Visit with us Santarcangelo di Romagna! Discover this charming town near Rimini, suspended between history and the future, you shall immediately include in your itineraries!
Just a short distance from Rimini and the most famous seaside resorts of the Romagna coastline, there is the splendid Santarcangelo di Romagna, a place so full of things to do and see that it will certainly amaze you.
The village, in fact, although rather small in size, has a strong visual impact, even for those visiting it for the first time. It is in fact perched on the gentle slopes of Colle Giove, a relief of about 90 meters that invites you to explore the hinterland and the Tuscan-Romagna Apennines.
Why should you visit Santarcangelo di Romagna? This town, whose name evokes the close link with its patron saint, St. Michael the Archangel, will certainly offer you more than one reason to visit.
We could tell you that the main reason is its cobbled streets, a splendid reminder of medieval times. Or we could tell you that it is its architecture: its splendid fortress, arches and portals are indeed a monumental invitation to discover more of its history.
Yet, the main reason that we think should lead you here is the atmosphere you breathe. The proud atmosphere of a city that has been able to preserve its characteristics and peculiarities over time. Any time of the year you want to discover Santarcangelo, in fact, you will see that this village is projected into the future.
Colourful walls that become precious canvases for street art for artists from all over the world, or discarded objects of our time that are given a new life to create a utopian space with post-apocalyptic contours. And what about Santarcangelo dei Teatri? One of the most significant events in the field of performing arts.
If all this intrigues you, let our itinerary guide through the best things to see in Santarcangelo di Romagna: between history and a touch of the future, the enchantment of this place is truly served!
What to see in Santarcangelo di Romagna, a village suspended between past and future
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Visiting Santarcangelo di Romagna is a real bath of art. Among the streets of the centre, you will find monuments from the past, noble palaces, fortified areas, but also ancient shops. However, we are not just talking about buildings and monuments.
In fact, so many illustrious personalities were born here. We are talking about Pope Clement XIV, for example, but also the famous poet and screenwriter Tonino Guerra and his son, the composer Andrea Guerra, as well as the actor and comedian Fabio de Luigi, to mention more recent personalities.
In short, discovering Santarcangelo di Romagna means appreciating the infinite nuances of art, from theatre to street art and architecture. And, why not? Even art in the broadest sense.
Romagna cuisine is another of this land’s calling cards, as is wine. After all, it is said that Sangiovese wine comes from Colle Giove.
And whether it is a legend or the truth, you just have to take advantage of a weekend, or a few more days, to discover the wonders to be seen in and around Sant Arcangelo.
A walk around Santarcangelo di Romagna: here’s what to see!
Any time of year is perfect to see Santarcangelo di Romagna.
Since it is a village situated on a hill, we suggest you leave your car in one of the municipal car parks and continue your tour on foot.
Here are the things we suggest you do not miss. 👇
1. Ganganelli Square
This is the heart of the town. Clearly recognisable, within its perimeter stands the monumental arch dedicated to one of the city’s most illustrious citizens, Pope Clement XIV. Under the arch, the consular road, the Via Emilia, once passed. Today it has become the perfect setting for the bi-weekly market, but also for numerous events, such as the Theatre Festival, which we have already mentioned.
2. The Fontana della Pigna
Even though it is in Piazza Ganganelli too, we thought it important to dedicate a paragraph to it. In fact, the Fontana della Pigna is one of the four fountains restored thanks to the designs of Tonino Guerra, the poet and scriptwriter of Fellini’s greatest movies. The pine cone, which surmounts an Istrian stone basin, is a symbol of welcome and prosperity and was designed by Guerra himself.
3. The Piazzetta delle Monache
The Piazzetta delle Monache is one of the most characteristic squares in the town and offers a wonderful medieval view to its visitors. At its centre is a beautiful massive well, while two important buildings stand on its perimeter: the Monastery of Saints Catherine and Barbara and Palazzo Cenci, home to the town’s Archaeological Museum.
What is intriguing, however, is not immediately visible. Underground, in fact, there are two niches with such an elaborate structure that it is believed they were used as places of worship.
Moreover, a detail that is not insignificant and, indeed, gives rise to many considerations, here one finds a sort of bronze effigy of a girl, Francesca da Polenta, also known as Francesca da Rimini. And precisely because of this effigy, some think that the Rocca Malatestiana, where the tragic destiny of Paolo and Francesca was consummated, is indeed that of S. Arcangelo di Romagna!
4. The City Gates: Porta del Campanone vecchio and Porta Cervese
At one time, there were four gateways to the town. In fact, we must imagine that in addition to these monumental entrances, there were also their respective drawbridges.
