Dante Alighieri was so much in love with Romagna that he was considered one of the first tourists in the area.
His love for this land, where he had found hospitality on several occasions after his exile from Florence, is widely recounted in the Divine Comedy, in which Dante mentions places, people and events of political history of Romagna. The poet himself said that although he was born in Florence, he did not feel Florentine, but it seems that he loved spending time in Romagna to enjoy a lifestyle that no longer existed in Florence.
Dante therefore, in addition to being one of the greatest poets in Italian history, was a precursor of the form of tourism that over the years has become a major industry in the world.
Your Dantesque journey begins in the medieval Rimini, the city of Francesca, the protagonist together with Paolo Malatesta in the circle of the lustful in the fifth canto of the Inferno. You will start from Castel Sismondo, the home of the Malatesta family, and then continue through the historic city centre where you can admire architectural beauties dating back to the Middle Ages such as Palazzo dell’Arengo (today’s Town Hall) and Palazzo Podestà.
The second stop on this itinerary in the footsteps of the great poet will be Saludecio, a beautiful mediaeval village of the Malatesta Seignory set on a hillside. The solemnity and elegance of the palaces, towers and squares of this village are an important manifestation of the majesty of the past. Saludecio is also the birthplace of the Saint Amato Ronconi and other blessed people of the time, and the village today has many places of historical, cultural and religious interest.
Did you know that… when Dante Alighieri was forced to flee from Florence because he was condemned to death, he took refuge in Romagna and chose the pseudonym “Filippo da Saludecio” to hide his identity?
The tour will then continue to Mondaino, a small medieval village perched on the border between Romagna and Marche dominated by the imposing Malatesta Fortress with its Ghibelline battlements. Mondaino enjoyed its greatest splendour during the Middle Ages, thanks in part to the ruling Malatesta and Da Montefeltro families, who chose it as the site for signing their peace treaties.
The journey will continue inside the village, in whose historical centre you can admire the suggestive Piazza Maggiore, called “a padella” (frying pan) because of its shape, which thanks to its surprising acoustics becomes an extraordinary natural theatre.
In Mondaino you will also have the opportunity to visit the Centro di Studi Danteschi San Gregorio in Conca (Centre for Dante Studies San Gregorio in Conca), which is located in the ancient Mulino delle Fosse della Porta di Sotto (Lower Gate Mill) and houses important frescoes depicting episodes from the Divine Comedy by Giovanni Santi, father of the famous Raphael.
The journey ends in the Queen of the Conca Valley, Montefiore Conca, so called because of its grandiose and elegant castle whose double circle of walls and majestic fortress stand out in the eyes of all those who travel up the valley along the road from Rimini to Urbino.
Montefiore is today one of the most intact and fascinating villages in our hinterland with a historic centre full of small craft shops, museums and churches. In the Ospitale Oratory, the village houses some of the most important frescoes dedicated to the three canticles of the Divine Comedy, also attributed to the school of Giovanni Santi, father of Raphael.
In this village you can breathe a rarefied air, it almost seems that time has stopped between the green woods and the threatening profile of the fortress.