Pesaro is a gorgeous coastal town situated on the eastern side of Italy in the Marche region. Facing the Adriatic Sea, this city is the second most populated in the Marche region after Ancona with a current population of approximately 95,000. This city is lovingly known as the City of Bicycle due to its myriad of cycle paths, and also has a strong affinity with music and the arts. Due to its coastal location, Pesaro has a major fishing industry, but is also well-known for its furniture manufacturing.
The history of Pesaro spans back to the Roman era and was originally founded in 184 BC as a colony. During this era, it became an important trading post until the fall of the Roman Empire some 400 years later. In subsequent history, the city was ruled by the Ostrogoth’s, the Papal States and the House of Malatesta. Eventually as with other cities in The Marche, Pesaro was incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy in 1860.
As a tourist destination, Pesaro benefits from its fantastic stretch of golden beaches and is a popular location for Italians to visit during the summer months. Furthermore, the Parco Naturale del Monte San Bartolo is one of the most important in the region and is explored by thousands each year. Aside from the beach and natural landscapes, Pesaro also has some gorgeous historical buildings such as the Palazzo Ducale, and a plethora of intriguing museums such as the Morbidelli Motorbike Museum.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Pesaro:
1. Parco Naturale del Monte San Bartolo
Many people visit Pesaro and the surrounding region to explore the fantastic Monte San Bartolo natural park.
This gorgeous area of natural beauty is located to the east of Pesaro and runs adjacent to the Panoramica Adriatica highway.
San Bartolo Mountain is the main feature of this park and is one of the largest in the Mache region of Italy.
With a combination of dramatic and rugged high coastline and beautiful rural plains, this park has a myriad of footpaths and trails waiting to be explored.
Wildlife found within this region includes Deer, Lizards, Porcupines and some sublime species of butterfly.
If you love the outdoors and nature, you will fall in love with the Monte San Bartolo natural park.
Many people hire bicycles in Pesaro and cycle out to explore this magnificent region.
2. Pesaro Lido
Pesaro is blessed with a beautiful stretch of beach and its Lido is one of the premier spots in the city.
Stretching from the habour, the beach runs for several kilometres right through to the small village of Gimarra.
On the lido the sand is gorgeous and warm and the sea is inviting too – this is the perfect place for a paddle and a spot of sunbathing.
Lining the beach there is a plethora of resorts, beach bars and restaurants, some of which have their own private areas on the sand.
Whilst Pesaro does have some fantastic sites and historic buildings, the Lido is undoubtedly a great place to visit and spend a day of relaxation.
3. Pesaro harbour
Next to the Lido is the main harbour and port of Pesaro.
This harbour has been built on a small island that sits in-between two confluences of the River Cesano.
Access to the harbour is gained from the Panoramica Adriatica Street across a large bridge – from here you can walk towards the sea and admire the various fishing and sailing boats that are situated here.
As you progress there is a series of restaurants and cafes and the Pesaro Boat Club.
If you continue, you can walk onto the pier and see the boats arriving and look out towards the beautiful Adriatic Sea.
4. Castle of Gradara
You can find this delightful medieval castle in the small town of Gradara which is approximately 20 minutes by car from Pesaro.
The castle and town is perched on top of a small hill that provides fantastic views across to the Adriatic Sea.
The castle itself was constructed in the 12th century and was originally owned by the Griffo Family.
Today it stands in fantastic condition and most of the original keep remains together with the double ring of outer castle walls.
Furthermore inside the castle several of the staterooms have been restored to their original condition and feature some fantastic artwork, decoration and period furniture.
5. Morbidelli Museum
Morbidelli is a famous motorcycle manufacturer founded in Pesaro.
To honour this company, the Morbidelli Museum showcases some of their most prestigious motorbikes and memorabilia.
Located on the Via Fermo, this museum is in the southern part of Pesaro approximately 20 minutes from the Lido and harbour.
Within the halls of this spectacular establishment you can find a range of Morbidelli motorbikes dating as far back as the early 1900’s and leading right through to the 1980’s.
Each bike has been kept in a fantastic condition and has its own base and information plaque that provides details of the bikes spec and model etc.
For motorbike fans this museum will provide you with endless amounts of fun and education!
6. Museo Benelli
The Benelli museum is another fantastic museum based on the history of motorbikes in Italy and Pesaro.
This charming and insightful establishment can be found on Via Carniccia just off of the main SS16 route in the centre of the city.
Like the Morbidelli Museum, this establishment showcases the history of the Benelli motorbike manufacturer and displays a huge range of fantastic bikes in mint condition.
Each bike has its own display, and bikes from different eras have accompanying mannequins dressed according to the fashion of the time.
Furthermore there is a series of displays showing old production lines and families working on Benelli motorbikes.
Together with the Morbidelli museum, these two establishments are must see attractions in Pesaro!
7. Piazza del Popolo
The square of the people is located in the centre of the historic old town of Pesaro and features some of the cities most revered architecture.