Today, we can see the Porta del Campanone Vecchio (Old Bell Gate), which was located at the ancient tower of the same name. The tower later collapsed, and, in its place, the bell tower was built, which we will discover in the next point. Porta Cervese, on the other hand, was the ancient road leading to Cervia and its salt pans. For this reason, it was also called Porta del Sale (Salt Gate).
5. The Campanone
The Campanone is a bell tower that, with its height of 25 metres, stands out in the city skyline together with the arch of Piazza Ganganelli. It is located in Piazza Galassi and was built in the late 19th century in neo-Gothic style on the ruins of the old bell tower.
It is one of the most interesting things to see in Santarcangelo di Romagna and certainly represents one of its most distinctive symbols.
6. The Street of Love
Vicolo Amaduzzi is one of the most picturesque places in the town, so much so that it has been nicknamed the Via dell’Amore (Street of Love).
In fact, among the pastel-coloured houses, the gaze wanders to glimpses of the surrounding plain, the verdant Marecchia Valley.
7. The Rocca Malatestiana of Santarcangelo di Romagna
And here we are in the heart of the village, the famous Rocca Malatestiana! It is also called Santarcangelo Castle and was for many years the property of the Malatesta family.
It is not clear, however, whether the unfortunate pair of lovers sung by Dante Alighieri in the famous Canto V were killed here or in the Rocca di Gradara. Legend has it, however, that Francesca’s spirit wanders the streets of the village on full moon nights, searching for the “convent of the buried alive”. Here, in fact, it is said that Concordia, the couple’s daughter, shut herself away within the walls of the cloistered convent to survive her grief.
Currently, the Rocca is the private residence of Princess Marina Colonna of Paliano. On the first weekend of the month, however, it is possible to request a visit.
8. The Tuffaceous Caves of Santarcangelo
As we saw when we mentioned the Piazzetta delle Monache, much of what this town holds lies underground. Indeed, a long and intricate network of tunnels almost seems to replicate another city beneath the surface.
Although they are often referred to as “the tuffaceous caves of Santarcangelo”, they are hypogea, dug by man at an unspecified time in this town’s past. Some think they date back to Roman times, others that they were places simply dug out to be used as cellars. What is certain is that, during the Second World War, these hypogea were used as air-raid shelters.
Today, it is possible to see these caves thanks to a guided tour, which can also be requested from Sant Arcangelo’s tourist office.
9. The Parish Church of San Michele Arcangelo
The parish church of San Michele Arcangelo is one of the most important in the area and is located about one kilometre from the town centre. It is a Byzantine parish church that dates to the 6th century and most probably stands on the ruins of an ancient pagan temple.
Why visit it? Many believe it is the oldest church in the entire province of Rimini.
When the parish church was suppressed in the mid-eighteenth century, the Collegiate Church was built, with its splendid organ that still functions today, which you can visit in the city centre.
10. The Marchi Artisan Printworks
This is one of the unmissable stops on a trip that includes not only S. Arcangelo, but also the whole of Romagna. It is in fact one of the oldest workshops in this area!
This fine printing works, opened in the early 17th century, is a craft workshop where the traditional Romagna rust prints on cloth are still made today. It also houses the only Mangano in the world. You don’t know what it is? It is a machine used for ironing fabrics.
The workshop is open for a visit, during which you are sure to learn more about how it works.
11. The old municipal fish market
Sant’Angelo di Romagna is also home to the oldest fish market in the province of Rimini that is still active.
Inside the building constructed in the early 19th century by a local citizen, you can still buy fresh fish. In more recent times, the fishmonger’s shop also sells local products, providing a picturesque backdrop to everyday life.
12. Mutonia, the Mutoid Waste Company
We mentioned it at the beginning, as one of the most creative places in the country, and now the time has come to talk about it specifically.
Mutonia, in fact, as an idea, was already born in the 1980s, but the first community only moved to Sant’Angelo di Romagna in the following decade, when it created the village of Mutonia on the banks of the Marecchia river.
Although the best way to understand more about this community is to visit it, here we can say that the founding intent is a new interpretation of man’s bond with nature, and a creative recycling of discarded materials and objects. The performances of this community are often presented during the Festival dei Teatri, but were also presented during the 2012 Paralympics.
Museums to see in S. Arcangelo
Among the things to see in Santarcangelo di Romagna, we cannot fail to mention its museums. This is because the museums in this town in the province of Rimini are of a high level and, above all, present collections that are, to say the least, sui generis.
We propose four of them.
