San Leo is in the heart of the Montefeltro countryside to the south-west of Rimini on a hilltop 600 metres above sea level that has been occupied since Roman times.
San Leo is listed as one of the 'most beautiful villages in Italy' and has also been awarded the Orange Flag award for sustainable tourism.
The highlight of San Leo is the stunningly located castle, on a large craggy rock above the village and very well worth the short steep climb from the village. It even impressed Dante, who based his descriptions of purgatory on the site.
- Distance: 38 km from Rimini
- Time: 3-4 hours
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Elevation Gain: 589 m
- Dogs: Yes
- When to go: Year-round
The fortress is divided into two distinct levels: at the top stands the impressive tower with an elongated shape while below two linked towers complement the building. The fort has decorative motifs such as cornices and corbels.
The fortress housed many people of great importance including Dante, the Count of Cagliostro, who was a prisoner of the Papal States here, and Saint Francis
The Palazzo Medici now houses the San Leo Museum of Sacred Art, with artefacts of sacred art from the 8th to the 18th century, as made for altars and rooms of monasteries.
The internal structure of the Palazo Medici follows a Renaissance plan, organized around the reception rooms of the ground floor.
Begin a visit to San Leo in Piazza Dante, home to the most important religious and civic buildings of the city. Among the religious buildings are the Parish Church, the oldest church in the city and with stone-work reinforced by powerful buttresses.
In the same square you can see the 12th-13th century San Leo Cathedral, in the Lombard-Romanesque style. Also built with sandstone it stands on the site of an older church.