The town of Fermo rests atop the summit of a hill, overlooking the Tenna River and providing a breathtaking view of the countryside. The antiquity of the town is perhaps its most striking feature; remains of cyclopean walls, ancient architectural sites, and an intricate system of thirty well-preserved Roman cisterns all contribute to the historical richness of Fermo.
Its rich ancient heritage, beautiful architecture and landscape, and exciting social lifestyle make Fermo a very attractive tourist destination, especially for those tourists who prefer to travel “off the beaten path.”
For domestic travelers or for those who live within driving distance, it is easiest and most cost effective to reach Fermo by car. International travelers have a variety of options while traveling to Fermo. Many travelers to Fermo will find that they require multiple mode of transportation to reach their destination. Most commonly, air travel is used in combination with travel by car (rental), bus, or railway.
Although Fermo does not have its own airport, there are two airports in Italy that are reasonably close by. The more accessible of the two for international travelers is located Rome; it is the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport, or in Italian, Aeroporto Leonardo da Vinci di Fiumicino. The other airport, located in Ancona, is much closer to Fermo but it is very small and not a direct option for those traveling from outside of Europe. It is possible, however, to arrive at the Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Rome, and then board a connecting flight to the Ancona Airport].
Regardless of which airport one arrives at, additional travel is necessary to reach Fermo. The most popular options are rental car and train.
This is an attractive option for those who do not wish to adhere to a strict time schedule, as is sometimes necessary with travel by train or bus. A rental car, while expensive, is often the quickest way to arrive in Fermo. A rental car can be acquired from a number of companies that operate through either airport, with prices starting at around $45 or €50 per day. From Rome, Fermo is approximately a 2.5 hour drive. Driving from Ancona takes around one hour. It is important to note that tolls do exist en route to Fermo from both locations, which must be paid using cash.
It is possible to travel by rail from Rome to Fermo, but a change in train is necessary. Most commonly, rail travelers will take the train from Rome to Ancona, and then from Ancona to Porto San Giorgio, which is a short bus ride away from Fermo. The journey by train from Rome to Fermo can be much more time consuming than other options, with an average duration of approximately 4.5 to 5.5 hours. However, train travel is very affordable compared to renting a car for the duration of your stay.
Tourists have a variety of options for getting around in Fermo.
For short distances, walking is the best way to get from place to place in Fermo. Tourists will find that the town of Fermo is a very walk-able destination. Walking around also allows tourists in Fermo to really get to experience the beautiful town and its friendly, hospitable inhabitants. Since the walled town is on a steep hill, three public lifts are available (for free) to help reach the top of the town. If a distance is too lengthy to walk, consider biking, using the town bus service, or renting a car.
For short to medium distances, biking is a great way to get around in Fermo. It is also a popular mode of transport used by the locals. If it is not possible to bring a bike with you to Fermo, there are several bike rental services available in the town. Oftentimes hotels in the area will provide this service for their guests. Most of these services allow for hourly or daily use, and they are fairy inexpensive.
Bus services are available for going lengthier distances in Fermo. Bus travel in Fermo is fairly sraightforward, inexpensive and quick. Buses are also a great way to get to and from towns close by to Fermo. Tousists should definitely take advantage bus services when they wish to explore the surrounding areas. It is important to note that most buses do not run on Sundays in the area.
Several car rental companies are located within the town of Fermo. These companies are fairly small and only have a limited number of cars available to rent on a daily basis, so if possible try to book your rental well in advance. Some hotels in the area offer a car rental service for their guests. One should also note that driving in Italy is often difficult, espcially for foreigners, due to unfamiliar traffic patterns and notoriously speedy Italian drivers.
There are many interesting things to see in the town of Fermo. First and foremost, a tourist in Fermo should simply take in all of the beautiful scenery that the town has to offer. From countryside to coastline, Fermo’s breathtaking landscape is sure to captivate any tourist. There are also several historical sites that are worthwhile to visit. Below are a few of the most popular places for tourists to visit.
- Duomo di Fermo – This magnificent 13th century cathedral, which rises in the most elevated part of the town, is a fine example of asymmetrical Romanesque-Gothic architecture. It boasts a richly decorated interior and a beautiful rose window over the main entrance. One can enjoy breathtaking views of the countryside from well-maintained gardens that surround the cathedral.
- Piazza del Popolo – This large main square is the heart of Fermo. It is surrounded by colonnaded municipality buildings and 16th century palazzi, including the Palazzo Communale which houses the towns art collection. Atop of the Palazzo Communale sits a noteoworthy statue of Pope_Sixtus_V Pope Sixtus V. The Piazza Popolo is the social center of the town and it is host to the town’s many annual festivals.
- Lido di Fermo or “beach of Fermo”– This beautiful stretch of Adriatic coastline is a definite must see while in Fermo. With its warm waves and wide, sandy beaches it is the perfect relaxation spot. Lido di Fermo can be reached by a 15-minute bus ride from the town center. There are also other beaches close by to Fermo that are worthwhile to visit. The beach of Porto San Giorgio, for example, is particularly nice to visit. This beach has earned a prestigious blue-flag beach designation, which means that it meets high standards of aesthetic beauty and cleanliness.
