Situated at 142 metres above sea level, with the Republic of San Marino, Rimini and Carpegna in the background, Gradara represents an extraordinary urban and architectural combination.
Legend has it that the castle was the scene of the famous and tragic love story of Paolo and Francesca, caught in each other’s arms and killed by Gianciotto, Francesca’s husband. This love story was immortalized by Dante in his Divine Comedy.
- Distance: 32 km from Rimini
- Time: 3-4 hours
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Elevation Gain: 142 m (466 ft)
- Dogs: Yes
- When to go: Year-round
This is the most visited monument in the Marche region.
Passing the drawbridge, you arrive inside the yard, where the mighty XII Century Tower dominates and from which the stone path begins.
Room after room you will retrace the Griffo’s and the Sforza’s families lives, as well as the Malatesta’s, the Borgia’s and the Della Rovere’s, who lived and operated here – among alliances and intrigues, betrayals and passions.
And it was in one of these rooms that – on one September day in 1289 – took place Paolo and Francesca’s tragedy,
Nowadays it is possible to stroll on the 300mt. panoramic walk, along the ancient Ramparts Walk and enjoy, from one side the splendid panorama with the Marche pleasant hills, and on the other side goes the gaze to the Romagna coast until you lose yourself on the Adriatic Sea horizon.
It is a private Museum that encloses a unique collection of antic objects and historical documents. Inside, are armours, on scale reproductions of armies, torture and peasant objects which testify the lifestyle of Gradara and of the whole territory through the passed centuries.
At the end of the stone path, it is possible to admire the only visible section of tuff caves, which undergoes the village in a kind of subterranean net of tunnels.