The Malatesta Seignory
If the locals drank Chianti and spoke with an aspirate “S”, Romagna could be another CHIANTISHIRE or rather SANGIOVESESHIRE.
Because, if the other side of the Apennines is a land favoured by Anglo-Saxons in general there are certainly plenty of Italian and overseas tourists on the Adriatic coast too and, some time ago, the shrewdest amongst them began to head inland towards the hills surrounding Rimini towards those unfamiliar yet wonderful hidden corners of Romagna that have nothing to envy their more famous TUSCAN “cousins”. And as we no longer have the great film director FEDERICO FELLINI to portray and narrate these poignant scenes in a film, like BERTOLUCCI did for Tuscany, WE’LL TRY TO DO IT OURSELVES!!!
Good food, friendliness and gently rolling hills.
After all, what’s missing in Romagna? Perhaps the desire to really believe in it? Or the fear that our lush green paradise will suddenly become packed with crowds of beach lovers and disco-goers?
Let’s take the hills just behind Rimini as an example. THE MALATESTA SEIGNORY, made famous thanks also to Paolo and Francesca, boasts a wealth of traditions and popular feasts that attract minstrels, jugglers, acrobats and other artists from all over the world !!!
This is an area dotted with fortresses, castles, boroughs, narrow winding roads, woods, olive groves, country restaurants and museums.
Visitors can head up the Marecchia Valley and marvel at the riches of an area that is largely “unknown”. SANTARCANGELO is certainly the most famous town thanks also to the SANTARCANGELO dei TEATRI theatre festival, which is held in JULY and attracts thousands of theatre companies and enthusiasts from all over the world. The town has great restaurants too, such as La Sangiovesa and Il Passatore. Or what about a plate of pasta at Renzi e Zaghini or Lazaroun, La Buca or lots of other top quality places. Santarcangelo also has a well preserved, 14th century MALATESTA fortress.
A short distance away is VERUCCHIO, an extremely charming old town considered to be the “land of the Malatesta” and whose main attraction is the MUNICIPAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM housed in the Augustinian monastery.
Between Santarcangelo and Villa Verucchio stands Marcosanti Palace in POGGIO BERNI. Whereas in TORRIANA, visitors should stop at the renowned Osteria del Povero Diavolo restaurant. A popular destination in MONTEBELLO is the castle, which has its own ghost (a harmless little girl).
Another valley, the Conca Valley, is close to Riccione and begins in CORIANO. We recommend sports lovers and those who enjoy picnics to head to Marano Park.
SAN GIOVANNI IN MARIGNANO is worth a visit because of its wine and the “zirudele” poems of the 19th century poet VILLA. It also hosts a charming medieval “WITCHES’ FESTIVAL” in June. Nearby is MORCIANO, the agricultural and economic heart of the entire valley.
MONTEFIORE is a breathtaking village and a steep climb through the narrow streets leads to the Malatesta fortress that offers spectacular views. A festival to honour the moon, called “ROCCA di LUNA”, is held here in mid-July.
GEMMANO is ideal if you are not claustrophobic and love adventure as you can head to the Onferno Caves. SALUDECIO is a small, delightful village that hosts the wonderful “800 FESTIVAL” at the end of July/beginning of August (worth seeing at least once).
MONDAINO stands on the border with the Montefeltro area where the Dukes of URBINO once reigned. The main square is particularly beautiful, as is the museum. An annual medieval festival and historical commemoration called “PALIO DEL DAINO” is held here around mid-August.
Descending towards the valley, MONTESCUDO produces excellent potatoes and there is a festival dedicated to the vegetable every second weekend in August. You can also visit the Malatesta icehouse and nearby, the roofless and deconsecrated church of TRARIVI, a symbol of peace that now houses the GOTHIC LINE museum. In MONTECOLOMBO visitors can try excellent strozzapreti and tripe under the warm July sun and enjoy breathtaking views of the valley.
PS: from June to September, two bus routes take tourists to the Conca and Marecchia Valleys for a delightful panoramic tour. This bus route is called “COLLINEA“.