Posted by: Brad Nixon | March 2, 2016

Adriatic Beach, Ancient History: Fano, Italy

This post is a brief look at an Italian city that is worthy of much more exploration: Fano, in the Marche (MAR-kay) region. It’s located on the Adriatic coast. The easiest way for most American travelers to picture it is due east of Florence.

Map for Fano

Fano is circled in green. 1=Florence; 2=Bologna; 3=Urbino, the spectacular Renaissance city that served as our base for a week of exploring parts of Marche and Emiglio-Romagna.

Thousands of visitors throng to Fano, and hundreds of thousands to Italy’s Adriatic coastline because of the beach.

Fano Italy beach 035 Brad Nixon (640x417)

Italy’s Adriatic beaches are enormously popular, and this shot gives you only the barest glimpse of the extensive beaches and the associated hotels and resorts that await you if the beach is your thing.

For this Californian, one unfamiliar custom is the differentiation between the paid “concessions” area, that includes umbrellas and chairs and the free area, in which you’re on your own.

Fano Italy beach Brad Nixon 037 (640x465)

In California, all beaches are public land, although some resorts and private properties manage to crowd close enough to the water’s edge to create the impression that you’re on a private beach.

We weren’t there to spend time swimming or sunbathing, no matter how overwhelming the appeal. That’s obvious from how I was dressed.

Fano Italy beach Marcy Vincent 034 (640x417)

First, just a few steps away, we found lunch just before things closed for the afternoon. What to have? Seafood, of course, seated in the shade of the awning with a view of the blue, blue Adriatic stretching beyond.

Fano Italy restaurant Brad Nixon 033 (640x497)

Like most worthwhile destinations, Fano requires striking a balance between new and old, contemporary and historic. We tilted the balance of our time in Fano inland, toward the historic center of the city, heavily influenced by the Romans, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

First stop, a few hundred meters inland, was the Piazza XX Settembre.

Fano Italy Brad Nixon 046 (480x640)

(Something to know when you travel in Italy is that the 20th of September, 1890, XX Settembre, marked the unification of Italy under Emmanuele II.)

We saw Fano on a blazing July afternoon, and the fierce sun bleached some of the charm out of this lovely public square, but it was still a sight worth seeing.

In that photo, The Counselor is standing in front of the fountain of Fortune, from the 16th Century. Rising behind her is the Palazzo del Podestà, begun in 1229. The Palazzo and especially its tower, like much of Fano, has been rebuilt since being bombed during WWII.

Directly behind the Palazzo, out of view, is the spectacular Teatro della Fortuna, a lovely multi-tiered performance hall we couldn’t tour because of the time of day. Put it on your list of places to see when you’re in Fano, by all means.

Fano’s Roman past has been largely built over, and there’s nothing to see of the military encampment that included Julius Caesar among its commanders (in 49 BC). A few decades later, Caesar Augustus expanded and fortified the town. A portion of the Roman wall does exist, along with a gate, the Arco d’Augusto, from 2 AD.

Arch of Augustus Fano Italy Brad Nixon 052 (640x602)

The Arch originally had an upper level that was destroyed in 1463 during a seige by forces commanded by Pope Pius II, who waged a long conflict with the Lord of Rimini, to the north of Fano. To the right is the Church of St. Michael.

Fortunately for us, the most obvious route between the Arco and the Piazza XX Settembre passes Fano’s principal church, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, from the 12th Century.

Fano Italy Santa Maria Brad Nixon 058 (480x640)

As with all the attractions (and shops) we encountered, we were unable to tour the interior, due to the fact that we were there during the afternoon siesta, but the early Romanesque exterior is remarkable in a country in which so many earlier structures were later dressed up during the height of the Renaissance.

Fano is a large, prosperous city with a harbor, beach, shopping and several days’ worth of historic attractions. I hope this glimpse invites you to see it.

For much more local lore and photos of this portion of Italy’s Marche coastal region, investigate the blog by Simona Lidia Z., a resident of nearby Pesaro at .

For us, we paid our respects to Emperor Augustus, and headed for Urbino.

Fano Italy statue Marcy Vincent 054 (640x484)

The Arch of Augustus and other photographs from Under Western Skies are available on CLICK HERE to view the Underawesternsky image portfolio.

© Brad Nixon 2016, 2017. Some photos ©Vincent, 2017, used by kind permission.



  1. Thanks for the tour! Until you started this travel series, I was unaware that you two had traveled so extensively in Italy. You have a lot of nice photos to preserve the memory of your time there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Today I would like to share with you a beautiful, passionate post on Fano by Brad Nixon, an American blogger based in Los Angeles I made friends with in the WordPress community. Let’s enjoy a visit to Fano through a different perspective! Grazie, Brad, for writing about a lesser known but beautiful Italian town and for quoting Where Lemons Blossom. I hope to see you soon in the province of Pesaro and Urbino!


  3. It does look a lovely place. I stayed near to Cattolica, at a small marina, more than 30 years ago. It was a family holiday and we didn’t do as much sight seeing as I would have liked. I’ve tried to make up for it since. 🙂 Nice to meet you, Brad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Grazie! Thank you for visiting and commenting. I look forward to getting acquainted with your blog.

      Liked by 1 person

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