Rimini, Beyond the Beach

| Wed, 10/21/2020 - 09:48

Depending on your age, and how deep your knowledge of Italian movie and pop culture is, the Italian city of Rimini brings to mind a visionary atmosphere of Fellini’s masterpieces or the coarse humor of late 80s blockbusters. It is also known for its family-friendly beaches, the crowded and sparkling discos, the lively seafront, the dramatic façade of the Malatesta temple, and the unfinished cathedral church standing in the historical heart of the city. And, of course, the irresistible smell of a freshly grilled piada (traditional unleavened bread) filled with creamy cheese and arugula or with local sardines.

Malatesta temple

Undoubtedly a perfect summer vacation resort on the Riviera Romagnola, we have to say, Rimini is much more than that. As a destination, it is the perfect "human-sized" destination with plenty to offer and the Fall season is great time to discover this unique place. 

Here are some ideas to enjoy the city and discover its hidden soul (for more tips and info, check this website out)

Visit PART Museum

Hosted in the restored Medieval palaces (Podestà and Arengo) facing over the central piazza Cavour, the brand new museum officially opened on September 24th unveiling an eclectic collection of contemporary art masterpieces, from Vanessa Beecroft and Sam Falls to Sandro Chia and Enzo Cucchi. 

The impressive repertoire comes from the Fondazione San Patrignano – a well-known drug and addiction rehabilitation community in Coriano, near Rimini – and has been put together thanks to donations from supporters of the artists themselves. Representing a sort of “safety fund” for San Patrignano, it has now made available to the public thanks to the collaboration with Rimini Municipality. 

The striking contrast between the historic setting and the modern, multidisciplinary, and sometimes provocative, works of art makes the visit even more appealing. Enjoy the unexpected path from the foyer and cloakroom decorated by a site-specific work from Roberto Coda Zabetta to the spellbinding Last Judgment fresco by the XIV century artist Giovanni da Rimini which will be exhibited for 18 months in the last hall of the Museum, face to face with more contemporary art masterpieces. 

PART museum

Climb on the Belvedere Kennedy

 Up-to-date architecture and natural landscape don’t always blend well, yet in this case, the combination is perfect. Inaugurated in July 2019 in the wide Kennedy plaza, the futuristic Belvedere overlooking the beach and the coast from Cesenatico to Gabicce was finally completed by the end of summer with the opening of the second ramp and an inner tank to collect rainwater. The facility, with two panoramic “hills” furnished with peculiar benches and scenically lit at night, is part of a wider project called “Parco del Mare” (Sea Park) to enhance and preserve the seashore also thanks to a massive plan of hydrogeological stability.

Go On a Fellini Bike Tour

Everybody knows Federico Fellini and his impressive film production, starting from the unforgettable Roman scenes from the iconic film La Dolce Vita. Even though the Italian director (who would have turned 100 this year) mostly lived and worked in Rome, many of his stories and characters were deeply rooted in Rimini where he was born and raised. One way to better discover Fellini's iconic spots is by bike. 

Follow passionate guide Cristian Savioli – a never-ending source of knowledge thanks to the recollection of personal anecdotes from Fellini’s friends – as he guides you through real-life and imaginary locations, many of them recalled in the movie Amarcord

Advertisement of Museum of Federico Fellini in the street in Rimini

You'll discover the houses where Fellini lived, such as the one in via Clementini where the young Federico exchanged glances with a girl named Bianchina – to the Amarcord house, near the station, which plays a major role in the movie. Without forgetting the Malatesta temple where he assisted in a torchlight procession (somehow conditioning his controversial religious sentiment) and the evocative Fulgor theatre, where he was first fascinated by movies. 

Fulgor cinema

To complete the experience, indulge in a luxurious aperitif or Sunday brunch at the Grand Hotel which inspired many of Fellini’s flamboyant settings and dedicated to him recipes (such as the “risotto 8 e ½”) and cocktails. Guided bike tour in English

Sleep in a former fisherman house in Borgo San Giuliano

Once a humble (and disreputable) borough, today Borgo San Giuliano – beyond the stunning Tiberius Roman bridge – is a lively and picturesque area hosting restaurants and bars (and every two years, in September, the Festa de’ Borg with food stalls and music). Yet it still keeps an authentic, typically “riminesque”, atmosphere. 

San giuliano

Usually, visitors come here to browse around the multicolored two-story buildings adorned with mural paintings (many referring to Fellini and his world) and other curious ornaments and to trace the painted ceramic plaques bearing the name and nickname of the fishermen and seamen who owned them since the 50s. But it’s also possible to sleep in some of the old dwellings, reviving past times with full modern comfort. Check out Dimore da Vivere or Soggiorni Diffusi. 


Relax and get pampered on the canal

The portion of the urban park XXV Aprile facing over the Tiberius Bridge and the reservoir (formed by the canal flowing in parallel with the Marecchia river) has also been named “the square on the water”. It has rapidly become an essential gathering place for locals (as well as visitors) looking for a peaceful spot to practice sport, enjoy nature, and relax. Here, in summer, Rimini Yogi offers free open-air yoga classes (also in English) while Barfum – the “bar of express beauty” and “street beauty shop” located nearby in Borgo San Giuliano – organizes every Thursday (7.30 pm, maximum 8 people) an intriguing “beauty picnic”: a basket filled with a facial treatment, a snack by a local restaurant, a perfume “tasting” combined with a glass of wine and a night boat ride on the canal. 


Sail in Style (or at least, admire the boats)

When local seamen went out to sea, it mostly was on their “vele al terzo” vessels. A few of these traditional boats, whose mighty trapezoid sails – bearing their names from the distance between the two yards of the mast – are docked at Rimini’s marina (Darsena) as well as at five other harbors along the Adriatic coast once forming the Romagna Seafaring, and now mostly used for parades. 

You can easily recognize them from the vivid colors and decorations on the wooden hull (and from the sails when they are unfurled, of course); yet you would need to be a real expert to discern the specific colors and subject referring to each city or the different kind of boat – trabaccoli, lancioni, bragozzi, battane - according to dimensions and importance.

vele al terzo
The Rimini association Vele al Terzo – aiming to preserve and spread this old tradition – collaborates with the so-called "Mariegola” (rule of the sea) reuniting the working and fishing boats of Riviera, and they promote a summer program of assemblies in the local harbors. Yet, you can only step on board and experience the emotion of sailing if you officially subscribe to the association. Otherwise, after admiring these unique boats, head to the Darsena Sunset Bar to enjoy a drink and the sunset glow. Despite Rimini facing East from this point (especially in June and July) you can still see the sun going down slowly into the sea.