Every time you mention Rimini, a very common image comes to the mind of an Italian: endless beaches full of people.
As a matter of fact, Rimini has 15 kilometers of beaches, 250 beach clubs, and more than 300 hotels. Its sandy coast and the shallow waters make it a perfect destination for families with kids, while its bars and nightclubs attract young party people from all over Italy.
This is what makes Rimini so famous as a beach destination in Italy. Sooner or later in life, you end up spending some time there for a holiday or just for a few days off. I have discovered Rimini quite late in life and I fell in love with it but not for the reasons I have just mentioned.
a peaceful corner in Santarcangelo di Romagna
I have no kids, I am not a party-goer anymore and I tend to get bored after a couple of hours at the beach. So what is that I love so much in the city? Well, I have tried to explain it in a post about Rimini I have written a while ago and in another one about visiting Rimini following the steps of Fellini.
Basically, what makes me love Rimini is its culture, its great food, the awesome historical center, the beautiful fishing neighborhood of San Giuliano, and the little-known-yet-enchanting inland. In fact, every time somebody tells me they are going to Rimini, I always make sure to tell them what to see in inland Romagna as well because it is definitely an area not to be missed.
one of the many houses full of plants and flowers
If you are staying in Rimini, it takes only a very short drive to get to the inland and be able to admire sceneries that have nothing to envy to the more famous Tuscan countryside. There are gentle hills, scenic drives, and lots of perched Medieval villages to enjoy.
One of the most famous places in the area is Santarcangelo di Romagna and it’s the place I picked to spend a couple of hours before leaving Romagna, this past weekend. I had been there once, a few years ago, and I wanted to see it again because I had lovely memories. Well, I am really glad we went there because the place is as beautiful as I remembered!
colorful and quiet
Santarcangelo is a lovely little town whose origins date back to Roman times. The oldest part of town is walled and perched on Mt. Giove, a hill that overlooks the area around and probably was a perfect place to build a town, back in Roman and Medieval times. Up on the hill, there is the Rocca Malatestiana, a mighty Medieval fortress, built by the Malatesta family, the lords of Rimini, like many other castles you will see in the area.
What makes Santarcangelo special are the grottoes, a network of caves of about 5-6 kilometers. They have been used to store wine and food in pre-refrigeration days but it is also said that they have been used as places of worship in Roman times. What is sure is that they were perfect to provide shelter for inhabitants during the bombings of World War II and they have been connected for this specific purpose.
La Sangiovesa, a local institution when it comes to food
If you are interested in quirky little museums, you will love the Museum of Buttons, a selection of 10,000 buttons coming from all over the world. The museum is really interesting for the collection displayed and for its very unique goal: to use buttons to tell the social, political, and cultural history of Italy and of the rest of the world.
Another interesting museum is Nel mondo di Tonino Guerra, all focused on the life and work of Tonino Guerra, a famous poet, writer, and screenwriter born in Santarcangelo. He was especially famous for its role as a screenwriter that led him to work with famous movie directors like Michelangelo Antonioni and Federico Fellini – Tonino Guerra was the screenwriter of the masterpiece Amarcord.
just another lovely spot in Santarcangelo
My favorite thing to do, though, has been walking up and down the streets looking for nice spots and admiring the many colorful and beautiful houses. I have been there early in the morning but I think it would really be nice to visit Santarcangelo at night because it is full of lovely bars and restaurants. Maybe it would be great to stop for a bite at La Sangiovesa, a local institution with a long history.
the view from the castle of Torriana
One last thing I recommend, before leaving the area, is going to Torriana, a village just 10 kilometers far from Santarcangelo and get to the castle, where you can get a 360° view of the area and see Verrucchio, San Marino, San Leo and all the castles that dot the Marecchia Valley. I am sure that this will make you fall in love with the area for good.