Fano is located 14 metres above sea level on the Adriatic, in the region of the Marches (Province of Pesaro and Urbino) in central Italy. Since ancient times, the city has been the "terminal" of one of Rome's best-known consular roads, the Flaminian Way. Today, Fano is at the crossroads of major national and international highways: it is crossed longitudinally by the "Adriatica" State Road 16 linking Milan and Bari, and by the A14 "Autostrada del Sole" motorway that connects Bologna to Taranto. The Flaminian Way crosses Fano and links the city to Rome, whereas the Fano-Grosseto highway "dei Due Mari" connects the Adriatic coast to the Tyrrhenian. Fano is also one of the railway stops on the Milan-Lecce route. As noted in De Bello Civili, when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon with his legions (49 BC), he occupied Pesaro, Fano and Ancona, and appointed other cohorts rule them.
This was the first time the city (Fanum) is cited in ancient texts, although no indication whatsoever was given of its origins, which are still obscure even today. The fact remains that in the territory of Fano, numerous findings from the prehistoric and early historic eras (from the Palaeolithic to the Iron Age) have been unearthed to testify to the presence of pre-Roman settlements in the plains and in the hills along the Metauro valley. It is certain that the oldest name of the city (Fanum Fortunae) referred to the Temple of Fortune (perhaps initially a small votive chapel to commemorate the famous Battle of Metauro in 207 BC, when the Roman legions routed the Carthaginian army led by Hasdrubal. It seems that the town was then built around it. This ancient city was thus named after a temple (Fanum) dedicated to the goddess of Fortune and there are still important and clear visible signs of the city's history, starting from the period in which it was a Roman colony. Remains from the Roman era include the Arch of Augustus (9 AD), the walls, statues and mosaics.The remains of the medieval town can be seen in the high walls and merloned city gates. Later buildings include the Palazzo della Ragione (thirteenth century), the Malatesta Tombs, the cathedral (twelfth century) with frescoes by Domenichino, noble buildings and lovely churches. There are works by Perugino in the Church of Santa Maria Nuova, as well as a predella attributed to Raphael. San Pietro in Valle is one of the most beautiful Baroque churches in the Marches. The city museum is located in the Corte Malatestiana, as is the picture gallery, which boasts of numerous works by Guercino (the famous "Guardian Angel"), Domenichino, Guido Reni, Mattia Preti and Michele Giambono.