There are an endless number of activities to keep tourists occupied in Fermo.
- Visit the beaches – Do take the time to experience Fermo’s beaches. Lido di Fermo is a great place for tourists who like to relax, sunbathe, or play sports.
- Interact with locals – Do go out of your way to get to know the locals. The people of Fermo are known for their friendly and welcoming demeanor. Almost all people in the area speak Italian in their everyday interactions, but many do know how to speak English as well, especially younger people. Even if you do not speak Italian, making an effort to communicate with those who live in Fermo will prove to be a worthwhile experience.
- Visit the market – Do visit the open air market that takes place every Saturday. It is located in the main square of town, the Piazza del Popolo. Very fresh local produce and high quality food products are available for purchase at the market. It is also a great place for socialization.
- Attend festivals – Do attend any of the annual festivals that Fermo hosts that take place during your stay. They honor a variety of aspects of Fermo’s unique culture, from regional food and wine to music. These enjoyable events take place in the main Piazza of the town. They are perhaps the best way to truly experience the rich, refined culture of Fermo and mingle with friendly locals.
- Visit a chalet ��� Do visit one or more of the chalets located on the beach in Fermo. A chalet is comparable to a “beach club” in the United States, but in Italy the concept is much broader. Fermo is home to several of these popular beachside hang out spots. Each chalet varies in the services they offer, but most provide fresh food, refreshments, alcoholic beverages, and entertainment. Most chalets also provide beach necessities like umbrellas and beach chairs. Visiting a chalet will definitely enhance your beach going experience in Fermo.
In Italy, each region and even specific towns within the larger regions have unique culinary offerings, in which they take great pride. Fermo is no exception. Being on the coastline, “la cucina tipica” of Fermo often contains various types of seafood, such as calamari, mussels, and crab. Fermo is also known for its delicious lasagna, which comes in a variety of styles depending on available ingredients and family traditions. Perhaps the true culinary masters of Fermo are found in households, rather than in restaurants. Do not be discouraged from eating out, however. Restaurants still offer delicious food that is representative of the distinct local cuisine. It is important to note that language differences may be an issue when communicating at restaurants in Fermo. Most of the larger, well-established restaurants will have English-speaking staff members to help tourists out, but some of the smaller local eateries may not. Language barriers should not discourage you when choosing a place to eat. Anywhere you go, you will find that the staff is hospitable and eager to help you. Restaurants in Fermo may be slightly different from what most tourists are accustomed to, in that the menus normally have very few options. Because the food is so fresh and all locally grown and produced, its availability may change from day to day. Therefore, instead of extensive menu choices, a server will inform you of the daily specialties that have been created by the chef according to what is available on the given day. It is recommended to order from these specially crafted dishes. Below are a few of the restaurant options in Fermo.
- Locanda del Palio – This lovely restaurant located close to the main square, Piazza del Popolo, features traditional “Marchigiana” cuisine. The menu is in Italian, but English speaking staff members are available to assist you in ordering. This restaurant receives great reviews from foreigners and locals alike. People also note that the décor of this restaurant is wonderfully unique and authentic to Fermo.
- Ristorante Emilio - This beautiful restaurant is located close to the so-called "Piazzetta", AKA Largo Fogliani, a lovely small square on the western side of the city center. It features the typical Fermo cuisine, with reasonable prices and a good service. Mostly famous for its tripe and the great "King's Ravioli", a stuffed pasta appreciated by nerds worldwide.
- Osteria Il Galeone – This upscale restaurant is located in Torre di Palme, which is a small town very close by to Fermo. It offers many homemade meat and fish dishes that incorporate high quality local ingredients. The restaurant and its chef have received numerous recognitions and awards. Another attractive feature of this restaurant is the terrace, where one can sit and enjoy a meal with a breathtaking view of the Adriatic Sea.
- Gelateria Yogurteria Pelacani – If you have just enjoyed a meal or you are in the mood for a sweet snack, try the delicious gelato or yogurt at this beachside “gelateria.” Gelato is an Italian specialty that is similar to similar to ice cream. This particular “gelateria” is very popular among the locals of Fermo.
There are a few options for overnight accommodations while in Fermo. Most tourists will choose to stay in a hotel. There are many hotels in Fermo to choose from, ranging from fairly cheap to very pricey. Keep in mind that hotel rooms in Italy, on the whole, are much smaller than the rooms to which most tourists from the United States are accustomed. Rooms can be easily booked over the internet.
An increasingly popular option for tourists is a stay at a local farm. Agritourism, is a rapidly growing type of tourism in la Marche region of Italy, and more specifically Fermo has several options available for travelers who do not wish to stay in a traditional hotel. Local farmers offer rooms, meals, apartments and villas to tourists who seek out an authentic travel experience. This option is a good value, as well, but prices are known to rise during peak tourist seasons. Many of the restored farm houses have pools.
For more adventurous tourists, camp sites are frequent along the coastline in Fermo and the surrounding areas. These sites are usually very well maintained. Many of them have small shops and places for other outdoor recreation activities.