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Verucchio, a village linked to the Malatesta family, mentioned by Dante Alighieri, is also famous for its zavardona
Among the Romagna hills, those that look towards the Adriatic Sea, stands Verucchio, a village of ancient origins in the province of Rimini, linked to the fate of the Malatesta family. It is no coincidence that the emblem of the municipality is the dog rose, the emblem of the powerful family. A village with a name that is a whole story and which today is also known for its particular culinary tradition.
Good food, breathtaking views and rich history, are linked to the Malatesta family. These three characteristics would be enough to visit Verucchio, but those who arrive in this corner of Romagna also have it because they want to take a break from the beaches of the Riviera and visit one of the most characteristic and elegant places in this area. It can be visited in any season of the year and is a destination within the reach of all budgets. If you choose to sleep in the village, you can fully experience the local experience. You cannot leave Verucchio without having met and appreciated the "zavardona".
The story of Verucchio takes us to the Iron Age and to a Villanovan-Etruscan village built on a relief in the lower Marecchia valley, right on the border between Montefeltro and the Republic of San Marino. The location of the village has marked its history over the centuries due to its characteristic of a natural fortress. In addition, the presence of the Marecchia river and the remains of a village from the IX-VII century BC. they are still visible in the necropolis built near the Marecchia river. Its sources, close to the Tiber valley, allowed the connection between the Adriatic and the Tyrrhenian. With the passage from the Roman to the Middle Ages, Verucchio rises to the fore in history to be the cradle, the place of origin, of the famous Malatesta family. It was under their lordship that it assumed the urban structure it still retains today.
Verucchio, panorama from the Rocca del Sasso
The visit begins from the airy Piazza Malatesta, overlooked by elegant eighteenth-nineteenth-century buildings including the one that houses the Town Hall. Going up via San Martino, you reach the Collegiate church, built-in 1863, has three naves covered by barrel vaults and preserves valuable works of art such as a crucifix by the "Maestro di Verucchio" from the first half of the fourteenth century, that by Nicola del Paradiso from the early 14th century and the canvas by Centino depicting San Martino and the beggar (1655).
Verucchio, the Rocca del Sasso
The Malatesta fortifications still stand on the two peaks: the fortress of Passerello in the village of the same name, transformed in the seventeenth century into an austere convent for women, and the Rocca del Sasso. The latter, built starting from the 12th century by the founder of the dynasty, Malatesta da Verucchio known as "Mastin Vecchio", mentioned by Dante in the "Divine Comedy", is one of the largest and best preserved of the Signoria. This family owned the fortress for over 300 years. The current complex is the result of overlapping of several structures. The oldest part is the most interesting. which arouses more attention.
Verucchio, view of the village from the Rocca del Sasso
From the top of the Rocca del Sasso you can admire the village of Verucchio divided into the two nuclei of Passerello and Sant’Andrea, enclosed by the medieval walls, and the underlying village of Sant’Antonio, with narrow streets and houses dating back to the ancient countryside. Here you can admire the bell tower, also known as the "big bell" of the fifteenth century, with the public bell of 1684 which is still used. Also here is the convent of Sant'Agostino which houses the Archaeological Museum.
Verucchio, a room of the Rocca del Sasso
The museum exhibits unique artifacts that emerged from the necropolis in the area. These are objects dating back to the period between the ninth and seventh centuries BC. The rooms exhibit very rare containers made of vegetable fibers, fabrics, gold and amber jewelry, but also ceramic and bronze kits, weapons and helmets and the throne inlaid with representations of everyday life. Admission to the museum is subject to a fee.
The Convent of San Francesco is located in the hamlet of Villa Verucchio. Its peculiarity is given by the cypress located in the center of the cloister. It is a monumental tree that according to tradition was planted by Francis himself.
Outside Verucchio stands the Romanesque parish church of San Martino in Rafaneto, dating back to 1059, although the first evidence dates back to 1230. The parish church would have been built on the remains of a previous construction. Renovated several times over the centuries, it was also destined for other uses. The building we see today was built in local stone with a single nave. During some restorations, sculptural decorations from the Romanesque period emerged.
Verucchio, collegiate church of San Martino and San Francesco
The name Verucchio should be a derivation from the Latin toponym verruca, or "protrusion" or "height", but a document of the 10th century AD. mentions a Veruculi castrum owned by the Carpegna family. It is not said that the current name of the village can come from here.
We are in the land of Romagna, here among the dishes to be savored are cappelletti in broth, but rigorously prepared according to a local recipe and, in winter, the "zavardona", or large maltagliati seasoned with stracchino and rich sauce. As for meat, in Verucchio the pork products of the Mora Romagnola breed stand out. This area is also excellent for the production of extra virgin olive oil, such as the typical one of Valmarecchia. As for the wines, here is the red "Veruccese" or rather the local version of Sangiovese.
Verucchio, piazza Malatesta
Verucchio can be reached by car from the A14 Bologna-Taranto motorway, Rimini Sud exit, then SS 72 to San Marino, then Sp 32 to the destination. By train Rimini station on the Bologna-Ancona-Bari line, then continue with the local transport buses. The closest airport is that of Rimini.