One Day in Rimini - A Walking Tour (with Maps!)
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The ancient settlement of Ariminum was strategically located at the convergence of two significant ancient roads: the Via Aemilia and the Via Flaminia. Situated approximately 150 kilometers south of Venice on the Adriatic shore, it eventually evolved into the Roman colony of Rimini in 268 BC. Over time, it flourished into a bustling port city and, by the late 1800s, had transformed into a popular beach resort.
Despite enduring significant damage from World War II bombing, Rimini has managed to preserve a surprising amount of its Roman heritage. The extensive, white-sand beaches that stretch both north and south of the port continue to be major tourist attractions on the Riviera del Sole, the name Italians use to refer to their Adriatic coastline.
The Malatesta family, who ruled Rimini from the 13th century, were notable patrons of the arts and culture. Their legacy includes numerous fine buildings and artworks that still grace the city today, contributing to its rich historical and cultural tapestry. Rimini’s ability to maintain its Roman heritage and embrace its more recent history, as exemplified by the Malatestas, makes it a compelling destination for visitors interested in exploring the past and enjoying the beauty of the present.
How to get to Rimini
By Train: Rimini is serviced by one major train station and by other four minor train stations. The main station is Piazzale Cesare Battisti and is located ten minutes from wither the sea or the old town.
By Car: Rimini is well connected to the A14 motorway. There are two motorway exits in Rimini: “Rimini Nord” and “Rimini Sud”. For this tour I suggest parking at Parcheggio via Roma or (if not a Wednesday or a Saturday, when there is a market here) Parcheggio Clementini.
Guided or Self Guided Tour?
This guided tour is all you need to get a flavour of Rimini. For a guided tour try this 2 Hour Guided Tour of the Historic City Centre. If you are thinking of something a little extra I recommend the 6 hour guided E-Bike Tour of of Roman Rimini & Marecchia Valley.
Buy Tickets in Advance from VisitRimini?
In the Summer months you can purchase tickets for the main sites in advance, and then pick up the tickets from the tourist office at the train station.
Rimini Roman Amphitheatre
From the train station walk across to the left side of the car park, head across the roundabout to walk through Parcheggio Clementini. On a Wednesday and a Saturday they usually have a market here. At the far end of the car park is the Anfiteatro Romano.
The Roman Amphitheatre, known as “l’anfiteatro romano,” in Rimini was commissioned by the Emperor Hadrian during the 2nd century AD. This historical structure serves as evidence of the “panem et circenses strategy,” a Roman practice aimed at gaining public approval and alleviating social tension by providing collective entertainment and distraction for the people.
Situated on the outskirts of Ariminum (Rimini), near the port, the amphitheatre’s location made it easily accessible by road, allowing visitors to reach it by land. The remains of this magnificent structure, which hosted gladiator games and various events, are among the most significant in the entire region.
The Roman Amphitheatre features an oval shape and was constructed with concrete and brick cladding. It consisted of two superimposed rows of 60 arches, each reaching a height of more than 15 meters. This impressive structure had the capacity to accommodate over 10,000 spectators and featured an arena that was slightly smaller than that of the Colosseum in Rome.
Despite its grandeur and importance, the arena ceased to function after only a little more than a century of use. Subsequently, the amphitheatre was incorporated into the defensive walls of the city, a measure taken by Rimini to protect itself from the threat of invading barbarian forces. This transformation marked a significant change in the use and purpose of the amphitheatre over time.
Location: Roman Amphitheatre, Via Roma, Rimini, Province of Rimini, Italy | Hours: For full access contact Rimini Municipal Museums. In the summer it is used for theatrical performances.
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Arco di Augusto
Continue the way you were heading with the Anfiteatro Romano on your right. Cross over the next roundabout and turn right to walk through the Parco Alcide Cervi. At the end of the park lies the Arco di Augusto.
The Arch of Augustus in Rimini was constructed in 27 BC on the orders of the Roman Senate to honour Octavian Augustus. It was built in recognition of Augustus’s efforts to restore the Via Flaminia, a significant road connecting Rome to Rimini. An inscription above the arch attests to this purpose.
