If you mention Rimini, here in Italy, your mind will immediately picture a clear image: endless beach, rows of colorful beach umbrellas, music blasting from radios, kids playing.
As a matter of fact, Rimini is one of the most popular Italian beach destinations, for families in particular. The city is on the Adriatic coast and, since the sea is not exactly nice there, it offers all kinds of services to compensate such a flaw.
Rimini has everything you need if you want to spend your holidays there and be entertained: restaurants, discos, beach clubs, bars, fitness areas, and all sorts of other things. Basically, there’s everything you can think of – and much more.
I have always avoided Rimini because I don’t like big crowds and messy beaches and being forced to have fun no matter what. However, I have been going there on a regular basis in the past few years since my husband visits the city every year for work.
The first time I went there was in November and since all beach opportunities were out of the question, I was forced to discover the city and I fell in love with it. The historic center is amazing and there are a lot of interesting things to discover, especially if you go there off-season.
I have written a post a few years ago with some tips for a relaxing holiday in Rimini, so today I want to focus on something really special you can do there: you can follow the steps of Federico Fellini, one of Italy’s best movie directors (THE best, maybe?).
Borgo San Giuliano
I am sure that all of you know who Fellini is, but I am going to quote Wikipedia anyway: “Known for his distinct style that blends fantasy and baroque images with earthiness, he is recognized as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time”. Some of his movies have made the history of cinema, like La Dolce Vita, 8 1/2, La strada, Le notti di Cabiria, and Amarcord.
Federico Fellini was born in Rimini in 1920 and has lived there until 1939, when he moved to Rome to attend university. His childhood and adolescence in the city have deeply influenced his fantasy and imagination. His amazing movie Amarcord, in particular, is all about this extremely influential period of his life, which you can find traces of everywhere in Rimini.
The starting point of this little walk following the steps of Fellini is the iconic Grand Hotel, a magnificent Art Nouveau style hotel with a lush garden not far from the beach. The hotel was a key element in the imagination of the director, who as a young man fantasized about beautiful women dancing in its halls and, later in life, when he returned to Rimini, always stayed at the hotel, always in the same room, number 316. He was there when he was hit by a stroke that caused his death.
Rimini Grand Hotel
A few steps from the hotel, you will see a huge old-style Ferrania photo camera, which has been placed there in the 1940s. The name of the photo camera is Fellinia and it is the outpost of the Fellini Foundation by the sea. From there, the sea is just a few meters away and you can’t avoid the thought of the Rex liner that appeared as a dream in Amarcord.
Fellinia, the big photo camera at Marina Centro
This neighborhood by the sea is called Marina Centro and 26 of its streets, between the sea and the busy hotel area of the inner center, are named after Fellini’s most famous movies and screenplays – plus one, Via Giulietta Masina, devoted to his wife, the love of his life and his muse. If you are a fan of the director, walking around these streets can be a good exercise to see how many movies by the Fellini you know.
the eastern dock at sunset
Afterwards, you can walk by the sea until you get to the molo, the dock, commonly known as palata, which is the place where Federico and his friends used to hang out both in winter and summer, and where many scenes of Amarcord are set. Even if you are not particularly interested in Fellini’s art, going there at sunset is a magical experience.
From the eastern dock, you can walk along the Porto Canale, the harbor that lies on the outlet of the River Marecchia and that is always busy with small boats and fishermen. This peaceful walk will take you to one of the nicest areas in the city, Borgo San Giuliano, a quiet neighborhood that used to be a fishermen’s village and is now a lovely area full of colorful houses painted with murals remembering Fellini and his work.
From Borgo San Giuliano, you can cross Tiberio bridge and enter the historic center, walking down Corso d’Augusto, the main pedestrian street of the neighborhood. There, you’ll immediately find a very important place for Federico Fellini: the Cinema Fulgor, the movie theater where he saw his first movie, sat on his father’s lap, and started dreaming about America, Hollywood movies and cinema. This iconic place will soon become the location of the Fellini Museum, which is a tribute that is highly deserved by such an important figure,
Just a few steps away, walking down Corso d’Augusto, you’ll come across Piazza Cavour. The square is the hub of city life, full of bars and places where people meet, and is a key location in Fellini’s imagination. As a matter of fact, a couple of important scenes of Amarcord have been set there. In the middle of the square, there’s the Fontana della Pigna (the Fountain of the Pine Cone), where a peacock perches in another iconic scene of the movie,
The historic center is full of places of interest both for fans of Fellini and for those who just like quiet provincial towns. If you are a fan of this incredible movie director, you can dive deeper into his life and other key locations in the city using the free brochure published by Rimini Tourist Office, The brochure also has a map which will help you track down all the different houses where he has lived plus other iconic locations which you can find in some of his movies too.
However, if you are not particularly interested in the director and in his life, you can just walk down the streets of the city, take a look at its old buildings, do some shopping and maybe sit at a bar and watch people go by – which is always an interesting activity!