I was born and raised on the border between Emilia and Romagna.
Even if Imola is close to Bologna, people speak and eat Romagnolo.
So, as a child, I spent all my summer vacations on the Adriatic Riviera. And during spring and fall, I remember Sunday trips toward Romagna and Tuscan Romagna.
Returning to Romagna is always a pleasure. With this Itinerary for Castles and Villages of Romagna, I take you to discover a little-known beauty, the hills where, in ancient times, the Malatesta family, lords of Rimini and Romagna, built fascinating fortresses to defend their possessions.
Buon viaggio, Monica
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Castles and villages of Romagna.
I had somewhat forgotten how the city is beautiful. Rimini is where the Romanic consular road of my heart, which crosses the Emilia-Romagna region, the Via Emilia, originates. Famous as far back as Roman times, Rimini is a city rich in history ranging from the Malatesta to Federico Fellini.
I recommend you visit the small Borgo San Giuliano, now a quarter of Rimini, where fishermen used to live. Here you will find the colorful houses typical of seaside villages, like Burano! On some facades, you can read the name of the fisherman who lived there and his nickname. Usually in dialect. In Romagna, especially at one time, everyone had it.
Cross Tiberius Bridge, and in a few minutes, you will be in the center. Piazza Cavour, the old fish market, the Malatesta Temple, Piazza Malatesta, the castle that now houses the Fellini museum that the New York Times called “sumptuous, fantastic, bizarre.”
Don’t leave Rimini without eating Lella’s piada, an institution in town (at the kiosk on Via Rimembranza, you’ll find her behind the counter).
Cattolica, Gabicce Monte, Gradara.
You can start from Cattolica and go up toward Gradara. Or start from the top and go down toward the sea.
The short distances allow you to visit these places in a day.
Get a walk along Cattolica’s main street from the town to the sea.
Overlook the belvedere at Gabicce Monte to admire the entire Adriatic Riviera (to eat, I recommend: dalla Gioconda and Posillipo). If you have time, treat yourself to a swim at Vallugola (Gabicce mare) and lunch at Falco.
Visit the beautiful Rocca di Gradara and walk along the fortified walls that protect the village.
With this trip, you’re traveling along the border between Romagna and Marche, where Gabicce and Gradara are located, despite having a clear Romagna identity.
Montefiore and Mondaino.
Two typical villages of Romagna with Malatesta castle (the one in Montefiore can be visited).
At Montefiore, you will be amazed by the beauty of the imposing fortress overlooking the valley. I recommend a stop at the local Enoteca, where I spent many summer evenings.
In Mondaino, a fortified village where the ancient walls and gateway are still visible, the main street begins from the circular-shaped square that, though smaller, reminds me of Senigallia. Once in Mondaino, visit Il Mulino della Porta di Sotto (here).
Here, by chance, the ancient pits of the Malatesta family (which you can see) were discovered. The same where, since the Middle Ages, the cheeses known as fossa, a typical Romagna product, were put to rest.
Saludecio and Montegridolfo
Stop for a quick visit in the village of Saludecio and get ready for the wonder of Montegridolfo. Fortified village of Romagna, among the smallest and best preserved.
So beautiful that it thrills.
Verucchio and Zanni restaurant at Villa Verucchio.
Verucchio is home to one of the oldest Malatesta castles, where the founder of the family was born. The fortress is small and pretty and offers a belvedere. Animals can enter as well.
The village is very charming; take some time to stroll along its streets and walk the walk of the outer walls.
Then, when its time is up, head down to Villa Verucchio and stop at Zanni’s, a typical Romagna restaurant. The piadina comes instead of bread. The strozzapreti with sausage sauce and the barbecue are two highlights.