Km 38 – Altitude range m. 1450 – Start and finish: Serra S. Quirico railway station
From the Serra San Quirico railway station ascend to the village (2.5 km.), whose historical centre of medieval implantation – characterised by the “Copertelle”, that is covered pathr that run along the walls – deserves a visit. From the centre of Serra S. Quirico climb up again along the provincial road SP14. Cross the pass and after a gentle descent, at the hairpin bend (“Country House Monte Murano” signpost), there is the gravel track which will be retraced at the end of the route. Go on along the SP14 until the bend under the Avacelli rocca where a yellow signpost indicates a forest road and the church of Sant’Ansovino. Leave the comfortable asphalt road and take the dirt track that follows the course of the stream. After 500 m pass by the ruins of the church of Sant’Ansovino, then uphill to the pass where several forest roads join up, take the right to ride out onto the asphalt road coming from Avacelli. Turn left and continue until the junction with the SP15. Cross the SP15, cycle into Rocchetta hamlet, the road then becomes a pathway and continues uphill for another 2.5 km, cutting the south side of Colle Ameno, then downwards until a clearing in the woods where there is a junction of forest trails. Turn left (waymarked 107AG) until Capo la Villa.* At this stage we are on the SP15 again, turn right towards the castle of Genga, then downwards until the junction on the valley floor, leave the provincial road and follow the signposts to Cerqueto hamlet . Here, instead of following the asphalt road for Pierosara, turn left onto the gravel road for Serra S Quirico, ride uphill and onto the narrow asphalt road that continues up to Monte Murano . The route continues downhill on a gravel track and quickly gets to the junction at the hairpin bend on the SP14. That rejoins the initial part of the route, that you will have to ride backwards till the railway station.
The Templare's refuge
Traces of the Templars
A scenic mountain track with peculiar naturalistic areas like Valle Scappuccia, with the charming templar church of Sant’Ansovino and the unique medieval castle-villages of Genga and Serra San Quirico.
Each of the areas passed through by these routes are worth mentioning. To start with, the historical centre of Serra San Quirico, amongst other things, hosts the “Cartotecnica Storica delle Marche”, Marche’s historical map and chart collection exhibiting precious representations of the regional territory from the fifteenth century to1860. Here particularly worth a mention is the evidence of the presence of the Templars, mainly in the rural church of Sant’Ansovino di Avacelli. Situated high up in the Misa valley, this church is a Romanesque work of art of unquestionable architectonic and historical value, linked to a series of events and recollections from the high medieval period which include the presence of “Templar Knights”. It was founded by the Lombards, who settled there during the seventeenth century to control the area that divides the valleys of the Sentino and Misa rivers (and the road axis that from Camerino crosses through the Castellum Petrosum – modern-day Pierosara – and continues on to the Adriatic). The church was dedicated to the sanctified bishop Ansovino. The first mention of its existence goes back to 1082, but almost certainly there was already a Christian cult spot dating back to the fifteenth century. In the seventeenth century it was donated to the abbey of S. Elena on the Esino river and from this to an unknown order of knights. In the Rationes decimarum, it appears to belong to the “Magione Templare di Pian dell’Ospedale” (place-name linked to the top part of the valley where the church is located). When in 1308 the Pope Clementine V ordered the bishops of Jesi and Fano to investigate the Templar knights present in their dioceses, those of the “Magione di S. Ansvinii” were also named. The original building has kept only the right-hand wall and the façade with a round-arched portal, above which the only exterior decorative element is found: a limestone block with the Templar cross carved on it, i.e. an astylar cross with six balls. Other original elements are the internal decorations, particularly those on the apse’s capitals: praying figures, an eagle, leaves and bunches of grapes, all typical patterns of Pre-romanesque art, such as the wheel and four-footed animals as well.