Recently I read an article about libraries at the beach (the original piece is from the Huffington Post and you can find it here): a brilliant and innovative idea that caught my attention, especially since reading is one of my favorite hobbies.
So when I learned that Grottammare established a library on its waterfront following the example of some international cities such as Tel Aviv (Israel) or Etretat (France), I definitely wanted to visit it.
In this beautiful city in the province of Ascoli Piceno, the project of the “Beachfront Library” started as an experiment in 1999. Since 2000, the service is run by the city and is based on volunteer service. Over the years, it has become a reference and a true attraction during the summer time.
The “Beachfront Library” project also fulfills the role of information point, where you can pick up promotional materials of summer events (local, provincial and regional) and rent audio guides for free. So, if you forget your book at home, you can always enjoy an “unexpected” reading under the sun.
After spending the whole day on the beautiful shore of Grottammare, enjoying the green pinewoods and palms, the splendour of its orange grooves and the oleanders, together with its gold beaches and the clear sea, I decided to head to the ancient village of Grottammare Alta, rising on top of the Monte Castello dropping sheer into the sea. The village is unique and inimitable, a real balcony overlooking the Adriatic Sea. No coincidence Grottammare and is also known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic Sea”, a real jewel of the Palm Riviera (Riviera delle Palme delle Marche).
Grottammare degrades literally on the sea, so along our way up to the old town we could smell the scent of seasalt. The route trough narrow alleys is rich in scenic spots from which you can admire views of the clear sea and charming corners of the village.
You will fall in love in the old brick countryhouses and the medieval streets preserved to perfection. Small architectural gems offer a real journey through history: churches, palazzi, ancient theaters tell the story of the old village, which has given birth to some historical figures like Pope Sixtus V and to the sculptor Pericle Fazzini, the “sculptor of the wind”, as in Ungaretti’s inspired words, whose works can be admired in the Fazzini Centre and all around the town.
In Piazzetta Peretti you can enjoy an enchanting view from the arcade with balcony of the building hosting the his- toric Theatre of the Arancio, close to which stands the Clock Tower. Worth a visit is the prestigious Church of S. Lucia (1597) wanted by Camilla Peretti in memory of his brother Sisto V (Felice Peretti), born in Grottammare, whose architecture reveals Domenico Fontana’s imprint: particular is the square layout interior, topped with a dome borne by four pylons.
In the upper part of the built-up area lie the remains of the ancient 14th century castle. Worth a visit is the Museum Sistino as well, so rich in heirlooms and paintings linked to the figure of Sisto V, set in the Church of S. Giovanni Battista.
Do stop in the unique city of Grottammare: the Pearl of the Adriatic Sea, won’t disappoint you!