1. The Button Museum
The Santarcangelo in Romagna Button Museum houses an exceptional collection of 8,500 buttons.
The immense work that has been done is to try to tell the history of the town through these everyday objects. The museum is divided into three sectors and, in addition to tracing the different historical periods, presents the buttons, their materials, and the reason why they were selected.
2. The Musas
Among the museums we present in this guide to Santarcangelo, this is certainly one of the most traditional: in fact, the Musas is the local historical and archaeological museum.
This museum, however, also presents itself in a different way. On the one hand, it tries to show the extraordinariness of manual work in the local workshops; on the other hand, it tries to highlight the creativity of the people of Romagna. A visit not to be missed to learn about the history of this area since Roman times!
3. The Met, Ethnographic Museum
If you want to learn more about the people of Romagna, their traditions, arts and crafts, a visit to the Ethnographic Museum of S. Arcangelo is a must.
In fact, the museum itinerary invites you to discover the symbols, superstitions, knowledge and trades of the Romagna peasant population, also through vintage machines and objects.
4. The museum dedicated to Tonino Guerra
We could not fail to mention the museum dedicated to the famous screenwriter and poet. In fact, Santarcangelo di Romagna dedicates streets, fountains and even an entire museum itinerary to Tonino Guerra.
The museum is small but essential in order to enter Guerra’s creative flair through the vision of paintings, tapestries, ceramics and sculptures.
What to visit around Santarcangelo in Romagna?
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And if the town itself is a real gem of things to see, the surroundings of Santarcangelo in Romagna are no less exceptional. In fact, we find ourselves in an area rich in stimuli and ideas that will be very difficult to condense into a few lines.
If you want to be enchanted by new mediaeval villages, we certainly suggest Poggio Torriana, located on a rocky spur overlooking the sea, about 10 km from S. Arcangelo. Or, about 15 km away, the village of Montebello, also on a rocky outcrop populated by the legend of a ghost, the village of Verucchio, nicknamed the Cradle of the Malatesta family and San Leo, listed among the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy.
If, on the other hand, you want to dedicate yourself to the sea, or to activities with the children, here you will be spoilt for choice: the villages and towns of the Riviera, such as Cesenatico, Rimini, Riccione and Cattolica are all less than an hour’s drive from here, as is the splendid Cesena, which is no more than half an hour away.
Finally, if you wish to take a more challenging trip, why not dedicate yourself to discovering San Marino? It is only 20 km from Sant’Angelo di Romagna! Alternatively, we suggest you make a detour to the Marche region and visit the magnificent Urbino.
What to do in Santarcangelo di Romagna
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In addition to visiting all the places, monuments and museums we have described, this village really deserves extra attention for the incredible things to do.
We could in fact mention shopping among the historic shops in the centre: we have in fact seen the well-known Stamperia, but in reality, the whole village is a teeming with great shops where you can delve into local creativity and industriousness.
And how can we not mention the numerous restaurants, wine bars and trattorias that invite you to enjoy the typical cuisine of Romagna? As we all know, this cuisine is known all over the world for its piadine, passatelli, but also the typical squacquerone cheese.
And we would not be doing justice to this village if we did not mention the opportunity to do tastings or to participate in real cooking classes.
On the other hand, we have already floated the idea that Sangiovese is a wine born among these gentle hills. How could you pass up a visit to the wine cellars, perhaps underground, or an opportunity to taste it?
Not to mention the superlative quality of the extra virgin olive oil produced in this area. You should try it in one of the oil mills or olive presses in the area, or even comfortably seated in one of the local restaurants.
Top events in Santarcangelo
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We have accompanied you through the streets of the town centre, among narrow streets, lanes and squares. Many of these areas are the scene of numerous events, such as the famous Piazza Ganganelli.
If you visit it on 11 November, you will witness a very curious celebration of the Feast of St Martin. In fact, the Festa dei Cornuti (literally, the Feast of the “cuckolds”) is organized, a joking term for men betrayed by their mates. On this occasion, a large pair of horns is hung on the Arch of Pope Clement!
More famous, however, also on a European level, is the Festival dei Teatri (Theatre Festival), organised throughout the year in a continuous cycle of events, seminars and performances of art, dance and theatre scattered throughout the city. For example, you can see performances in the main square, but also in the Sferisterio, the area below the walls.
We hope that this ideal itinerary to discover all the things to see in Santarcangelo has given you inspiration for your next trip to Emilia-Romagna! 😉
Cover photo: davide-ragusa-unsplash
Highlighted photos: dario-veronesi-unsplash