Hidden treasures: Rimini

rimini

Rimini, is not the kind of destination that the discerning tourist or business traveler is usually interested in. This is due neither to the lack of beautiful sights nor of business opportunities, but rather to its reputation as a European capital of wild nightlife. The big clubs and rowdy beach parties, the aggressively fun-oriented promotion and a certain modern touristic narrative gave Rimini a kind of flashy reputation that stands somewhere between Ibiza and Blackpool. And yet it is worth looking at this segment of the Riviera from a different perspective, as there is so much more to it than meets the eye. If you are interested in visiting Rimini and rediscovering the light-hearted and yet melancholic atmosphere that Federico Fellini famously portrayed in his masterpiece I Vitelloni, you might be better off visiting in autumn or winter. Another reason not to visit in summer, is that Rimini, much as the rest of Emilia Romagna, is an excellent place to do business during the rest of the year: plenty of tradeshows and conferences, as well as its strategic position and buzzing cultural life, make it the place to be. Let’s assume, therefore, that you are in town for a business event and want to make the most of your day off: where should you start?

Visit the Malatesta Temple

Malatesta Temple RiminiDuring a considerable part of the renaissance, this area was ruled by the Malatesta Family. Sigismondo Malatesta, who was lord of the city for over thirty years in the XV century, sought to build a magnificent family mausoleum and elected to do so on the spot where the Church of Santa Maria in Trivio was. There had been a church on this spot for almost two centuries when the project was undertaken, but very little remained of the original building. The only surviving relic of the medieval splendour of this site was a prized crucifix painted by Giotto in the late XIII or early XIV Century. Sigismondo entrusted his ambitious project to famed architect Leon Battista Alberti, whose style is clearly distinguishable in the strongly roman influences of the building. The interior is richly decorated and it contains a fresco by Piero della Francesca. This is by all intents and purposes a religious building, and yet it is very secular in its intent: it was meant as a temple erected to the might and tradition of the Malatesta Family, rather than a commonly understood sense of piety. This gem is a shard of crystalised history, spanning from the late middle-ages, with their byzantine influences, to the full bloom of the renaissance, with its focus on beauty and human ingenuity.

Discover the Arch of Augustus

August Arch RiminiRoman paths are among the most beautiful sights that central Italy can offer and can be found in several regions, as they developed along the consular roads that were the living arteries along which culture and trade traveled in Roman times. If consular roads and Roman settlements are common, so are arches. This is one of the best preserved arches in northern Italy and it used to mark the entrance to the city from the via Flaminia, which connected Rome to Rimini as far back as the III Century B.C. To the sides of the arch, which used to be encased in the city walls, the ruined remains of the fortified wall can still be seen. The original building, which was meant to celebrate Octavian Augustus, is thought to have been decorated with a statue of the Emperor on horseback or on a chariot. The whole structure has undergone several changes throughout the centuries and nowadays it probably looks, by and large, as it did in the late middle-ages.

The Rimini Communal Museum

Rimini MuseumIt is hard, for a city that is so strongly and universally associated with the hypermodern brands of tourism and mass entertainment, to keep a hold on its roots and its history. Rimini has found a safe place in which to exhibit and cherish its past and that is the Communial Museum, currently housed in a XVIII Century convent. This museum is a relatively recent acquisition for the City of Rimini (since 30, in museum years, is not even approaching teenagehood) and it was created with the explicit purpose of exploring and preserving Rimini’s heritage, from prehistoric to present time. The museum contains a rich and fascinating archeological section and a beautiful garden, which sports inscription from the 1st to the IV century A.C.

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Angela

She is a part-time digital nomad. She would go full-time, if only she could stay away from Berlin for long enough without pining for a Pretzel. She was born in Italy and she enjoys life as an expat, but visits home often enough and can still remember how to bake a perfect lasagna. She is passionate about writing, marketing, languages and the systematic demolition of cultural stereotypes.

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