Macerata, which stands on a hill, was founded by the inhabitants of Helvia Ricina who, in 408 AD, saw their city razed to the ground by the Visigoths and came to Macerata to take refuge. Quiet and peaceful, the city, which has preserved its former 16th and 17th century glory, is enveloped in the atmosphere of its surrounding countryside. Priori Palace, the Traders' Lodge, and the Clock Tower, which all date from the 16th and 17th century, can be found on Liberty Square. Not far from here you can see the Sferisterio, a strange monument built in the 19th century to host 'pallone al bracciale' games. The building is reminiscent of the Palladian style and has a capacity of 7,000. Spectators used to come for the competitions, but today the audience is made of committed opera-goers, who come here every summer for the opera season.