Municipality in the province of Ancona, located on Mount Prodo, between the valleys of the Potenza and Musone, characterized by the presence of vast olive groves, Loreto is partially surrounded by fortified walls of the XVI century, designed by Antonio da Sangallo and reinforced with four bastions in the XVII century . It is a famous pilgrimage destination with a large monumental complex of great artistic and architectural value, built in the XV century,. The main town center was built around the Church of Santa Maria, built according to local traditions, to preserve the house of the Virgin Mary, once located in Nazareth and transported by the angels: in fact, the old town features only one single main road that leads to the Shrine. Extensive historical studies attest the undoubted origin of the house from the Holy Land.
The first documented report of the existence of a building on Mount Prodo, object of devotion dates back to 1315, around which a first group of houses was built. In 1360 the territory the town belonged to the town of Recanati, and over the centuries attracted an increasingly large number of pilgrims. In the second half of the XV century, Pope Paul II committed a new and large basilica, on which worked the best architects of the time. In the XVI century, Loreto was awarded the title of city and finally escaped from the control of Recanati. In 1520 the center was surrounded by mighty walls and the second half of the century, it became one of the major religious destinations of Europe.
- the Basilica, whose construction began in the XV century, at first in Gothic style and completed in Renaissance style. This variety of styles depended on the long period of time needed for to complete the entire structure and the consequent and inevitable spread of different stylistic guidelines. The façade in Istrian stone, divided into two floors by double columns, is extremely rich, with three portals, masterpiece of the Art School of Recanati. In front of the building lies a vast square, designed by Bramante. The dome, beneath which lies the Holy House, was built by Giuliano da Sangallo and several other architects who collaborated on the design. The structure is characterized by a Latin cross plan with an apse in cotto and preserves frescoes by Melozzo from Forlì, of Roncalli and Luca Signorelli, a series of bas-reliefs, statues and busts. The Bell Tower, built by Vanvitelli in the XVIII century, features a very original structure;
- the Apostolic Palace, adjacent to the basilica, is an arched structure with several porches. It was designed by Bramante, Antonio da Sangallo, Boccalini and Vanvitelli. It results incomplete as of the original plan, that featured a building with three sides, only two were completed. The first floor houses an Art Gallery Museum, which contains valuable paintings, altarpieces, frescoes, Flemish tapestries of the XVII century and paintings by Lorenzo Lotto;
- the city walls, built by Leo X and designed by the architect da Sangallo il Giovane;
- the XVII century fountain of Virgin Mary, located in the main square of the Basilica.