The Rimini beach is the most sought after destination for summer holidays – and it’s nobody’s wonder!
Rimini and its ancient roots
But Rimini isn’t only its beach. Or you might say – it isn’t just its beach. Its historical background is rich and multilayered, representing an ideal opportunity for discovery.
The town itself dates back to as far as 390 BC, and has played a pivotal role through the centuries. Rimini was by turn a florid harbour where commerce and travels thrived, as well as a noteworthy resource for the Roman military fleet. But its artistic and urban value was not neglected either. Through the Middle Ages, under the patronage of the influential Malatesta family, Rimini would be the outset of many social and political upheavels.
Likewise, during the nineteenth century, the struggles that would lead to the Italian unificaton did not extempt it. Rimini was one of the most lively centres of activities where the revolution would spark and flourish. Years later, in WWII era, the town would again leave its mark in history through the efforts of a cluster of driven partesan fighterss. By turn convoluted and vivacious, or soothing and contemplative, if there was one thing Rimini (or its history) never has been, it’s dull.
The stupendous artistic heritage of Rimini
Of course, its involvement in some of the most important historic events of the time would leave its mark. Nowadays, Rimini is not just renowned for its lovely weather or the splendour of its beach. There’s sighthings literally around every corner – some of them even worldwide famous. The various influences to which the town has been subjected over the years are still present in some of the greatest example of its architecture.
The Romans, especially, left many testaments to their culture. The Tiberius bridge still stands today, and is an attraction to which dozens of tourists and historical aficionados are yearly drawn. Likewise, the majesty of the Amphiteatre has not lost its luster over two thousand years. The Church of St Agostino dates back to the thirteenth centuriest, and is currently one of the oldest shrines existing in Rimini. During the Renaissance, the Tempio Malatestiano was built to encompass what was originally known as the St Francis Cathedral, on commission of the local lord Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta. This imposing, majestic tribute to Leon Battista Alberti‘s skill never fails to amaze the visitors.
When all is said and done, the most authentic and characteristic trait of Rimini is its blend of various architectures. Through the ages, styles and cultures have mingled into an unique juxtaposition. From the ancient domus to the Art Nouveau buildings, the town is ripe with treasures to cherish. If a great many valuable buildings and historical treasures were damaged in WWII’s bombings, it has not stopped Rimini from retaining its past glory. And if you’re historically inclined and want to delve into an exploration of these open-air wonders, you will surely concur.
Discover the dazzling museums chronicling the town’s past
Likewise, there’s a plethora of musems and artifacts reaching back into the far past. Rimini is a treasure trove, as its heritage fully demonstrates. The sheer amount of finds and treasures documenting remote events… capturing stills of private and social life… and testifying Rimini’s liveliness, are well worth a rediscovery. There’s many opportunities that you should not miss in your Italian holiday – you only have to set out where you’re gonna start from.
But if – as is likely – you’re captivated by the aura of power and immense wisdom that this city holds, you can’t miss a visit to Castel Sismondo or to the City Museum. The former has been converted in recent times into a cultural exhibition centre, housing paintings and artistic creations of momentous importance. The latter is the end and be all of Rimini’s archeologic heritage, chronicling the vast historic influence of the town through the ages. From paleo-Christian finds to original collections of Etrurian artcraft, every room is a treat for the eyes. With a wide range of paintings, mosaics, scupltures, ceramic and grave goods, there’s not an item on display that won’t leave you mesmerized.
The antique instruments from the “surgeon’s domus” represent a unique highlight, documenting how such specialized fields of the medical profession evolved over the centuries. The City Museum also owns a great many artworks of invaluable worth from such artists as Guercino, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Giovanni Bellini. By time, the museum might host temporary exhibitions, and a variety of research enterprises whose aim is to promote and safeguard the historical and archeological wonders of Rimini.
The Museum of Glances, another of the main exhibitions in Rimini, showcases a large collection of worldwide artifacts. Ranging from the eastern Asia to pre-Columbian America, it’s a visual tour through timeless traditions and original repertoires, many of them unique. But historian buffs might be also interested in smaller-scale local curiosities, witnessing how Rimini evolved through the ages. In this particular regard, the Viserbella Museum of Small Fishing and Marine is a unique treat all on its own. Its collection includes fishing tools, large seashells, fishing related artifacts and ancient boats, testifying of the ancient roots of Rimini’s harbor and its historical importance. It’s a hit – and one you should not miss visiting.
Federico Fellini and the Rimini of remembrances and reveries
If you’re a movie aficionado taking a tour of Rimini, you just can’t miss the Fellini Museum. A shrine and testament to the art of director Federico Fellini, it hosts events and exhibitions of costumes, trivia, original documentations, stills, and much more else besides.
Fellini, himself born in Rimini, bore a deep attachment to this town, which is still evident in the heart of his filmography. Drawing upon the town setting as a symbol of longing and past ties, Fellini was allegedly uncomfortable about the spotlight his movies had on this all too particular corner of Emilia Romagna. As he himself stated, the Rimini he portrayed on screen was more idealized than realistic.
In Fellini’s conception, Rimini became symbolic – a reverie transplanted onto the physical plane. It “bore little resemblance” with the town itself, or with its features. It was a Rimini of the soul, of past remembrances and dreams – rather than a concrete, down-to-earth portrayal that the artist wanted to capture.
Movies like “I Vitelloni” or “Amarcord” – in itself a declaration of nostalgia for the sublimated Rimini of his memories – portray the Rimini of Fellini’s mind, heart, and soul. It needn’t be authentic to the “present day” as long as it was authentic to his inner vision. For all these reasons, Fellini was adamant about not visiting his home town often, when he could help it. The dichotomy between the Rimini of the soul and the Rimini of the real life was a gulf that could not – should not – be breached.
Nonetheless, his heritage remains powerful, and is proudly celebrated in the town. Fellini’s name rings through Rimini. In the Fellini Museum – as in the collective mindset – there are signs of the man… the director… the artist who made Rimini’s luster renowned worldwide. During your vacation, you just can’t eschew walking in the footprints of this movie-making myth.