzini, author of the famous Resurrection in Paul VI’s Vatican Hall, who was born in Grottammare and maintained a close relationship of emotion and creativity with his hometown throughout his life, and the Il Tarpato museum dedicated to Giacomo Pomili.
- Church of St. Martin, built where the temple of the great Etruscan goddess Cupra once stood.
- The oasis of Santa Maria dei Monti dates back to the beginning of the 17th century and is due to the work of Father Nicola da Monteprandone, a member of the religious order of reformed minor monks, who proposed the establishment of a religious community on the site of a small Marian shrine, erected between the 14th and 15th centuries as protection from the plague and dedicated to the Madonna ai Monti.
- The museum inside the Kursaal Hall, houses a rich collection of artwork, including drawings, movie posters, sketches, and satirical illustrations signed by well-known Italian artists such as Totò, Massimo Troisi, Dario Fo, Milo Manara, and Sergio Staino.
- Marino Avenue, the paving of this avenue is porphyry stone and white Carrara marble
Special events in Grottammare:
- Cabaret amoremio! – one of the biggest humor-related events in the national sphere.(August)
- Liszt Festival (July/August)
- Juttenizie – food stands of typical local products (August/September)
- Living Nativity Scene-(December 26/1 and January 6)
- Feast of St. Paternian – Since July 10, 1571 Grottammare has been celebrating its patron saint, St. Paternian. Local market, food stands, historical parade and fireworks.
- St. Martin’s Fair – (weekend near Nov. 11, St. Martin’s Day) It is estimated that thousands of visitors visit the fair each year, and an increasing number of operators, exhibitors and vendors register for a special area in the fair.