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MACERATA, a city of the Marches, Italy, the chief town of the province of Macerata and a bishop's see, 44 m. by rail S. of Ancona. Pop. (1901), 6, 176 (town), 22,473 (commune). Crowning a hill 919 ft. above sea-level, with a picturesque mass of buildings enclosed by walls and towers, Macerata looks out over the Adriatic. The cathedral is modern, but some of the churches and palaces are not without interest. Besides the university, agricultural school and industrial institute, Macerata has a communal library founded by Leo XII., containing a small but choice collection of early pictures, and in the municipal buildings, a collection of antiquities from Helvia Ricina. There is an enormous amphitheatre or sferisterio for pallone, a ball game which is very popular in the district. The industries comprise the'making of bricks, matches, terra-cotta and chemicals.

Macerata, as well as Recanati, was founded by the inhabitants of Ricina after the destruction of their city by Alaric in 408. During the Lombard period it was a flourishing town; but it was raised from comparative insignificance by Nicholas IV. to be the seat of the governors of the March. It was enclosed in the 13th century by a new line of walls more than 25 m. in circuit; and in the troubles of the next two hundred years it had frequent occasion to learn their value. For the most part it remained faithful to the popes, and in return it was rewarded by a multitude of privileges. Though in 1797 the inhabitants opened their gates to the French, two years afterwards, when the country people took refuge within the walls, the city was taken by storm and delivered to pillage. The bishopric of Macerata dates from the suppression of the see of Recanati (1320).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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