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    Malatesta & Montefeltro

    Castles, fortresses and forts

    Few territories offer as many authentic castles and fortified villages concentrated in just a few kilometres.
    Rimini has one of the most important, proof of the magnificence of the Malatesta. Bearing the name of its lord, Castel Sismondo was the family’s main residence, although it also loved to stay in castles around the extensive estate.
    For example, Santarcangelo di Romagna where Francesca, protagonist with her brother-in-law Paolo of the tragic events made famous by Dante, gave birth to her daughter.
    In Montefiore Conca, one of the family’s most popular residences, they hosted kings and emperors. Climbing towards the hills of the Marecchia and Conca valleys there are numerous castles and age-old towers.
    This is where the bordering families, the Malatesta and Montefeltro, faced each other in endless battles and the castles often changed hands. Leaving Santarcangelo, an itinerary in the Marecchia valley begins in Poggio Berni with Palazzo Marcosanti followed by Scorticata and Montebello Castles, the latter famous because of the legend of little Azzurrina who disappeared in its dungeons and whose cries can still be heard.
    Opposite is Verucchio Fortress that once belonged to Mastin Vecchio, centenarian and founder of the Malatesta family. To the left rise the tower-topped peaks of Mount Titano, the emblem of the ancient Republic of San Marino.
    On a rocky spur that drops sheer to the valley floor is the magnificent Fortress of San Leo, formerly Montefeltro.
    Of ancient origins, it was rebuilt in 1475 by Francesco di Giorgio Martini who made it unconquerable and the jewel of the area’s defensive system. Squatting under Mount Carpegna is Pennabilli with its castles Penna and Billi.
    Further up are the fortified village of Casteldelci or ancient Castrum Ilicis, home to Uguccione della Faggiola, Sant’Agata Feltria with its bizarre Fregoso Fortress and the small village of Petrella Guidi with its original 14th-century urban layout.
    The Conca valley offers a similar itinerary with a wealth of riches, starting in the plains with the mediaeval town of San Giovanni in Marignano. Further up the valley is Montescudo, whose walls had a dual defensive function, and a few kilometres away the fortified village of Albereto.
    The fascinating fortress in Montefiore Conca is imposing and beautiful and its rare and precious frescoes are a unique testament of the 14th-century decorative apparatuses of the Malatesta depicting a profane subject. The variety of materials found here give an insight into the many facets of castle life.
    Elegant Montegridolfo has retained its original fortified village and Saludecio is surrounded by imposing walls with the only semi-octagonal bastion in the entire province.
    The itinerary ends in Mondaino that still has almost its entire perimeter walls and an elegant palatium, similar to the keep in Castel Sismondo, which overlooks an unusual and harmonious semi-circular square.

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    Last update: 16/03/2017