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An outline of Matelica’s history

Matelica’s history

Matelica is a town of ancient origin. In the last few years, many archaeological discoveries have brought the city to the fore of the local and national media and have excited the admiration of the experts. The first evidences of the human presence in the Matelica territory date back to the Palaeolithic. In the Neolithic, sprang up the settlement of Braccano, which was uncovered in 2000 and where ruins of an ancient village and areas of flint stone working were found. Beginning from the 8 th century B.C., but above all during the 7 th century B.C., the entire territory became densely populated: the extended areas of settlements and the necropolis, which developed in correspondence of the valley of the river Esino , proves this hypothesis.

The archaeological find of several grape-pips of "Vitis Vinifera", recovered in a Picene tomb belonging to a princely family, which is an extraordinary document of the ancient origins of wine-growing in the area, belongs to the aforesaid period. During the following period the settlement converged on the central area of the territory in correspondence of the present town. Such evolutionary process changed from the beginnings of the 3 rd century B.C., when the territory was conquered by the Romans who, around the first half of the 1 st century B.C., founded the “Municipium of Matilica ”, whose name has been inherited by the present town of Matelica. The Municipium had its maximum development between the 1 st and the 2 nd century. A.D., as the several monumental ruins show.

The decline of the Roman cities, between the 3 rd and 4 th century. A.D., affected also Matelica which, however, became an Episcopal see between the 5 th and the 6 th century. Under the Lombard rule and the dukedom of Spoleto, it became a castle. It was elevated to a free city around 1150, when the citizens replaced the feudal lords of the German empire with the consuls. Between 1170 and 1180 the city was destroyed from Christian, the Archbishop of Magonza, who fought in the Marche region in order to re-establish the power of the Emperor Federico I. A new autonomy was re-established around 1210. In 1266, with the return of the Papal authority in the Marche region, Matelica passed under the rule of the Popes. Beginning from the end of the 16 th century it was under the supremacy of the family Brass family, who were vicars of the Roman Pope. In that period one of the main sources of wealth was the factories of the woollen cloths which declined after the return in 1578 under the rule of the Church.

The city from 1610 was the residence of a Governorate, but this privilege did not improve the economy. The French invasion and the fights for the national unification caused a complete decline of the woollen cloths industry and just some small tanneries remained. Only during the last century, the economy went back to being thriving. In the years after the Second World War, new factories were opened and some years after, thanks also to the presence of Enrico Mattei, other important industries have developed.