"Fabriano - oh holy paper and watermark :-))" Fabriano by Trekki

Fabriano Travel Guide: 28 reviews and 108 photos

- where the watermark was invented in 1297

Imagine you have started your long needed holidays in Italy. Imagine in the early part of these days you are in a rather unknown little city in middle Italy and it rains cats and dogs. But you feel happy, you like it there, you even plan to stay one night longer than intended. If you have this picture – then you roughly get the idea why Fabriano was a highlight even despite the bad weather. Ah, such a nice town this is, and much more reasonable than the places I’ve been so far.

But – it is not only a nice and friendly village in the south western part of Le Marche but also the centre of oh holy paper. And that’s how I found it while I prepared my “Umbria” holidays. I was looking up the surrounding area of the villages I planned to visit in Umbria and came across the name “Le Grotte di Frasassi”. I had never heard of these but what the websites described sounded perfect, as I like caves and this one was described as the biggest and most beautiful of whole Europe. Then I checked where about I might stay for visiting the caves and found a town called Fabriano close by. I checked on google and… couldn’t believe my eyes (and that I’d never heard of it before): Fabriano is the place on this planet where the watermark was invented – as early as 1293!! And it is the centre of paper manufacturing in Italy, and even more specific, where the paper for Italian Euro banknotes is made. I can write that without revealing secrets, as it is also mentioned on the video, the paper museum sells. As I have a professional interest in these things, it was most logical that I would also visit the paper museum. Oh how less did I know of how fascinating it would be before I set out to visit Fabriano.

Ah yes, the caves – these were the second highlight of my stay here. It is a bit of a drive to the north, but if you approach the caves from the west (Genga), then you will additionally be awarded with a drive through a marvellous gorge, carved by the Esino river, the one who was responsible for carving the caves.

I was a bit amazed that nothing has been written about Fabriano and the surroundings so far, at least not for the destination Fabriano itself (maybe it is hidden in Italian or Marche pages). So I try to do my best, although I have to say that not everything was open when I was there in April 2008. Too much has been damaged during the fatal earthquake of 1997 (the one that did huge damage to the Basilica di San Francesco in Assisi). But this will change, it changes constantly. You should contact the very friendly and very competent tourist office in Fabriano for actual information about open churches and museums.

All pictures have been taken by me, if not marked otherwise.
Please do not use any of them without my permission.
The same applies for my writings here.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Fascinating town, not overrun by tourism and the most fascinating paper museum I can think of :-)
  • Cons:Nothing...
  • In a nutshell:Go and see yourself :-)
  • Last visit to Fabriano: May 2010
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (20)

Comments (20)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Apr 3, 2012 at 3:53 AM

    Nice page! What wonderful Caves, and how interesting reading about the Watermark. I think my favorite would be the red house and its wonderful sculptures, you would think it would nearly be a tourist attraction.

  • leics's Profile Photo
    Jan 27, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    I read this page and I liked it. :-) I fully intend to make explorations one day... Jx

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    Mar 3, 2010 at 4:16 AM

    Another great page dear Ingrid- so interesting. We have caves similar here called Jenolan- Loved the watermark tip- Frescos just beautiful-love the idea of female figure moving the wheel of fortune...hugs

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Sep 21, 2009 at 9:15 AM

    How fantastic are the piazza, the beautiful frescoes, cathedrals, and the caves are fascinating. The mysterious “red house” sounds so interesting. Nice page!

  • mircaskirca's Profile Photo
    Aug 15, 2009 at 9:29 AM

    Interesting to learn about paper making and the history of watermarks!! Excellent presentation, Ingrid :)) I was amazed by Loggiato and loved the frescos! Oh, and the cave, it looks magic!! I would have mussels for a starter and mussels as main dish :))

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Mar 22, 2009 at 3:23 AM

    LeMarche region is so wonderful, as your spectacular presentation indicates. Your travel style certainly is similar to mine...you take your time, inquire when needed, & truly appreciate history, culture, art, & nature. Superior!!

  • evaanna's Profile Photo
    Mar 19, 2009 at 5:11 PM

    Beautiful and yet not touristy - what a discovery it must have been! Loved the all-present frescoes and other works of art, including the paper ones. Pity you couldn't take pictures inside the caves. How clever of your camera to take at least one! :))

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Mar 6, 2009 at 3:01 AM

    Ingrid, an excellent little page on your OTBP vacation destination! Fascinating information on the history of watermarks and I always love a good cave expedition such as your Grotte di Frasassi! Great to see the town recovering from the 1997 earthquake.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Feb 10, 2009 at 8:57 AM

    Hello, Ingrid! Thanks for your interesting stories about that splendid place...!

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Feb 6, 2009 at 12:16 PM

    Great page Ingrid, well worth the (long!) wait :-) The museum sounds fascinating and I love the art watermark - amazing detail. The art gallery sounds lovely too and the caves look so impressive. It's surprising this town isn't better known

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