Mondaino is the Romagna town famous for the "pan", the fortress with its ghost and the traditional Palio del Daino
It may seem trivial, but Mondaino, we are in the province of Rimini, in the heart of the most authentic Romagna, reserves several surprises: one above all the beautiful circular square: Piazza Maggiore. This village showcases a fortress from whose peak you can enjoy a 360-degree panorama that sweeps from the Adriatic Sea to the Apennines. But it is from the village, hidden under the patrol walkway, that mysterious ghost stories are hidden.
Mondaino, Piazza Maggiore and the Malatesta Fortress
A holiday on the Romagna Riviera is worth a trip to Mondaino, a town that has one of its major attractions in its particular square shape. Yes, from time to time it is good to disconnect from the beauty of the beaches and the "nightlife" and take a trip inside to get to know the area. Mondaino is. Like all coastal resorts, a destination within everyone's reach and not necessarily expensive. Do not bring the classic sandwich from home but stop in one of the local towns to taste the real Romagna cuisine. Prices are affordable. The best time to visit Mondaino is certainly spring, but also in August when the Palio del Daino takes place. If you want to photograph the square in the best possible way, you need a wide-angle lens, but even with your smartphone you can get decent shots. A nice walk under the portico of Piazza Maggiore is one of the things to do to better enjoy the place.
But what is the origin of the name Mondaino? It could derive from the temple erected here by the Romans and dedicated to Diana, the goddess of the hunt. A Vicus Dianensis is remembered here. Mondaino could also take its name from the fallow deer, an animal that is still a symbol of the territory today. Over time the name of the village changes from the oldest 'Mans Dainus', it becomes 'Monte Daino'. With the advent of Christianity it changes to Mons Damarum, the "mountain of deer" which will later become Mondaino.
Formerly the site of a castle, the village saw its military and civil importance grow at the time of the Malatesta seigniory which considered it the favorite town for signing treaties with their bitter enemies: the Montefeltro, the lords of Urbino. Over the centuries Mondaino has witnessed clashes and battles for the possession of this strategic ridge for the control of the area.
Mondaino, Porta Marina
You enter the village of Mondaino from Porta Marina. It was commissioned by Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta as a work of modernization of the defensive structure.
Piazza Maggiore is circular in shape and dates back to the nineteenth century. This is the fulcrum of the village of Mondaino. Its neoclassical style loggia is a jewel. The noble palaces overlook the square. The work is attributable to the young architect from Forlimpopoli Ruffillo Righini. Due to its circular shape, the inhabitants affectionately call it "The pan". Complete with handle, represented by Via Roma.
On Piazza Maggiore every year in August the traditional re-enactment of the Palio del Daino is celebrated.
Mondaino, Piazza Maggiore
Adjacent to Piazza Maggiore is the Rocca. Built in a strategic point for the control of the area. The external structure rests on a “shoe-like” wall with an elegant Ghibelline battlements commissioned by Sigismondo Malatesta. Bulwark of the walls which counted 13 towers, the architectural structure was defined by Federico da Montefeltro as a “strong and important place, which under no agreement can be conquered”. The highest point of the Malatesta fortress is the splendid terrace from whose top you can admire the whole of Romagna, the Pesaro coast and Montefeltro. The structure is also equipped with a series of secret passages that were once used for military purposes. The figure of the Mantuan poet Giovanni Muzzarelli is also linked to the fortress, who was governor of the fortress from 1509 to 1514 and who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Is he the ghost we are talking about? Today the fortress houses the town hall of Mondaino and cultural institutions such as the Fossil Museum which houses finds from Mondaino and the surrounding territories. In one room there is a fresco depicting the Madonna del Latte by Bernardino Dolci from the fifteenth century.
Church of San Michele Arcangelo
Mondaino, Church of San Michele Arcangelo
In Mondaino stands the Church of San Michele Arcangelo, built in the eighteenth century which preserves valuable works from the 15th and 16th centuries of the Marche school. The original layout of the church can still be seen inside a side chapel. It is said that the ancient temple dedicated to Diana stood right here.
Former Convent of San Francesco
The former Convent of San Francesco is located just outside the historic center, on the Formosino hill, it is a complex that dates back to the thirteenth century. Here Giovanni Vincenzo Antonio Ganganelli took his vows, with the name of Friar Lorenzo da Montegridolfo, who later became Pope Clement XIV. Also here in 1459 the peace was signed between Sigismondo Malatesta and Federico da Montefeltro. The structure has numerous buildings and a beautiful internal garden that can only be visited during the Palio del Daino.
Like any self-respecting castle, the Malatesta Fortress of Mondaino also has its beautiful ghost. The legend, or if we want the mysterious presence, takes us back to the early sixteenth century, when the poet Giovanni Muzzarelli was appointed governor of the village who, a few years later mysteriously disappeared. Man of particular charm, he seems to have many lovers and it is said that he was murdered by an enraged husband after discovering his wife's betrayal. Muzzarelli's body was thrown into a well and with him his "mule" and the boy. Likely theory because an inscription with a female name was found on a wall of the well: Giustina. She whom she turned out to be one of the governor's mistresses. However, there is a second version of the facts, namely the one that the governor would like to be an unwelcome man in the village and that would have generated envy and resentment such as to want him to die. What is certain is that the poet's ghost wanders through the rooms of the castle, occasionally provoking some spite. One of these would be witnessed by the carabinieri who guarded the polling stations in 1987. The military personnel denounced the violation of the ballot boxes without anyone entering the halls, but also hearing noises and sinister sounds.
Mondaino, Piazza Madonna delle Grazie
This is an area of a prized white truffle, the pride of the Rimini hills, which is also at the center of an important festival and of the naturally fermented pit cheese, as far as wines are concerned, this is a land of Sangiovese, but also of Cabernet Sauvignon, a nectar with a ruby red color or Biancame, a straw yellow with greenish reflections, or Grechetto gentile, or Trebbiano romagnolo.
Mondaino, Panorama on the Romagna hills
How do I get to Mondaino
Mondaino can be reached by car from the Cattolica exit of the A14 Bologna-Taranto motorway, continuing on the Sp 17 to Brescia, then turning onto the Sp44 to Saludeccio, to return to the Sp17 to the destination.
Where to stay in Mondaino?
You can stay in a hotel in Cattolica, Rimini or Riccione and take a day trip to Mondaino, which can also be reached by public transport
Recommended tours in Mondaino
Mondaino can be visited freely by wandering through the city streets. Entrance to the museum is subject to a fee. The entrance fee is € 2.50 and the visit also includes admission to the Portaia Tower and the Permanent Exhibition of Ceramics
Where to photograph?
The best photographs are taken from the top of the Malatesta Fortress, while a wide angle is needed to immortalize Piazza Maggiore
Is any special equipment needed?
We need a wide angle and a tripod
Which sights to visit?
The places I visited are described in the article
Is there a fee to pay to visit some sights?
Entrance to the Fossil Museum is subject to a fee
When to visit?
I always recommend to visit this place during the weekdays, so you can admire this place at its best. In August, the Palio del Daino takes place here. The visit is highly recommended if you are on holiday in Romagna
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