Senigallia, Province of Ancona, Marche

The second most populous centre in the province, Senigallia is situated on the Adriatic coast at the mouth of the Misa River. It is among the most renowned Adriatic seaside resorts thanks to its "velvet beach" which for over a decade now has been awarded a Blue Flag each year.


  • Altitude: 3 mt a.s.l.
  • Population: about 43,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 60019
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 071
  • Patron Saint: St. Paolino Bigazzini, celebrated on 4 May
  • Frazioni & Localities: Bettolelle, Borgo Catena, Borgo Passera, Brugnetto, Cannella, Castellaro, Cesano, Gabriella, Mandriola, Marzocca, Montignano, Roncitelli, Sant'Angelo, San Silvestro, Scapezzano, Vallone, Vasari.
  • GPS Coordinates: 43°43'N, 13°13'E
  • the Comune official website www.comune.senigallia.an.it

History - Antiquity and the Middle Ages

The town was founded in the 4th century BC by the Gauls of the Senones tribe, and became the Gauls' capital in Italy. In 295 BC it was conquered by the Romans who named it Sena Gallica. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, it came under the control of the Byzantine Empire and was one of the Five Towns of the Pentapolis - the others being Ancona, Fanum Fortunae (Fano), Pisaurum (Pesaro) and Ariminum (Rimini) under direct control of Ravenna, the Italian capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. During the 13th century, at the time of the feuds between Guelphs and Ghibellines, the town was destroyed by Manfred's army. In the following decades the nearby saline became an unhealthy marsh, and the population decreased greatly.

A revival started under Pope Gregory XI, who gave Cardinal Egidio Albornoz the task of restoring the authority of the papacy also in the Marche region; the cardinal started works on the marsh and the fortress. A further improvement took place in the early 15th century under Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, who reconstructed the city walls including in their perimeter the Albornoz fortress; he also promised tax exemptions to whoever would settle in the new city, welcomed a Jewish community and established the Maddalena Fair, a free marketplace where no customs duties were to be paid which attracted traders from all over the Mediterranean.

Contrasts with Pope Sistus IV, however, brought about the fall of Sigismondo, and in 1474 the Pope gave the Dukedom of Senigallia to his own nephew, Giovanni della Rovere, who would later marry the daughter of the Montefeltro Duke; their son Francesco Maria della Rovere was adopted by Guidobaldo, the last member of the Montefeltro Dukes, joining the two families.

The Renaissance

In the 16th century the town came under the control of Cesare Borgia, nicknamed Duke Valentinois, a natural son of Pope Alexander VI, and the model for Machiavelli ideal Prince. Valentinois invited his enemies to peace talks in the castle of Senigallia, and during the dinner he had them arrested and killed. After the Pope's death, the new Pope Julius II returned the rule of the town back to his own Della Rovere relations who ruled on Urbino and Senigallia until 1626, when the last descendant died, and the Dukedom returned to the Papacy.

From the 18th to the 20th century

In the 18th century the Maddalena Fair had grown to such extent that it became necessary to open the city walls along the river Misa to allow the town to expand. During the 19th century the trading importance of the Mediterranean gave way to the new Atlantic routes, and the Fair became less and less important, until its abolition in 1869. But the decadence soon gave way to a new, ever-growing tourist development, and in Senigallia the first tourist promotion agency in Italy was established, whose symbols became the Stabilimento Bagni (present-day Hotel Marche), the Rotonda a Mare, a platform on the sea supported by piles, and the La Fenice Theatre. On 30 October 1930 Senigallia was hit by a devastating earthquake, and a large part of the town needed to be reconstructed.

What to see

  • The Bedini church, which preserves an image of the Madonna della Misericordia, given to the church by Cardinal Gaetano Bedini and blessed by Pope Pius IX; in this church, on the 3rd Sunday in October, a plenary indulgence is celebrated.
  • The fortress, an example of Renaissance military architecture, with a square plan and 4 imposing round bastions, built on previous Roman and medieval fortresses.

Events and Festivities

  • every year in August, the Summer Jamboree, international festival of the music and culture of the mythical 1950's.

Where to stay

ItalyHeritage on Facebook
Family History
Genealogy ResearchNeed help in your research?
Contact us with details and priorities.
Provinces of Marche
Marche region
Surnames in the Provinces of Marche