Rimini, "the city of hospitality", "the beach of Europe", "the bathers' Riviera", the "Ostend of Italy": these are some of the names by which this sunny summer town of longstanding holiday traditions is known. It was on July 30, 1843 that two young Rimini aristocrats, Tintori and Baldini, opened the first "Stabilimento dei Bagni". When describing the origins of "taking the waters", Carlo Tonino wrote in 1895 in his Historical Compendium, "Seaside bathing had already become very fashionable and Rimini, because of its location and its fine, high quality sand, was frequented during the summer months by a large number of visitors from nearby and distant cities".
Since then, the Riviera has changed greatly and there are now more than 5,000 hotels, 1,000 restaurants, 150 discotheques, 1,200 bars, 50 museums and 300 sports centers along its 40 kilometers. In addition there are 16 amusement parks – the jewel in the Rivera's crown – which in all gives the highest density of places of entertainment in Italy. Of the theme parks, those deserving of a visit are
These figures clearly make Rimini the capital of sunny beach holidays and all-night raving but they also tend to present the city with a stereotype image whereas, in reality, Rimini is much more complex and a city for all seasons. The Riviera has far more to offer than its beaches and night clubs and can be appreciated for its history that began over 2,000 years ago in 268 BCE when it was founded by the Romans and continued under the Byzantines, the Ostrogoths and the Lombards. But it is the medieval and Renaissance heritage of the Malatesta family that is most visible.
A superficial exploration of the city center (closed to private traffic during the day) is not enough to discover the Ariminum of the Romans, the city of the Malatesta's or the 19th-century Rimini of the patriots and first social conflicts but one is able to get a rapid idea of the site's long history by visiting Roman structures like
It is a city famous for its industrial and commercial trade fairs and for prestigious international conferences organized throughout the year, such as the
Inland there are medieval suburbs of great splendor with forts, castles, parish churches, rural monasteries and tiny unspoiled country villages that attest a traditional culture still rich with memories of the past, traditional crafts, cooking, folklore and summer festivals where the smells of piadine and red Sangiovese wine are in the air. Visit, for example,
If you would really like an unequaled panorama, you can climb the 739 meters above sea level in the
It is extremely difficult to outline the ideal route through the labyrinth nightlife in Rimini and the surrounding area as the variety of places to visit and the contagious atmosphere is so great that you could enter any disco, bar, pub or club and spend an entire evening having the greatest fun.
A distinction, however, must be made between the winter and summer seasons: in summer you will find everything under the sun on offer in Rimini and often until breakfast the next day. In winter many of the entertainments close leaving others very full but the atmosphere of the summer is certainly missing even if the air is still charged with the Romagnolo spirit of fun. What you will find is that winter weekends are very similar to the summer period with the exception of the (outside) temperature.
To have a grasp of the thousands of possibilities available on the Riviera of Rimini and Riccione, the area has to be divided into zones. Some, exclusively frequented by locals, others exclusively by tourists, while others still are a blend of the two. A true Riminese, a little snobbish in their own way, loves to take refuge in the city center, especially in summer, and spend time in the most fashionable discotheques. The trendiest areas for Riviera nightlife are Rimini city center, Marina Centro and the seafront and Riccione Alta. Entertainment is guaranteed in any one of these at any time of the year.
Centro storico You will find a large number of wine bars, pubs and crêperies in the three small squares that stretch from the old fish market to the main street in the city. The zone is packed with the young people all year round and generally is the first stop on an evening out where they mix and invite each other to the discotheques later in the evening. You can begin with the Bandiera Gialla, then move on to La Cantinetta, or choose one of the bars for a drink and then head for the marble tables of the fish market. Any combination is fine but be careful as the setting is so pleasant you may not wish to leave for the entire evening.
Marina Centro Picture Miami, South Beach or Ocean Drive? There really is very little difference between these and Rimini. The zone between Beach 24 and the port canal is where the most fashionable places are to be found, especially in summer when most of them are open air. You can start from Key West, move on to the Irish pub The Barge, and poke your head in the Ombelico del Mondo or Coconuts, which is almost identical to the Clevelander in Miami with palm trees and sand. The important thing is to end up at Rock Island, which is a real institution; it offers rock music, beer, and a superb view in all directions from the jetty of Rimini. At this point all you need to do is be sure you don't fall in the water.
Marina Lido & Miramare The road of the inner seafront connects Rimini with Riccione and is parallel to the sea. It is famous for its continuous rows of shops, pubs, bars, restaurants, hotels, ice-cream shops and much more. Compared to Marina Centro, here the atmosphere is more geared to tourists and families. The Io Street Club, the Bounty (a pub built like a boat), Cellophane, and the Altro Mondo Studios are also nerve centers of Riviera entertainment, being popular with both tourists and locals.
