Sunday, March 20, 2011

Rimini, Italy - the "Miami of Europe"...

The day after our drenching in Venice, we boarded an early train for Rimini to meet our friends, Fabrizio and Nadia.  The morning was sunny and stayed that way for most of the day, except for a little shower here and there.

Rimini is the capital city of the Rimini Province on Italy's Adriatic coast.  It was founded by the Romans as a colony of Latin Law in 268BC and is situated in the Emilia-Romagna region.  It is one of the most famous seaside resorts in Europe and is sometimes referred to as the "Miami of Europe".  We were there in the quiet time.

Ponte di Tiberio

Tiberius Bridge - the Roman bridge across the River Marecchia.  The bridge, started under Caesar Augustus in 14AD and completed by Tiberius in 21AD.  Our friend, Fabrizio said, "We Italians are crazy; we still use ancient bridges instead of treating them tenderly."  There was a constant flow of cars crossing; mainly, I'd say, locals going about their day.

Fishermen's Village near the bridge

Castel Sismondo (also called Malatesta Castle and built between 1437-1446 or 1454, depending upon the historian).  The fortified residence of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, Rimini's ruler from 1432 to 1468.  After passing into the hands of the Papal State, from the 17th century onwards, the castle was altered several times.  The outer walls were demolished, the moat was filled in and the furnishings were removed.  It was used as a prison from the 19th century until 1967 but in the 1970s work started on a complex restoration project.  The castle is mainly devoid of furnishings and is used for exhibitions.

Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta
called the "Wolf of Rimini"
by Piero della Francesca c.1450 Louvre

More views of Malatesta Castle

It was market day when we were there and Castel Sismondo wasn't open.  The open market is held twice a week and stretches from the castle to Piazza Cavour.  After a short walk around the market, we walked back to the apartment, where Nadia had prepared an exquisite 5-course lunch and we sampled some very good Italian wines, with Fabrizio's amazing stereo system quietly playing in the background.  Then we had to find our feet to do some more walking and exploring.

Piazza Cavour

Cavour Square is the historic centre and the place to go to experience the every day life of Rimini.  It is a social hub in the evenings for a leisurely stroll and apperitivi in one of the many bars.

The Fish Market in Piazza Cavour

The fish market, with its grand entrance and long slabs of marble was constructed in the square in 1743.  Now it is used for antique and craft markets.  Below are more shots of the market with the fountain for washing the fish and, up top near the roof, a fresco by an unknown artist.

Teatro Amintore Galli

On the other side of the square, Teatro Amintore Galli is the most modern of the buildings.  Started in the 1840s, the building has been largely reconstructed after significant bomb damage during WW11 (Rimini was on the front lines when the Allies attempted to break through the Gothic line and was bombed heavily).

Moving on to Piazza Tre Martiri

Piazza Tre Martiri

This was the forum area for the Roman colony of Ariminum in 268BC and, according to Riminians, it was here that Julius Caesar is said to have addressed his troops on 10th January 49BC, after crossing the Rubicon.

Belltower on left
and on the right in the distance is
the Arco D'Augosto
Built in honour of Roman emperor Augustus in 27BC

Arco d'Augosto - Photo Wikipedia

On the left, the 16th century belltower, or Torre dell'Orologio, has undergone several reconstructions, the last being in the 1930s.  The clock face includes a solar/lunar calendar and dates from 1750.

On the right, the Tempio Malatestiano, is the cathedral church of Rimini.  Officially named for St. Francis, it takes the popular name for Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, who commissioned its reconstruction by the famous Renaissance theorist and architect, Leon Battista Alberti around 1450.  There is also a fresco by Piero della Francesca portraying Malatesta kneeling before the saint (1451).

Fresco by Piero della Francesca, 1451

This paving was about 2m down from the Piazza floor and the following was on the sign next to it. 

"Part of the paving of the Forum from the Imperial Roman period.  The blocks of San Marino limestone are laid with great precision, following the same directions as the city's two main streets.  The brickwork structure is a remnant of one of the many monuments erected to embellish this public square and is part of a large base once faced with marble, on which statues and other celebrative figures could be placed.  In the Forum there were four other platforms similar to this one.  In the paving stones there are several cavities used to fix other decorative architectural elements."

"The archaeological remains from the Roman period seen here show a section of the "Cardus Maximus", the main road leading from the city to the harbour and part of a building that was used again as a foundation in the Middle Ages.

In the first century AD a large building was erected facing onto the Roman forum, built entirely with yellow bricks.  At the same time the pavement ("crepidine") was laid with red-veined marble blocks.  In later periods the area was levelled several times with earth and rubble, until the original level of the street was raised, as can be seen from the squared blocks of stone that were reutilised.

In the early Middle Ages the remains of the previous Roman building were used as a foundation for the construction of the Sant'Innocenza Church.  Traces of this can be seen in the large blocks of limestone inserted to fill a gap in the Roman wall."

We were slowly making our way back when something hilarious happened; outside a bar that Fabrizio frequents in the Piazza Ferrari, he jumped on a bicycle and hot-footed it back to his apartment to get his car! He was gone before we could open the camera!  There were a few bikes in the rack and apparently the locals just take one when needed and return it later on.  Ten minutes later he returned in his car and took us to the station for our return trip to Bologna.

The only disappointment of the day was that the Surgeon's House, Domus del Chirurgo, was not opening until 5pm and we were leaving at 4pm but we were able to walk around it, while waiting for Fabrizio, and look in the windows.  The house was discovered in 1989 and opened to the public in 2007, after 18 years of excavation. Unearthed were Greek vases, coins, surgical instruments, mosaic floors and tombs.  The house was abandoned after a fire around 260AD. The above image is from the website.  It's well worth a look and here is a clip - wait for a little pause in the beginning. 


Steven Cain said...


maggie's garden said...

Even the skies are amazing in Italy. It's funny how the first picture actually does look like the coast in Miami! The architecture is creamy looking to me and even the prison seems to be like a beautiful piece of architectural artwork. Your friend was funny taking off on the bicycle. Here in the US the police would have been called. It's nice to hear that trust and honesty still exist on this planet. Imagine just riding off with someone's bike!
Your photos are wonderful. I can see my Roman heritage in Malatesta's profile....looks like the side view of my entire family. Is this the Galli building you showed as a having a library inside previously?
You've even made the walkways look like a art.
Thanks for sharing. Now I'm off to the video. Looks like it was a splendid trip.
Have a great weekend. xo

alaine@éclectique said...

MG....Karen, thank you for visiting; I know that travel posts can be a bore to some! The building with the library inside that we missed was the Biblioteca Sala Borsa in Bologna.

Milano is next.

Betsy said...

How lovely! Sound like a wonderful time. I always enjoy seeing the different styles of buildings...even lamp posts!

alaine@éclectique said...

Betsy...We did enjoy Rimini. Thank you for visiting....xa