Positioned at the intersection of the Via Flaminia and the decumanus maximus, the Arch of Augustus is one of the two gates, the other being Porta Montanara, that marked the entrance to the ancient city of Rimini, founded as a colony in 268 BC. The arch is constructed using Istrian stone, similar to the Tiberius Bridge, and it serves both a religious and propagandistic function.
The arch’s large opening, which couldn’t be closed by doors, symbolizes the Pax Augustea, or the peace achieved in 31 BC after the defeat of Mark Antony in the Battle of Actium. The arch is adorned with decorative elements, including four clypei (round shields), with two on each side, featuring depictions of divinities. Jupiter and Apollo face Rome and the Via Flaminia, while Neptune and the goddess Rome face the city of Rimini.
Today, the arch has some modifications compared to its original form. It is crowned with bricks and battlements from the medieval and Renaissance periods. In ancient times, it had an attic with a statue of the emperor, likely on horseback or in a quadriga. The arch was once part of the city’s oldest defensive wall, and remnants of this wall can be seen on its sides, made from local stone.
Notably, the Arch of Augustus now stands isolated after adjacent buildings were demolished in the 1930s.
Location: Arch of Augustus, Corso d'Augusto, Rimini, Province of Rimini, Italy | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free
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Walk through the arch and down Corso d’Augusto. Turn right onto Via Alessandro Serpieri at the end of which is the Malatestiano Temple.
The Tempio Malatestiano, constructed to serve as the final resting place for members of the Malatesta family who ruled Rimini from the 13th century, is a remarkable architectural gem. It was built atop the foundations of an earlier medieval church and underwent construction in the Early Renaissance style between 1447 and 1460. The temple’s facade was a creation of Leon Battista Alberti, who drew inspiration from the Arch of Augustus. This facade was groundbreaking, as it was among the first to be based on Roman architectural traditions, marking the very early stages of the Renaissance.
The interior of the Tempio Malatestiano is adorned with frescoes by Piero della Francesca, depicting scenes like Sigismondo Malatesta kneeling before St. Sigismondo. The Crucifixion painted by Giotto in the early 1300s is also present within the temple, representing his sole work in Rimini. Although Giotto spent a significant amount of time living and working in Rimini, his influence was instrumental in shaping the Rimini School of artists.
One of the striking features of the Tempio Malatestiano is the finely carved marble facings of its six side chapels. These intricate carvings are executed with such precision that they resemble monochromatic paintings, showcasing the extraordinary craftsmanship of the artisans involved in its creation. The Tempio Malatestiano stands as a testament to the intersection of art, architecture, and history in Rimini.
Location: Tempio Malatestiano, Via IV Novembre, Rimini, Province of Rimini, Italy | Hours: Weekday hours: 8.30 am - 12.00 am; 3.30 pm - 6.30 pm Holiday Hours: 9.00 am - 1.00 pm; 3.30 pm - 7.00 pm | Website
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Piazza Tre Martiri
Turn left out of the Malatestiano Temple down Via IV Novembre
Piazza Tre Martiri stands as the beating heart of Rimini, strategically located at the intersection of the cardus maximus and the decumanus maximus, corresponding to the ancient Roman Forum. Over the centuries, this square has undergone several name changes and has played various roles in the city’s life.
In the Middle Ages, it was known as “piazza delle erbe” and served as a venue for public events, including horse races, dances, markets, and public spectacles. Initially, it began as the city’s Forum and was later colloquially referred to as Piazza Grande. Following the construction of the chapel dedicated to St. Anthony, it took on names like Piazza Sant’Antonio and Piazza Giulio Cesare.
The current name of the square, Piazza Tre Martiri, pays tribute to three young Partisans who were executed here in 1944. These brave individuals were Mario Cappelli, Luigi Nicolò, and Adelio Pagliarani. Their memory is honored with the square’s present name.
As you explore the square, you’ll come across the charming temple dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua, which was built in the early 1500s. Additionally, the clock tower, constructed in 1547, adds to the square’s historical and architectural significance. Piazza Tre Martiri continues to be a central and vibrant space in Rimini, where the past and present come together in a unique blend of culture and heritage.
