Are you a fan of holidays at the beach?
If the answer is yes, then Italy is the place for you. Being mainly surrounded by the sea, Italy offers you a wide variety of beaches and seaside places.
There are sandy or rocky beaches, wilder places or quiet areas for families, posh locations or very popular, down-to-earth beaches, expensive and luxurious resorts or hippie camping places – basically, you can choose the perfect place for you.
The great thing is that – wherever you go – you will always find great food, amazing spots for sightseeing, and lots of interesting things to do.
Let’s take Rimini, for example. I go there every year for a few days at the beach at the beginning of summer and I love it every year a little more. I just came back from my short vacation and I can’t help but tell you about it.
Rimini is a city in the north of Italy, located on the Adriatic Sea. It is a very popular seaside retreat, as it has kilometers and kilometers of sandy beaches and it is packed with hotels, bars, restaurants, and discos. But Rimini is also an art city and its Roman and Renaissance monuments make sightseeing very interesting.
A lot of people do not like Rimini because they say that the sea is not exactly nice there – but there are tons of reasons to love it, believe me.
Boats along the Porto Canale
The colorful streets of Borgo San Giuliano
A mural devoted to Giulietta Masina’s character in La Strada, a film by Federico Fellini
These are (some) of my reasons to love Rimini!
- the beach is literally endless. There’s nothing nicer than taking a long walk in the early morning, when the sun rises. Feet in the sea, the warmth of the sun on your back, and the promise of a nice breakfast at the end of the walk. There is no better way to start the day. And you can repeat it at sunset – romance at its best.
- the historical center is totally worth some sightseeing. There’s the Ponte di Tiberio (Tiberius Bridge), which dates back to the Roman times and it is still there – in all its splendor. You can walk under the Arco di Augusto (Arch of Augustus), another Roman monument, or visit Castel Sismondo, the Castle of the House of Malatesta, built in 1437, or take a look at the Tempio Malatestiano, a Renaissance church and masterpiece by Leon Battista Alberti. Rimini’s historic center is a little gem, believe me.
Music being played in Piazza Cavour, one of the main city squares
- Rimini is the birthplace of Federico Fellini, the famous film director, winner of many Oscars for its dreamy and baroque movies. If you haven’t seen his movies, I heartily recommend you to do so. And if you plan to go to Rimini, watch Amarcord before leaving – it will make your stay in Rimini even more meaningful. Amarcord is Fellini’s declaration of love to his hometown, telling the tale of Titta – a young boy who grows up among a strange group of weird people. It’s full of poetry and will make you see Rimini with different eyes.
- Borgo San Giuliano, where Amarcord is set, is an enchanting fisherman village – in the midst of the city. When you walk down its streets, you simply forget about time. Lined with colorful houses, its narrow streets are quiet and make Borgo San Giuliano a place where you get happily lost – without suffering hunger, as there are quite a few nice restaurants there.
Federico Fellini and his lovely wife, Giulietta Masina
- the surroundings are awesome. Rimini is surrounded by magnificent hills, spotted with villages and castles. Santarcangelo, just a few minutes from Rimini, is one of the most beautiful towns in Romagna. You can walk down its narrow streets and literally breathe art and history. The Republic of San Marino, whose historical center is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is just 30 minutes away, while San Leo, another art jewel with a remarkable fortress, is even closer. If you are fed up with the beach, you have plenty of things to see.
- the food is amazing. There is a wide variety of pasta dishes, like cappelletti, passatelli, strozzapreti – you name it. The seafood is great and meat dishes are equally good. But the most typical dishes are piadina, a thin and crumbly flatbread, made with flour, water, lard and salt, and cassone, a stuffed flatbread similar to piadina. The most traditional ones are filled with squacquerone, a fresh cheese you can find only in Romagna – the region where Rimini is.
Piadina with tomatoes and mozzarella
- if you are fed up with the beach and AND sightseeing – which is something I honestly can’t believe – there are still things you can do. Like visiting Italia in Miniatura, where you can have fun walking around Italy and feeling like a giant, or spending hours diving into the water at Aquafan, or admiring sea life at the Aquarium of Cattolica. You can’t be bored in Rimini, it’s literally impossible.
- you can go everywhere by bike. You simply forget you own a car – isn’t it amazing?
Walking on the beach in the early morning
Lastly, a few tips to enjoy Rimini at its best.
- go there in low season: Rimini is a very popular holiday destination and it is literally packed in the months of July and August. If you want to avoid crowded beaches and the mess all around, go there in late May/early June or mid-September. The beach will be all yours and you’ll get the chance to fully understand the meaning of the word “relax”.
- choose a quiet hotel: most of the hotels are on Viale Vespucci, the main street in the seaside area, which is always full of restaurants and bars and screaming people. Just choose to stay a bit away from it and you’ll sleep like a baby. I love Hotel Alibì, I go there every year and it never disappoints me.
- eat piadina in one of the following places: La Casina del Bosco, Dalla Lella, Bar Ilde, and Nud e Crud. They all make delicious fresh and handmade piadina, which will make your mouth water.
Lastly, never forget to have a good aperitivo!