Orciano is near Mondavio; you can visit both in the same trip. I want to mention it because it boasts a lovely little renaissance church, Santa Maria Novella, which according to my friend Barbara is the only building based on the Divine Proportion in the Marches. (What about the courtyard of the Ducal Palace in Urbino, I wonder?) It was built in 1492 and designed by the architect Baccio Pontelli.
It was pouring with rain when I visited, mainly to have a quick word with Barbara who was presiding over the local elections. In Italy this is done unpaid by local citizens. We battled through the rain together to see this church whose harmonious and peaceful architecture led me to suspect it was based on the Golden Mean even before Barbara told me.
Barbara encouraged me to catch up with her at the Orciano festa, the Mercato Antico di San Rocco on August 17, and I was really glad I did.
I met some of her friends and they were really welcoming, not to mention the trouble Barbara took to show me and the Chelsea Fan round. This year Orciano chose a Unita dell’Italia theme, which meant that the town was full of people in Victorian costume. We particularly liked the Caffe dell’Italia organised by the ACLI, where you had to identify photographs of heroes and heroines of United Italy. I actually spotted Enrico Fermi and Fellini’s wife, Giulietta Masina, while the Chelsea Fan identified Umberto Eco.