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The gentle charm of the Valmarecchia

‘Sunny Romagna, sweet country / which was ruled by Guidi and Malatesta / which was taken also by il Passator Cortese / king of the road, king of the forest.’ (Romagna a Severino, Myricae).
The great poet Giovanni Pascoli pays homage to his beloved birthplace with these verses, summarising it in a poem which is both moving and joyous in character.
Rimini is the ideal capital of a territory which lies between the Adriatic and the Appenines. But we couldn’t let you leave us without telling you about the beautiful Marecchia valley, where you will enjoy a 360 degree panorama of the Riviera and surrounding landscape.

The small rural village of Santarcangelo di Romagna, the gate to Rimini from the Via Emilia and wine capital of the area, is really special, with its underground city made up of tufaceous caves, passageways, catacombs and ancient cellars. In the lower city you breathe the air of the piazza in 18th century style, with its town hall and imposing clock tower.
Before ascending the path which conducts you to the ancient heart of Santarcangelo you pass through the Combarbio, a labyrinth of tiny alleys where local people sit outside and chat. It takes good lungs and strong legs to reach the top, but the effort is certainly repaid by the panorama of the charming historical centre which seems suspended in time, the churches, the rocca, the palaces, the gates… intoxicating ups and downs which will leave you dizzy.

Continuing along the left bank of the river from Santarcangelo you will come to Poggio Berni, surrounded by Torriana, Montebello and Verucchio, places steeped in history. Many visitors make the mistake of not stopping in Poggio Berni, where the air is laden with perfumes of the countryside. Nothing is modern here in the hills of the Valmarecchia, but the authenticity is breathtaking. You will discover the last traces of a world from bygone times. Let your imagination run wild as you step back in history.
Then from out of nowhere you will come upon country houses, aristocratic buildings… clearly someone understood that Poggio Berni was a place where you could live peacefully without fortresses or wars amidst gentle country landscapes, residences, rural dwellings and the 18th century Palazzo Astolfi. The water mills you will admire along the road from Santarcangelo to Ponte Verucchio are perhaps the most wonderful surprise. There are five in the municipality.

From the Maracchiese road you will then reach Villa Verucchio, where you will be entranced by the beautiful rural landscape. Look out for the olive trees and the castle, the Rocca del Sasso. From the castle you can descend to the ex convent of the Augustinians, location of the Museo Civico Archaeologico (Archaeological Museum) which houses important artefacts from the Etruscan and Villanovian civilizations: weapons, textiles, utensils, amber and gold baubles and ceramic crockery, all dating back to the Iron Age (IX – VI century BC) when Verucchio was a strategic settlement in the Marecchia valley. At this point we invite you to dive into the pulsing heart of the Rimini hinterland. Cross the river at Ponte Verucchio and after a couple of corners in ascent you will come to the little village of Torriana, from where you will enjoy a breathtaking panorama of the coast and the Uso and Marecchia valleys.

Moving towards Montebello you will find yourself immersed in one of the best preserved villages in the area, home to a castle which is rich in charm and legend. In the right season truffles can be found in the surrounding woodland. A page of history opens between Romagna and Marche on a rocky spur which falls sheer to the Marecchia: the village of San Leo, high point sacred to the gods until the arrival of Saint Leo and Christianity in the III century.
The rocca is an impressive testimony to military art. From here you will enjoy sweeping views from Mount Fumaiolo to the Adriatic Sea over a landscape of woodlands, rocky peaks, little villages and rural houses. The 6th century style historical centre houses the Pieve (parish church), a monumental religious complex, and the duomo (cathedral) dedicated to Saint Leo, patron of the town.

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