Location: Piazza Tre Martiri, Rimini, Province of Rimini, Italy
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Leave Piazza Tre Martiri opposite the road you entered and head down Via Giuseppe Garibaldi. At the end of the road is the Porta Montanara.
The Porta Montanara, also known as Porta di Sant’Andrea, is an ancient city gate in Rimini that dates back to the 1st century BC during the period of Silla. It was originally part of a larger defensive structure that included an internal guardhouse. This round arch gate, constructed using sandstone blocks, served as one of the two entrances to the city for travellers coming from the mountainous areas upstream. The gate featured a double fornix, which facilitated the flow of traffic and directed travellers either into the city or out of it through parallel passages, following the cardinal maximum (now known as Via Garibaldi).
In the early centuries AD, the northern-facing arch of the gate was blocked off, resizing the gate’s entrance. Despite this modification, the gate continued to mark the city’s entrance until the Second World War. Unfortunately, after the war, the gate was partially destroyed.
However, in recent years, efforts were made to restore and relocate the ancient gate. The surviving fornix was carefully recovered, restored, and moved to its original location. The meticulous process involved dismantling the gate stone by stone, cleaning each individual ashlar, and reassembling it at its original site. As a result of this complex operation, the Porta Montanara from the Roman Republican era has been reinstated as a symbol and image of the city’s entrance from the mountain, enhancing the historic Borgo Sant’Andrea.
Location: Porta Montanara, Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, Rimini, RI, Italy
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Castello Sigismondo & Fellini Museum
Walk down the path between the trees to the right of Via Giuseppe Garibaldi. After the road turns to the right you will see Castello Sigismondo.
Today, only the central portions of the castle, commissioned and built by Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta in the 1400s, have endured the test of time. Initially, the castle was fortified with robust defensive walls and encircled by a protective moat. The remaining interior, itself designed with a fortress-like sensibility, served as the Malatesta residence. It was adorned with opulent embellishments, including tiles, frescoes, and tapestries, as vividly depicted in contemporary paintings portraying scenes from the Malatesta court. One such painting can be found in the Tempio Malatestiano.
In the evenings, the walls and towers of the castle are dramatically illuminated, creating a striking spectacle. The park surrounding the castle often hosts flea markets, adding to the vibrant atmosphere. Informative signboards are strategically placed to narrate the castle’s history and the influential Malatesta family’s legacy. Furthermore, the castle’s interior frequently serves as a venue for art exhibitions and other cultural events, enhancing its role as a dynamic cultural hub in Rimini.
The castle is the home of the Fellini Museum, dedicated to the famous film director Federico Fellini. The museum is also hosed in the Fulgor Palas – House of Cinema.
Location: Castel Sismondo, Piazza Malatesta, Rimini, Province of Rimini, Italy | Hours: From 1 September to 31 May: from Tuesday to Sunday 10.00-13.00 and 16.00-19.00from 1 June to 31 August: from Tuesday to Sunday 10.00am-1.00pm and 4.00pm-7.00pm from 28 June to 31 August every Wednesday and Friday evening opening from 9.00pm to 11.00pm closed on Mondays except holidays | Price: €10 | Website | Fellini Museum Entry Ticket
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Walk to the rear of the large red brick building, Teatro Amintore Galli, which is in front the castle, to reach Piazza Cavour.
Piazza Cavour, originally known as Campo del Comune in the Venetian style, has served as the epicenter of the city’s commercial and political life since the early Middle Ages. This historic square continues to play a vital role in Rimini’s social, political, and commercial activities.
During the Middle Ages, Piazza Cavour was the location of the palatium Comunis, where the Grand Council of the city convened. Its significance grew substantially with the construction of the Palazzo dell’Arengo between 1204 and 1207. The square, which took on the name Piazza Cavour later on, further developed with the construction of the Palazzo del Podestà in 1330 and the construction of the nearby Castel Sismondo in 1400. However, it was during the 16th century that the square began to take on the form we see today.
Today, Piazza Cavour remains a bustling social hub in the city. The square is lined with numerous bars and shops that add to its lively atmosphere. On one side, you’ll find historic buildings such as Palazzo Garampi, Palazzo Arengo, and Palazzo Podestà.
