There are six historical Contrade in the city: Castello, San Martino, Campolege, Fiorenza, San Bartolomeo, Pila. Ffour Contrade called “foranee”, i.e. outside of the historic centre’s walls were added later: Torre di Palme, Capodarco, Campiglione e Molini Girola.
It is one of the Contrade located outside the city walls. Nonetheless, its existence is testified by many ancient documents, like a deed from October 996 signed by Fermo bishop Uberto, who calls the city quarter Campoliolus or a deed from 10 June 1214, where Castrum Campolioli is mentioned. It represents the guild of wool workers.
Campolege city quarter has in its coat of arms a sword and a grass snake symbolizing the Visconti family. These elements come from the theories about the origins of Contrada’s name: the sword celebrates Octavian’s Roman legions who built Augustan city’s heart, currently called Campoleggio. The second theory connected to Visconti’s snake is that the name should celebrate Giovanni Visconti d’Oleggio who governed the city from 1360 to 1366. Campolege represents potters’ and blacksmiths’ corporation.
It is the largest Contrada among the four outside the city walls. The area was probably occupied by a castle already at the beginning of the XII century, whose Council used to collaborate with the close city of Fermo on particular occasions. Capodarco’s coat of arms represents a bow; the most important corporation is the baskets and sieves makers’ one, even if also artisans and farmers used to work here.
It is one of the oldest Contrade in Fermo and it was founded in the XIII century. It originally covered the area corresponding to Girfalco’s flat area. Its coat of arms, a rampant lion with a quince branch, recalls the one of the Sforza family, who governed Fermo until 1446, bonding its presence to Girfalco Castle. This latter was destroyed during the popular uprising which followed the end of Sforza’s dominion. This city quarter represents spice sellers, innkeepers and goldsmiths.
It was born around year 1000, surrounded by the Republican and Augustan walls. It hosted at the beginning popular classes until the end of the XIV century, when famous families like the Euffreducci’s one settled here. Oliverotto Euffreducci, a descendant of the noble family, governed the city for a period. The homonymous building belongs to this family and it hosts today the High School for Classical Studies “Annibal Caro”, one of the oldest in Italy. This Contrada represents the hat-makers’ corporation.
Contrada Molini Girola
This area is known for the presence of mills, as recalled by its coat of arms; it represents the millers’ corporation. The large irrigation works of the area were possible thanks to Tenna river; even the Picentes, the first population who settled in Fermo area, lived along its shores. Other commercial activities were made by the hard-working inhabitants of Molini Girola, like weaving, spinning and leathers’ tanning.
It is one of the oldest Contrade: the most important families of Fermo used to live in its area and that is the reason why Pila was the heart of the most famous political events during the XV century. Tomaso Pacaroni belonged to this Contrada; he was a fundamental character in the ending of the fights between the Sforza family and the Papacy, who wanted to take back Marche’s territories stolen by the Sforzas. It is traditionally the Contrada of tailors and bakers.
Contrada San Bartolomeo
It is a mostly commercial Contrada that hosted also dyers’, muleteers’, tailors’, judges’ and notaries’ corporations. Many foreign communities lived here during the XIII century, like the Albanians, the Jews and Bergamo’s inhabitants. A group of wealthy merchants lived also here: they run their activities and their homes were located right above their shops: this is the reason why the street that crosses the Contrada is called “via delle Botteghe”, “Shops street”.
Contrada San Martino
It owes its name to the Church of San Martino’s Parish; it doesn’t exist anymore as it was destroyed to broaden Palazzo dei Priori. This contrada represents vintners and muleteers and it was the social and political centre of the town. It hosted in its area Palazzo del Podestà (the Podestà was the chief magistrate) and the former Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo. The southern part of the city quarter hosted important business activities.
Contrada Torre Di Palme
It is the furthest Contrada from the centre of Fermo but it boasts the most ancient roots in the Middle Ages It was founded as a castle and fortification to protect the historical city of Picenum called Palma; the ancient name of this castle was Castrum Turris Palmarum. In order to celebrate its maritime origins, the procession of Torre di Palme brings a Boat up to Fermo Cathedral during the historical parade.