Castle and Museum in Rimini
Sismondo Castle, also known as Malatesta Fortress, is a historic landmark located just outside the city centre of Rimini. This remarkable fortress has a rich history and has undergone various renovations over the years, particularly in its outer part. Its current dimensions were commissioned by Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, one of the city’s greatest Renaissance lords, and construction began in 1437 under the supervision of the renowned Florentine military architect Filippo Brunelleschi.
The castle exudes a captivating charm with its large square towers and formidable scarp walls. When viewed from the deep moat that once surrounded it, these structures must have presented an imposing and awe-inspiring sight, reminiscent of pyramids in their sheer scale and grandeur.
The fortress was designed to serve both as a stately residence and a military stronghold, and it was constructed by incorporating elements of older buildings, as evidenced by the Gattolo gate. The castle’s true character and appearance can be appreciated through commemorative bronze medals by Matteo de’ Pasti and a wall fresco by Piero Della Francesca inside the Malatesta Temple.
What further emphasized the castle’s imposing presence was its strategic location. Before commencing work on the fortress, Sigismondo cleared a significant area of the city, creating an open space opposite the main medieval square, today known as Cavour Square. This positioning allowed the castle to dominate the city centre from above, making it clearly visible from other government buildings and throughout the city.
The current Sismondo Castle represents only a fraction of its original size. Substantial alterations, including the lowering of its towers on the orders of Pope Urban VIII, took place over the centuries. Additional modifications occurred in the 18th century, and the moats were filled in 1826. Until the 1960s, the castle served as the city’s prison, even though the municipality had owned it since 1916.
Today, Sismondo Castle has been repurposed to house the Fellini Museum, dedicated to the renowned film director Federico Fellini, who was born in Rimini. This historic fortress continues to stand as a testament to the city’s rich history and serves as a cultural hub celebrating its famous native son.
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Visiting Castel Sismondo
From 1 September to 31 May:
from Tuesday to Sunday 10.00-13.00 and 16.00-19.00
from 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