This Piazza can be found only a short walk from the Rocca Costanza and the Lido and is a great place to explore and admire the fantastic buildings.
In the centre of the square there is a beautiful baroque fountain and water feature that contains a series of stone statues and water nymphs.
Furthermore, surrounding the square are several magnificent buildings including the Palazzo Ducale, the Comune Di Pesaro and the old Post Office.
Additionally there are several cafes and restaurants and a plethora of shops on the adjacent streets.
8. Cattedrale di San Terenzio
More commonly known as Pesaro Cathedral, this religious structure is the seat of the Archbishop of Pesaro and one of the most important churches in the city.
This church can be found to the north of the Piazza del Popolo on the Via Gioacchino Rossini.
The construction of this church was only fully complete in the 20th century and features a Neoclassical and Romanesque style with a plain but imposing front façade.
The interior contrasts greatly to the exterior and features a series of opulent white-washed columns and some beautiful frescos on the arches and basilica.
Notable frescos include the Madonna of Mercy and Our Lady with the Child.
9. Ruggeri House
The Ruggeri House is one of the most beautiful and interesting abodes in the whole of Pesaro and is renowned for its fantastic architecture and intriguing flower façade.
You can find this marvel of architecture on the Piazza della Liberta and although you cannot enter the building, its dazzling façade is something not to be missed.
Constructed in the early 1900’s, the villa is three stories and features a green façade that is laced with a beautiful flower design and ornate stucco plaster work.
Furthermore, the front balcony Is also green and features a series of iron leafs and flower railings.
10. Palazzo Ducale
Pesaro has several fine palaces and the Palazzo Ducale is one of the most important and prestigious.
You can find this beautiful palace in the Piazza del Popolo and it takes centre stage opposite the ornate stone fountain.
Originally constructed in the 13th century, the palace that stands today was actually a reconstruction that was built some hundred years later.
The front of the palace has an arched portico with a series of striped stone columns.
Furthermore, the top of the palace is crowned with a series of crenulations giving it the appearance of a defensive fortification.
Although you cannot enter the palace, it is still a great building to admire whilst walking through the Piazza del Popolo.
11. Palazzo Mosca / Musei Civici
The Civic Museum complex of Pesaro is located in the Palazzo Mosca and include the Pinacoteca and the Ceramic Museum.
The Pinacoteca includes a wide selection of artwork from a range of schools including Venetian, Etruscan and Emilian.
Furthermore, the ceramic collection within the museum is extensive and contains works from as early as the Middle Ages ad 16th century.
One of the most famous pieces within the complex is the Pala di Pesaro by the legendary Renaissance painter Giovani Bellini – this is one of his earliest works and is considered to be a piece of great influence.
This museum provides an interesting look at the local artwork and ceramics from Pesaro and surrounding regions.
12. Enjoy some seafood at the Lo Scudiero Restaurant
Pesaro has a range of high quality restaurants but the Lo Scudiero is one of the best places to enjoy a fine evening of dining and laughter.
This restaurant is situated on the Via Baldassini only a short walk from the Piazza del Popolo.
The first thing you will notice about this establishment is the unique stone interior – the dining area looks more like an ornate cellar than a restaurant and is surrounded by stone arches.
A recommended dish is the 14 fish chowder that is renowned throughout the city, but you can also sample a range of other fish, meat and pasta courses.
If you enjoy a glass of wine with your meal the restaurant has an extensive selection to choose from.
13. Enjoy breakfast at the Polvere Di Café
If you don’t have breakfast provided at your hotel, why not consider heading to the Polvere Di Café and enjoy their freshly baked selection of pastries, bread and pizza? This café is located on the Via Fratti and is only a short walk from the city centre.
The staff is friendly, the café is charming and the selection of food and drink is second to none.
You can enjoy a wide range of breakfast treats, snacks and fresh juices.
Furthermore later in the day you can enjoy some appetizers, desserts and of course some fantastic Italian Coffee.
14. Visit the coastal town of Cattolica
Cattolica is only a short drive down the coast from Pesaro and is a great place to visit for a day trip.
You can each this charming town in less than 30 minutes by car or 10 minutes via the regular train service that runs between the two destinations.
Like Pesaro, Cattolica has a gorgeous stretch of beach that is lined with a myriad of fantastic hotels and amenities.
Furthermore there is a small harbour and several open areas lining the rivers that are perfect for long walks.
Aside from the beach, the commune also has several important historical buildings including the 13th century Church of San Apollinaire, the Malatesta Tower and the Museum of the Queen.
15. Piazzale della Liberta
This square is actually a large circle and is one of the most important areas in Pesaro.
Splitting the Lido into two sections, the liberty square features a large patch of manicured lawn and a series of public benches.
The square also contains a series of trees and flower arrangements, plus the beautiful water feature and earth monument at the far end.
This is a great place to relax and take a walk whilst admiring the beautiful coastal scenery.
Furthermore, from here you have easy access to the Ruggeri house and the fantastic Pesaro Lido.