The present comune, lying to the left of the valley of the River Metauro is about 20 kms from Fano.
It covers an area of 20,880 sq kms rising from a minimum elevation of 51 m to a maximum of 263m.
The hilly landscape is dotted with small villages, castles and rural homes.
The San Giorgio land is rich in history. It is story dominated by the main centres of population
– the castle of Poggio situated on a tufa hill, the Castle of San Giorgio, still surrounded with
with its wall, and Spicello, a district of bare undulating hills that descend towards the sea.
The land of San Giorgio has been under cultivation since time immemorabile.
Agricultural activity can be traced from the prehistoric settlements, then by the successive
peoples of the the north marche. Among these are the Pelasgi, Siculi, Liburni, Umbri, and
the Galli Senoni. From the latter came the name “Ager Gallicus”, given by the Romans to the
land between Rimini and Senigallia
The decline of the Roman Empire allowed the intrusion of other peoples – Goths,Bizantines,
Longobardi,Franks, Bulgars. The name of the castle San Giorgio (taken from the local church)
and the name San Appolinare from the church in the Castle of Poggio shows the dedication to
eastern saints and the domination of bizantine in the high medieval period.
The first written testament dates from 777 and is a papal bull that names the castle of Poggio
(castello/castle indicates an inhabited centre enclosed by a wall). Another document from 875
mentions both Poggio and San Giorgio. The two small castles inhabited by a few poor families
who worked the land, and suffered consequences of events and decisions taken elsewhere.
These castles were governed at times directly by the Papal governor as they formed part
of the Papal states and at other times were dependencies of the nearby city of Fano who
conceded the town to a local lord.
In the 1300s the area suffered the consequences of the fight between the Guelf – supporters of
the papacy and Ghibellines – supporters of the emperor; in the 1400s they were involved in the bloody figh
t between the Malatesta (lords of Fano) and the Montefeltro (Dukes of Urbino) and the beginning of the 16th
century between the Delle Rovere and the Dedici. In this last occasion (1516-17) all the archives of
towns under the State of Urbino were burnt. No better fate was to befall other documents from other
times. At the end of the 18th century under the Republic imposed by Napoleon and in 1955 when,
due to some act of madness, the historic archive of the commune was discarded.
With the end of the Dukedom of Urbino (1631) the two castles came again under the
control of the papal governor.
In 1797, under the napoleonic administration, the castle of Poggio lost its autonomy,
being unified with the comune and the castle of San Giorgio, reducing it even more to a small,
depopulated and semi isolated place. The ancient main road that ran west of the two castles,
linking them and today almost disappeared was replaced by the provinical road to Orciana which
was built in the early years of the unified Italy (1870s) and it is towards and along this road
that the town of San Giorgio expanded.
The major artistic and historic points of interest are conserved in the many churches
in the towns and surrounding areas. Of these the majority have undergone refurbishment
in the 18th and 19th centuries and the original architectural structure is lost forever.
However some paintings, statues, wooded crucifixions have been conserved. A times it is
possible to trace the presence of a particular icon linked to a popular devotional cult.
The small town of San Giorgi developed around the castle. More recently development
has been towards and along the main road leading to Orciano. Since the Second World War
the movement of people towards the coast for economic reasons has led to a decline in
the town’s population.
The historic centre of the town is within the remaining castle walls. The Parish church is found here.
Its persent form has three naves and the church is in the neoclassical style dating from 1842.
Inside the church there is a 13th century wooded crucifixion and interesing paintings by local artists.
Nearby on the main street is the Church of the Holy Spirit. It has one nave and again is
decorated in a neoclassical style. It also has paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries
by local painters.
The landscape has been heavily modified by man and has many isloated farmhouses.
The agricultural industry is organised into smal family units with extensive rather
than intensive agriculture the norm and the emphasis is on growing cereals and pasture.
Often the holdings are separated by lines of vines. Today concrete posts are used but formerly
mulberry shrubs were used. Vineyards and small wooded areas form the remainder of the landscape.
The wooded areas are mainly oak, popular and robini.
The remains of an oak forest surounds the Convent of the Misericordia of Poggio. Of the convent only
the Church of Saint Pasquale Baylon, survives. Inside there are some heavily restored works in wood,
stone and canvas dating from the 14th to 17th century.
Nearby on a small rock outcrop is the hamlet of Castello di Poggio, with at its centre the
Churchof Saint Appollinare and Saint Antonio Abate, rebuild in 1830 with one nave in a neoclassical style.
It has some interesting painings of local painters from the 18th century.
Close to San Giorgio, almost at the end of a decline, on finds the Church of the Crucifixion.
It was rebuild around 1829 following the rediscovery of a fresco of the Crucifixion dating from
the 16th century and belonging to the former Church of Saint Mary in Castagneto. Inside the
church the original wall is conserved.