Fermo ['fermo] listen (help·info) (ancient: Firmum Picenum) is a town and comune of the Marche, Italy, in the Province of Fermo.
Fermo is on a hill, the Sabulo, elevation 319 metres (1,047 ft), on a branch from Porto San Giorgio on the Adriatic coast railway.
The oldest human remains from the area are funerary remains from the 9th-8th centuries BC, belonging to the Villanovan culture or the proto-Etruscan civilization.
The ancient Firmum Picenum was founded as a Latin colony, consisting of 6000 men, in 264 BC, after the conquest of the Picentes, as the local headquarters of the Roman power, to which it remained faithful. It was originally governed by five quaestors. It was made a colony with full rights after the battle of Philippi, the 4th Legion being settled there. It lay at the junction of roads to Pausulae, Urbs Salvia, and Asculum, connected to the coast road by a short branch road from Castellum Firmanum (Porto S. Giorgio). According to Plutarch's Parallel Lives, Cato the Elder thought highly of Firman soldiers for their faith and readiness.
With the Pentapolis, in the 8th century it passed under the authority of the Holy See was thenceforth subject to the vicissitudes of the March of Ancona. In the 10th century it became the capital of the Marchia Firmana. Under the predecessors of Honorius III (1216-27) the bishops of city became prince-bishops, first with the secular rights of counts, and later as princes of Fermo.
In 1199 it became a free city, and remained independent until 1550, when it was annexed to the Papal States.
In the contest between the Hohenstaufen and the papacy, Fermo was besieged and captured several times; in 1176 by Archbishop Christian of Mainz, in 1192 by Emperor Henry Vl, in 1208 by Marcuald, Duke of Ravenna, in 1241 by Emperor Frederick II, and in 1245 by Manfred of Sicily. After this it was governed by different lords, who ruled as more or less legitimate vassals of the Holy See, e.g. the Monteverdi, Giovanni Visconti and Francesco Sforza (banished 1446), Oliverotto Euffreducci (murdered in 1503 by Cesare Borgia), who was succeeded by his son Ludovico, killed at the battle of Montegiorgio in 1520, when Fermo became again directly subjected to the Holy See.
Fermo has been the capital city of the new province of Fermo since 2009.
The municipality borders with Altidona, Belmonte Piceno, Francavilla d'Ete, Grottazzolina, Lapedona, Magliano di Tenna, Massa Fermana, Mogliano (MC), Monte Urano, Montegiorgio, Monterubbiano, Ponzano di Fermo, Porto San Giorgio, Porto Sant'Elpidio, Rapagnano, Sant'Elpidio a Mare and Torre San Patrizio.
It counts the hamlets (frazioni) of Camera, Campiglione, Cantagallo, Casabianca, Capodarco, Cartiera di Tenna, Concerie, Contrada Boara, Ete Palazzina, Faleriense, Gabbiano, Girola, Lido di Fermo, Madonnetta d'Ete, Marina Palmense, Moie, Molini Tenna, Montesecco, Montone, Parete, Pompeiana, Ponte Ete Vivo, Sacri Cuori, Salette, Salvano, San Biagio, San Girolamo, San Lorenzo, San Marco, San Michele, Lido San Tommaso, Torre di Palme and Villa San Claudio.
Interior of the cathedral.
- The Roman theater; scant traces of an amphitheater also exist. Remains of the city wall, of rectangular blocks of hard limestone, may be seen just outside the Porta S. Francesco; whether the walling under the Casa Porti belongs to them is doubtful. The medieval embattled walls superposed on it are picturesque.
- The cisterns of Fermo are an archaeological site situated on top of the hill, at 310 metres (1,020 ft) above sea level. Fermo boasts one of the most gigantic and well-preserved example of Roman cisterns in Italy. They were built around 1st century a.C. The structure is a rectangular construction of about 30 by 70 metres (98 by 230 ft) consisting of 30 underground rooms: they provided water for the city probably through public fountains. The underground pipe network above the cisterns was connected to a canal around the external walls. From the canal, small pipes brought water into the cisterns: water inlets are still visible inside the rooms. The cisterns are made of Opus caementicium which is the waterproofing old Roman concrete. The level of the water inside the rooms was about 70 centimetres (28 in) and the total amount of water inside was about 3000 mq.
- Palazzo dei Priori, built between 1296 and 1525, the building is notable for the large metal statue of Pope Sixtus V atop the entrance portal. The palace houses the town's civic art gallery and archeologic collections. The Biblioteca Comunale contains a collection of inscriptions and antiquities.
- Fermo Cathedral: Excavations undertaken in 1934-35 under the church's pavement brought to light remains from the age of Antoninus Pius (2nd century AD) and of a Palaeo-Christian basilica dating to the 6th century AD. This had three naves divided into four bays, with a raised presbytery. Of its mosaic decorations today only those in the apse are visible, depicting two peacocks near a kantharos surmounted by the chrismon, two typical examples of art in Ravenna at the time. After the destruction of this church by Christian of Mainz in 1176 by order of Frederick Barbarossa, the church reconstructed in 1227 by Giorgio da Como. It has a Gothic facade made of Istrian stone, divided by light pillars and with a central rose window (1348), a bell tower from the same age, and a side portal. In the vestibule are several tombs, including one from 1366 by Tura da Imola, and also the modern monument to Giuseppe Colucci, a famous writer on the antiquities of Picenum. The interior reflects the late 18th century reconstruction. The building is now surrounded by a garden. The cathedral own a chasuble which reputedly belonged to Thomas Becket. Becket was killed in 1170 and the chasuble presented to Fermo Cathderal by Bishop Presbitero.
- San Francesco: church's choir dates to 1240, the rest having been restored in the 17th century.
- San Martino
- San Domenico
- San Michele Arcangelo
- San Rocco
- Chiesa della Pietà
- Santa Maria del Carmine
- San Filippo
- San Zenone
- San Agostino