Valconca is located in the southernmost part of the Rimini Riviera, and owes its name to the Conca River, which flows along the entire valley. It is a landscape of unique characteristics, with gentle hills that open up to small hamlets with fortresses and castles, real treasures complete with art and ancient stories.
This one-day itinerary, from the hills towards the sea, touches upon three wonderful hamlets of Valconca: Mondaino, Montegridofo and San Giovanni in Marignano.
The hamlet of Mondaino is a real surprise for every one of its visitors.
Entering through its gate, you immediately arrive in an elegant 19th-century semicircular square, Piazza Maggiore, which the inhabitants affectionately call "pan". In summer it is the natural theater of one of the most beautiful historical memories of the Rimini Riviera: the Palio del Daino.
Next, the Castle of Mondaino represents one of the most important historical points of the hamlet, because - in addition to being in an extremely strategic position - it also had a view from which one could keep an eye on all the neighboring territories; from its terrace, it is possible to enjoy one of the most beautiful views in Romagna.
Inside the Fortress there is also the Paleontological Museum with a rich collection of fossils dating back to the Miocene age (4 to 5 million years ago); these are particularly clear and distinct finds due to the peculiar characteristics of the rock that has preserved them.
The ticket for the Paleontological Museum also includes admission to the Torre Portaia and the permanent exhibition of the Majolica of Mondaino.
Remaining in the center of Mondaino, finally, there is a place that has a thousand-year history and is an incredible stage for lovers of cheese and culinary traditions. We are talking about the La Porta di Sotto Mill. This ancient mill has a large room with elegant brick arches and wooden beams, and houses three cylindrical pits used in the past for the storage of provisions and today for the production of pit cheese.
Montegridolfo is one of the "Most Beautiful hamlets in Italy". It is a medieval hamlet that was the hub of the struggles between the Malatesta and Montefeltro seignories and has a characteristic that makes it unique: the presence of a bridgehouse dating back to the year 1000, which has remained intact, with a circle of high walls that protects it.
The sixteenth-century Porta del Castello is surmounted by a tower, which is accessed via a raised walkway. Going through the door you enter the historic town center, structured in narrow quarters, with the square containing the City Hall and Palazzo Viviani.
Also worth a visit is the Church of Saint Rocco of 1427, which houses a canvas depicting the Madonna and Child adored by Saints Rocco, Giacinto, and Sebastian by Cagnacci. The 15th- and 17th-century frescoes are also splendid.
Finally, in Via del Borgo there is the Museo della Linea dei Goti (Museum of the Gothic Line) which preserves evidence of the Gothic Line with finds, magazines, war material, and soldiers' equipment.
San Giovanni in Marignano, considered the gateway to the Valconca, is the last stop on this itinerary. It is a hamlet that has ancient origins and its name probably derives from the first church that was erected there in the twelfth century, namely the Church of Saint John the Baptist.
During the 1400s, the village, dominated by the Malatesta family, acquired fundamental economic importance, becoming a huge wheat warehouse, which is preserved under the hamlet. And it is precisely to protect such a precious resource that an imposing wall was built around the town, probably designed thanks to the contribution of Filippo Brunelleschi.
Once you arrive in San Giovanni in Marignano you can access its main street, Via XX Settembre, through the ancient entrance gate located just below the fifteenth-century Civic Tower.
The street is characterized by cobblestone paving on which you can easily pick out the circular marks that in ancient times indicated the wheat pits of the Malatesta era.
Next to the Civic Tower are the Parish Church of Saint Peter, which dates back to the 13th century, the Church of Saint Lucy, which houses a rare and valuable 18th-century organ with 600 pipes made of tin and wood, and the Church of Saint Mary in Pietrafitta, located just outside the village.
Also an absolute must-see is the theater of Saint John in Marignano, built in the seventeenth century as a religious building and destined for its current function in 1821, when the local Filodrammatica rented it for performances and shows of various kinds, transforming the altar into a stage.