After we left San Marino we drove to Rimini. That was a short drive because Rimini is only 24km away from San Marino. I knew that Rimini is a popular Italian seaside town full of beach bars. However, we didn’t go to Rimini to spend some time at its long sandy beach but to see its castle and other interesting landmarks.
We found free parking in Rimini because I discovered a useful parking website which I bookmarked for future use but somehow I lost all my bookmarks the other day so I can’t share that website with you. From the free car park we walked for less than 15 minutes to the Malatesta Castle (Castel Sismondo). On our way to the castle we went through the Roman arch, Porta Montanara. That was our first glimpse of Roman Rimini. We were also close to the ruins of the Roman Amphitheater during our walk around Rimini but we decided to skip it because we’d seen roman amphitheaters in better conditions elsewhere.
The Sismondo Castle was built in 15th century by Sigismondo Pandolfo, the most famous lord of Rimini. Unfortunately, like the castle in Imola this one was also closed (because it was Monday) so we only took some photos and headed towards the city center. There’s a big building site next to the castle and from what we read it’s the site of the new museum dedicated to Federico Fellini, probably the most famous Italian film director of all times.
As we soon came to realize Rimini resembled Imola a lot in style and architecture but there were way more people out and about and it felt livelier. There are several majestic buildings at Rimini’s main square Piazza Cavour. The most modern building is the neoclassical theater Amintore Galli from 18th century. The statue of Pope Paul V and the round Pigna fountain dominate this large square. There’s also the Palazzo dell’Arengo, the town hall, on the one side and the old fish market on the other side of the square. Again, like in Imola, this square reminded me so much of my beloved Bologna which is to be expected because Bologna is the regional center of Emilia-Romagna.
Next on our sightseeing agenda was The Augustus Arch but to get to it we had to cross another big and beautiful square Piazza Tre Martiri. That square changed its name several times throughout the history but when Roman Rimini was founded in 268 BC it was the Forum. Piazza Tre Martiri was also the place where allegedly Julius Caesar uttered the famous words “alea jacta est” or “the die is cast” after having crossed the Rubicon on his way to Rome and power hence the Caesar’s sculpture at the square.
So, the street led us from one Roman site to another and we stood under The Augustus Arch (Arco di Augusto) from 27 BC which makes it the oldest surviving Roman archway. I’ve seen Roman remains in Rome and in other Italian cities and in Croatia and in other countries but to find so many grandiose Roman structures in Rimini was a total surprise to me. Who would have known that one of Europe’s largest beach resorts hides such significant historical treasures.
To get to the Tiberius Bridge we had to retrace our steps and go back to the Tre Martiri and Piazza Cavour squares. The Tiberius Bridge and the Augustus Arch are practically on opposite ends of Rimini’s city center. My husband noticed a sunglasses store with huge discounts and tried probably all of the sunglasses there but at the end left the store empty-handed. He was almost distraught that he couldn’t find any that fit. On the other hand, I noticed a confectionery store but forbid myself from entering because buying chocolates on a hot day isn’t a good idea.
The Tiberius Bridge ( il Ponte di Tiberio ) is another terrific example of Roman architecture in Rimini. The bridge was finished in 21 AD under the rule of emperor Tiberius. What’s remarkable about this Roman bridge besides the point that it survived centuries of wars and conflicts is that it’s still in use today. Can you believe that people just walk and drive over it every day? Of course, I had to cross the bridge too.
Baby V. was happy to see Rimini from his stroller but he also demanded to be fed and changed and since we couldn’t find a better place we decided to have a ˝picnic˝ in the park next to the bridge. That was the first time that Baby V. crawled on grass and he loved it. There was no time to see Rimini’s seaside because we had already spent almost three hours in Rimini and we had a long drive home so we just went back to the car park. On the way to the car we passed the castle which made me realize that a completely different order of sightseeing would have made more sense.
You can’t leave Italy without eating gelato so we stopped at a little ice-cream shop near the castle. Sadly, this was one of the rare moments on this trip that baby V. acted as if possessed by demons and hollered like crazy. I have to admit that in moments like that I feel very self-conscious and insecure as a mum. He was just sleepy and after we left the ice-cream shop he quickly calmed down and fell asleep.
I think I liked Rimini better than Imola. I’m happy that we got to see two Italian towns on our road trip to fabulous San Marino.
ps. further posts about San Marino trip are coming soon…