San Ginesio is called “Balcone di Sibillini” [“Sibillini Mountain’s balcony”] because from the highest points of the old town centre it is possible to admire a breathtaking view from Monte Conéro to the Sibillini Mountains.
San Ginesio lies on a hill at an elevation of 696 m. During the Middle Ages it was one of the most important communes of the Marca of Ancona (13th -14th centuries) when it became part of the Papal State. Its Medieval structure is almost intact and its 14th and 15th century brick and stone walls are well-preserved.
The main square is dominated by a statue of Alberico Gentili, a famous jurist born in San Ginesio in 1552. The Collegiata (1098) has a very interesting façade: the lower part dates back to the Romanesque building upon which it was later built, while the upper part, with fine decorations, is the only example of Flamboyant Gothic in the Marche region. The interior, with three naves, presents works of art by Simone De Magistris (1543-1610), by Stefano Folchetti (15th-16th century), by Pomarancio (1552-1626) and by artists Perugino’s school. In the crypt there are frescoes depicting episodes from the life of Saint Blaise that were partially painted by Lorenzo Salimbeni (1406) from San Severino Marche. In the same square there is the theatre Giacomo Leopardi, dated 1873, which can accommodate 200 people.
Other important buildings are the church of San Francesco with a beautiful portal of the year 1240 and frescoes by artists of the schools of Fabriano and Rimini (the convent of San Francesco has become the Town Hall); the complex of the Santi Tommaso e Barnaba of 1365 and the church which is today an auditorium, and the convent of the Agostiniani which houses one of the oldest organs in Europe.
The Civic Museum “Scipione Gentili” has a rich collection of Etruscan and Picene findings unearthed in the nearby surroundings and many remarkable works of art including two wood panels by Stefano Folchetti and the Matrimonio mistico di Santa Caterina attributed to Ghirlandaio (late 15th century).
Alberico Gentili (San Ginesio 1552 – London 1608) is the most famous son of San Ginesio. His major work, De lure Belli (1598), represents the first systematic treatise on the law of nations and laid the foundations for the emergence of International Law. Descendant of one of the most important families of San San Ginesio, after earning his doctorate in Civil Law at the Studio of Perugia, Alberico Gentili returned to San Ginesio with a mandate to change the municipal statutes. Forced to flee for reasons of religion (that was the time of the Protestant Reformation), he took refuge at the reformed Courts of the Empire, where he was praised for the high genius and profound doctrine. In 1580 he settled in England, where from 1581 he began to teach civil law at Oxford. Six years later he was appointed Regius Professor of Civil Law, the chair established by Henry VIII at the All Souls College. The positions of Gentili in fact of religious tolerance and cultural diversity, its political pragmatism and his aversion to any form of ideological fundamentalism are still food for thought for scholars around the world. The Centro Internazionale Studi Gentiliani, founded in San Ginesio in 1981, honor the memory of Alberico Gentili and promote the study of his thought and his works, and over time become a reference point for academic research on Gentili.
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