Riccione You have to spend at least one evening here and if you need information on which disco is best for you, what clothes to wear or what type of people go there, remember the local saying that as you climb the hill you also climb the social ladder. Separate mentions should be made for the Beach Village and the Territorio Match Music , the latter being a real summer beach attraction either in the early, mid or late evening.
The hill of Riccione Alta is the undoubted queen of the Adriatic Riviera nightlife given that on a single road there are the five most famous discotheques on the Adriatic coast. Starting from the bottom of the hill, we have the Pascià, the Peter Pan, the Cocoricò, the Prince and Byblos. A few kilometers away there is Acquafan with its Walky Cup and La Villa delle Rose.
From Rimini's train station begins this guided tour of the city, where in Piazzale Cesare Battisti, you can make a quick stop at the Tourist Board Office and request a free map of the city.
From here, go through a small part of via Roma towards the Largo Martiri d'Ungheria, where you will find, one in front of the other on the left side, the Parco Alcide Cervi - an area which has street after street filled with restaurants and greenery, all the way up to the beach. On the right side, the Roman Ampitheatre, dating from the 2nd Century CE, remains as one of the most notable structures that shows the power of the city and how it once rivaled that of the Colosseum in Rome.
Passing through the inside of the Parco Cervi, amongst bronze statues by Arnaldo Pomodoro and play areas for children, you arrive in the midst of the former medieval gates that closed the city until the Renaissance, is the monumental Augustus Arch, the oldest monument in the city, that was constructed in 27 BCE with the purpose of presenting the city, solemly and formally to its important visitors, particuarly those who came to the city via the cia Flaminia, that actually terminated there and simply became one of the city's streets. The Augustus Arch and the Tiberius Bridge, both situated at the two extremes of the decumanus maximus, site of the current Corso d'Augusto, were the two entrances to the city, situated at opposite ends and crossing the most important streets of the Roman Empire: the via Flaminia and via Emilia. The arch is, without a doubt, a triumph of the Romans and an important monument of the central regions of Italy.
Walking forward from the Corso d'Augusto, a street filled with stores and shopping, you can easily find the forum of the Roman city, the present-day Piazza Tre Martiri, which is dedicated to three partisan, young men murdered by Nazi soliders at the end of the Second World War. The current piazza, recently restored, preserves the memory of the miracle of the mule and that of the fish of Sant'Antonio nel Tempietto, in a space dedicated to him, and also that Caesar actually maintained hold over this part of the city just after crossing the Rubicon in 49 BCE with his legionares before following then to Rome, a spot not located at the corner of via IV Novembre.
Just by following this last street and you find on the right-hand side the Duomo of Rimini, Tempio Malatestiano. The outer architecture, done in a brilliant white marble restored for the 2000 Jubilee, is a magnificent unfinished work designed by the famed Renaissance architect, Leon Battista Alberti, elements of rich decorative geometrically arranged, his classicism as broad remaking of the previous linear medieval church of
The exterior architecture, exalted by the brilliant white marble cladding recently restored in view of the Jubilee, is masterly work, although unfinished by the brilliant architect Leon Battista Alberti expressed that best, especially in portal and the tympanum with elements of rich, decorative, geometrically arranged design. His design is a remaking of the previous design of the medieval church of San Francesco. The interior of the Duomo, in its magnificent decorative Gothic décor, performs pomp, wealth and determination that the celebratory exaltation heraldic symbols contrasts greatly with the essentiality of the external facade. The interior (with a nave with six side chapels) features in Room of Relics a masterpiece by Piero della Francesca of Sigismondo kneeling at the foot of San Sigismondo. This fresco and the crucifix painted by Giotto in the early 14 Century are the most important relics of the artistic past of the city.
Returning to the Corso d'Augustus, you arrive at the central Piazza Cavour (in the heart of medieval and modern Rimini) and the Piazza della Fontana, which was known as the Piazza del Comune until 1862. Both constantly and repeatedly subject to restoration works and renovation.
When talking about Rimini, the associations of entertainment, sea, holidays and discotheques are inevitable. However, this summer metropolis on the Romagnolo coast also has much to offer from a culinary viewpoint. You won't find highly elaborate dishes, but simply prepared and tasty food that uses natural ingredients that are not altered by long cooking or exotic techniques or ingredients.
The cuisine on both the coast and inland is unquestionably one of the most important characteristics of the local people's history, culture, hospitality and spirit. Based on the simple cooking of agricultural and fishing communities, it has retained the simple and wholesome flavors of the vegetable garden and fresh fish but has been imaginatively adorned to create cuisine to be proud of. It is obvious though that anyone who comes to Rimini must delight in at least one dinner or lunch of fish cooked to be fit for a God.