At the heart of the square stands the Fontana della Pigna, which was built in its current form (although a fountain existed here since Roman times) by Giovanni da Carrara in 1543. You’ll also find the statue of Pope Paul V, erected in 1614, serving as a reminder of Rimini’s historical connection to the Papacy. Throughout much of its history, Rimini was directly under papal control. Additionally, the Galli Theatre and the Old Fish Market grace this beautiful and vibrant square, making it a focal point for both locals and visitors alike.
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Domus del Chirurgo
Head across the square and continue down Via Alessandro Gambalunga, and right into Piazza Luigi Ferrari.
The Domus del Chirurgo is a remarkable archaeological site in Rimini, dating back to the second century CE. It is believed to have served as a clinic or medical practice, possibly belonging to a physician named Eutecheus.
The discovery of this site took place in 1989 when renovation work on a square unearthed a mosaic depicting Orpheus beneath a tree that had been uprooted. This initial discovery led to further excavation, revealing not only the second-century domus but also a structure from the fifth century. Today, these buildings are separated by glass walkways, allowing visitors to explore the site.
The second-century domus had experienced a fire in the third century, which, surprisingly, played a crucial role in its preservation. The fire caused the upper floor to collapse, effectively sealing and protecting the decorations and contents beneath. Among the findings was the most complete set of doctor’s implements from the Roman period, making a significant contribution to international archaeology and our understanding of medicine during that era.
In later centuries, a small church was constructed on the site, and the skeletons found within the Domus del Chirurgo date from this medieval period, rather than the Roman era. This archaeological site provides valuable insights into the medical practices and daily life of the past, making it a compelling destination for history enthusiasts and researchers alike.
Buy Tickets: In summer it may be worthwhile buying your combined Domus del Chirurgo and City Museum Entry Tickets in advance and pick your tickets up at the VisitRimini offices at the train station.
Location: Domus del Chirurgo, Piazza Luigi Ferrari, Rimini, Province of Rimini, Italy | Hours: WINTER HOURS from 1 September to 31 May from Tuesday to Sunday: 10am - 1pm and 4pm - 7pm closed on non-holiday daysSUMMER HOURS from 1st June to 31st August from Tuesday to Sunday and holidays: 10am - 7pm closed on non-holiday Mondays from the end of June summer evening openings Wednesday and Friday 9pm - 11pm | Price: €7 (Includes “Luigi Tonini” City Museum) | Website
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Museo della Città
Continue to direction you were going and cross into Via Luigi Tonini. Museo della Città “Luigi Tonini” is on your right.
The City Museum in Rimini, housed within the eighteenth-century Jesuit College, offers visitors a captivating journey through time. Here, the ancient heart of Rimini comes to life as a story spanning millions of years unfolds.
The narrative begins on the beach, where primitive humans once chipped flint, and continues through the realms of archaeology and art. The museum’s diverse collections range from surgical instruments dating back to the third century to the masterpieces of the “Riminese School” from the fourteenth century. Notable works by artists from the Malatesta court, including Agostino di Duccio, Giovanni Bellini, and Ghirlandaio, are also on display.
Visitors can immerse themselves in the extraordinary seventeenth-century paintings by artists like Guido Cagnacci, Centino, and Guercino. The museum also offers a glimpse into the world of elegance and seduction through the famous illustrations of René Gruau. Additionally, you can explore the beauty of Piazza Cavour as depicted by Filippo De Pisis during his stay in Rimini in 1940.
This museum provides a rich tapestry of Rimini’s history and cultural heritage, making it a must-visit destination for those eager to delve into the city’s fascinating past.
Location: Museo della Città "Luigi Tonini", Via Luigi Tonini, Rimini, Province of Rimini, Italy | Hours: Tuesday to Sunday and holidays 10:00-13:00 and 16:00-19:00 Closed on Mondays other than public holidays Wednesday and Friday in July and August also 9pm-11pm | Price: €7.00 | Website
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ARimini Caput Viarum
Walk to the end of Via Luigi Tonini and turn left at the end. As you reach Corso d’Augusto ARimini Caput Viarum is in the church on your left.
