Don’t miss in Verucchio
Malatesta Fortress 11th-16th century
Known as Sasso Fortress due to its position on a rocky spur (or “sasso”) overlooking the town, valley and plains as far as the Adriatic, it was owned by the Malatesta fromas early as the 12th century and its oldest ruins can still be seen in the dungeons. This is where Malatesta da Verucchio, known as the centenarian, was born. He was mentioned by Dante in the Inferno of his Divine Comedy as Mastin Vecchio, mercenary and conqueror of lands and cities and esteemed governor of Rimini where, from 1295 on the seignory began to develop its power, although the family kept Verucchio as a strategic garrison and bulwark against their enemies the Montefeltro. For this reason too, the fortress was extended in 1449 by the most important Malatesta figure, Sigismondo Pandolfo. Now the venue for conferences, cultural events, shows and exhibitions, the fortress can be visited throughout.
Village of Passerello In the 17th century the Convent of the Poor Clares was built on the ruins of the second Malatesta fortress,Passerello Castle, along with a Baroque church of the same name that can still be visited. Next to it, an ancient gate of the same name, built by Sigismondo in 1449, has been rebuilt using reclaimed material. Through the gate is the Pian del Monte, the site of Villanovan settlements that can be visited by appointment only.
The splendid city walls have recently been renovated, restoring the might of the defensive system built by the Malatesta. A visit also affords breath taking views.
Municipal Archaeological Museum
In the mediaeval monastery of the Augustinian Fathers and adjacent 14th-century church of Sant’Agostino, this is an internationally renowned museum due to the rarity, quality and quantity of artefacts on display. These come from local necropolises dating from the early Iron Age. The arte facts found in the tombs date from between the 11th and 7th centuries BC and include elegant cinerary urns, precious gold and amber jewellery and other items and furniture that are unique in terms of style and preservation. These include weapons, helmets, buckles, ceramics and everyday items in wood, vegetable fibre, colourful wool and cotton clothes and food offerings.
Collegiate Church 19th century
Designed by the architect Antonio Tondini in the 19th century it has magnificent works of art includinga wooden Crucifix (early 14th century) by an unknown artist of the fourteenth-century Rimini school, a wooden crucifix on a shaped tablet painted by Nicolò di Pietro in 1404 and a canvas by Francesco Nagli, called Il Centino (circa mid 17th-century) St. Martin giving hiscloak to a beggar.
Franciscan Monastery 13th century
In Villa Verucchio, the church houses a precious fresco (Crucifixion), a masterpiece by thefourteenth-century Rimini school whose artists include the socalled Maestro of Verucchio. Outside is a patriarch tree, the oldest cypress in Europe, which is about 23 metres tall and according to legend, was planted by St. Francis while staying in the area.
Parish church of San Martino 10th century
Surrounded by ancient olive trees and at the foot of the rocky spur on which the old town is built, the Romanesque church is reached by descending towards Villa Verucchio. An example of severe Romanesque-Gothic architecture, it stood along the Roman Iter Tiberinum road linking Rimini and Arezzo.