Pesaro, a coastal town in the Marche region of Italy, is the Italian Capital of Culture for 2024.
The coveted title was awarded last week from Italy’s Culture Minister Dario Franceschini during a ceremony at the Culture Ministry's headquarters in Rome.
The title of ‘Italian Capital of Culture’ is awarded for one year and the winning city receives €1M to carry out the project presented. The award is given to the candidate city that has presented what is considered the most promising cultural project, meant to enhance the area’s cultural heritage and development, and to improve tourist services for national and international visitors.
In the case of Pesaro, the project, “La Natura della cultura” (the nature of culture) was chosen by the jury because, it said, it enhances an area rich in history and nature, through actions that promote integration, innovation, social and economic development. By providing a mix of nature and culture, the project hopes to relaunch the Marche as a tourist destination starting from inland areas.
Pesaro was selected from a shortlist of ten finalist cities that included Ascoli Piceno, Chioggia Grosseto, Mesagne, Sestri Levante with Tigullio, Syracuse, Paestum-Alto Cilento, Viareggio and Vicenza.
The title of Capital of Italian Culture has been awarded since 2015. Previous winners include Cagliari, Lecce, Perugia, Ravenna and Siena in 2015; Mantua in 2016, Pistoia in 2017, Palermo in 2018, Parma in 2020 and 2021. Procida is the current Italian Capital of Culture, while Bergamo and Brescia have been selected for 2023.
Pesaro has been included in UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network since 2017 for its deep music tradition. As the birthplace of Gioachino Rossini, composer of The Barber of Seville and William Tell, Pesaro has greatly contributed to shaping the history of opera. His house has been turned into a multimedia museum that visitors can explore to learn about the composer’s life.
Other Pesaro highlights include: the Duomo, with its early Christian mosaics; Rocca Costanza, a massive military fortress dating from the 1400s; the Fountain of Piazza del Popolo, heart of the city; the 15th-century Ducal Palace; and the installation by Arnaldo Pomodoro, a terrestrial globe open in half with gears inside it, meant to represent the union between man and nature.
Just outside Pesaro, nature lovers can enjoy San Bartolo park, one of four nature reserves in the Marche, halfway between the coast and the hilly interior, with beautiful views of the Adriatic Sea.