ARimini Caput Viarum serves as a captivating storytelling place, offering a multimedia and interactive tour that invites visitors to immerse themselves in the captivating history of Ariminum, the ancient Roman Rimini, with all its treasures and beauty. This experience provides valuable insights and suggestions for exploring the region comprehensively, creating an engaging journey through time.
The Visitor Centre employs innovative methods, including evocative images, interactive technologies, exhibition areas, and informative tools, to actively involve tourists in the narrative intertwined with history. This historical journey is not only told but experienced, allowing visitors to connect with the past in a meaningful way.
The history of Ariminum remains palpable today, as evidenced by the rich and well-preserved archaeological heritage. Over the centuries, this legacy has been enriched by beautiful architectural marvels, spanning from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. This historical richness has left an indelible mark on Rimini’s history and continues to shape its identity in the present day.
Beyond its cultural offerings, the Visitor Centre also serves as a valuable resource for tourists, providing comprehensive information about the various tourist opportunities, attractions, and events available in Rimini. This ensures that visitors can explore the region’s diverse offerings and make the most of their visit.
Location: aRimini Caput Viarum, Corso d'Augusto, Rimini, Province of Rimini, Italy | Hours: FROM OCTOBER TO MAY: Wednesday: 9.30 am - 12.30; Thursday and Friday: from 3.30 to 6.30 p.m. Saturday, Sunday: from 10 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. - from 3.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. On Monday & Tuesday the Visitor Centre is closedFROM JUNE TO SEPTEMBER: from Tuesday to Saturday 10-13 and 16-19; Sunday 10-13; evening opening Wednesday 20-22 (end of June, July and August) On Monday the Visitor Center is closed | Price: Free
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Ponte di Tiberio
As you come out of the visitor centre turn right and walk along Corso d’Augusto. Rimini’s Corso di Augusto, a wide boulevard that cuts through the heart of the old town, has been a central thoroughfare since Roman times. This historic road stretches from the Arco d’Augusto, passes through the Forum (now Piazza Tre Martiri), and leads to the Ponte di Tiberio, a well-preserved Roman bridge.
The construction of this bridge, initially initiated by Emperor Augustus, was completed in AD 20 during the reign of Tiberius. With its five arches, the Ponte di Tiberio gracefully spans the Marecchia River, which was known as the Ariminus in ancient times. Notably, this bridge is the sole survivor among those that once crossed the Marecchia, having withstood the destruction wrought by the retreating German army in 1944. As a result, it stands as a significant historical and architectural relic in Rimini, serving as a tangible link to the city’s Roman past.
Location: Ponte di Tiberio, Rimini, Province of Rimini, Italy | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free
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After walking around the portocanale and back across the Bridge of Tiberius, turn left and walk along the waterfront.
Porta Galliana, built in the thirteenth century, is the only medieval city gate in Rimini that remains recognizable today, with the exception of the Porta del Gattolo inside Castel Sismondo.
This gate served as a connection between the city and the port area along the Marecchia River. Originally, it was integrated into the city walls, as depicted in the bas-relief by Agostino di Duccio (1449-1455), which is preserved in the chapel of the zodiac signs in the Malatesta Temple. The gate’s identity was confirmed through archaeological excavations that began in 2017.
In the 15th century, Sigismondo Malatesta undertook the restoration of the gate, as indicated by the discovery of a deposit of Malatesta medals, which Sigismondo often used to mark the works he had created or renovated.
During the 16th century, the gate was closed off and replaced by a tower known as the Knights’ Tower.
Over the years, the site of Porta Galliana has undergone various changes, leaving visible traces of its history. These include marks from the shutter and hinges of the closing doors, remnants of the flooring of the public wash house of San Domenico dating back to the early 1900s, and two “guns” positioned at Sigismondo’s direction, which were used for the defense of the city walls and the castle.
Today, Porta Galliana has been transformed into a pedestrian path that spans different levels and is equipped with seating, making it a resting and meeting area. It serves as a “new-ancient” city focal point, connecting modern life with its historical past.
To get back to the train station turn right after Porta Galliana and walk along the Via Roma, or for a queiter road walk along the road before that, the Via Bastioni Settentrionali.
Location: Porta Galliana, Via Bastioni Settentrionali, Rimini, Province of Rimini, Italy
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