Sacred Architecture in Rimini

A journey through the history of sacred art in Rimini

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Throughout Rimini's long history, sacred art has expressed itself through magnificent architectural and figurative works, famous for their spirituality and artistic grandeur. 

This 24-hour tour offers a unique chance to explore the city’s deep soul, admiring the masterpieces that have shaped its cultural and spiritual character over the centuries.

  • Length
    24 hours
  • Interests
    Art & Culture
  • Target
  • First stop - Tempio Malatestiano Rimini

    The first stop begins in the city centre, where the Tempio Malatestiano is located. This monument, commissioned by Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta in 1447, represents an extraordinary combination between religious devotion and Renaissance culture. 

    Designed by architect Leon Battista Alberti, the Temple is a Renaissance masterpiece, with an imposing façade inspired by Roman architecture and symbolic decorations narrating the history and power of the Malatesta family. 

    Inside, the pointed arches and side chapels with works by Matteo de' Pasti and Agostino di Duccio, create a fascinating contrast between shapes and Renaissance classicism. 

    Artistic treasures, such as the Cappella dei Pianeti (Chapel of the Planets), the Cappella degli Angeli (Chapel of Angels or of Isolde), and the Arca degli Antenati (Ark of the Ancestors) testify to the cultural and spiritual richness of this building. Inside, you can admire two works of extraordinary beauty: a crucifix by Giotto, painted in 1312, and a fresco by Piero della Francesca depicting Sigismondo kneeling at the feet of St. Sigismund (1451).

  • Second stop - Church of Sant’Agostino Rimini

    The second stop of the tour is a visit to the church of Sant'Agostino, past the ancient forum of Rimini, today known as Piazza Tre Martiri. 

    Built in the 13th century in Romanesque-Gothic style, it is the oldest sacred testimony in the city. 

    Originally dedicated to San Giovanni Evangelista, the building dates back to 1069, when it was just a modest oratory. In 1256, it came under the patronage of the Hermits of St Augustine, and became the Church of Sant’Agostino. 

    Its 55 metre high bell tower was for a long time a landmark for Rimini's sailors and a source of inspiration for local artists. 

    Inside, the frescoes in the main chapel and in the bell tower are a valuable testimony to local Renaissance art. The frescoes came to light following the 1916 earthquake. It is a complex of frescoes depicting scenes from the life of St John the Evangelist and Il Giudizio Universale (Judgment Day), attributable to Giovanni da Rimini. The latter fresco (owned by the Diocese of Rimini) is now preserved in the city museum.

  • Third stop - Church of Santa Maria in Corte (Servi) Rimini

    The third stop of our tour can be reached by crossing the medieval centre of Rimini, known today as Piazza Cavour, and heading towards Ponte di Tiberio, which celebrates over two millennia of history. 

    To the left, you’ll see the Church of Maria in Corte, also known as Church Dei Servi. Founded in 1317 as a modest chapel, it was later enlarged by the Servite friars into a single-nave church enriched with numerous works of art and three apsidal chapels. In the 18th century, architect Gaetano Stegani renovated the structure of the church and convent, with the artistic contribution of Antonio Trentanove from Rimini. 

    In 1798, the entire complex was taken over by the Dominican Friars, who further enriched the church with works of art transferred from their previous location. In 1806, the church was elevated to the rank of parish, and became Santa Maria in Corte. In 1885, the parish priest Don Ugo Maccolini financed the restoration of the façade, the reconstruction of the bell tower and the interior decorations with gilding by Luigi Samoggia.

  • Fourth stop - Shrine of Santa Maria delle Grazie Rimini

    The fourth and final stop of this tour takes us to the hills near Rimini, where we find the Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a place steeped in history and miracles. 

    In this characteristic place, devotion to the Virgin Mary has very ancient origins, as old as 1286. In fact, legend has it that shepherd Rustico sculpted a statue in honour of the Virgin Mary from a log in the woods on the hill of Covignano, with the help of two young angels. The simulacrum was then transported to the port, where the boat it was on moved spontaneously towards Venice, and stopped in front of the Church of San Marziale, where it is venerated today as the 'Madonna of Rimini'. 

    To celebrate the miracle, the residents of Rimini built a chapel on the Covignano hill. In 1391, this chapel was replaced by a church, which is now the right section of the existing sanctuary. In 1578, the left aisle dedicated to the Vergine delle Grazie was added, where the 15th century Annunciazione painting by Ottaviano Nelli of Gubbio was placed. In 1600, the entire church was frescoed. The 1786 earthquake severely damaged the complex, which was then quickly rebuilt in Baroque style. In September 1944, the sanctuary and convent were destroyed again, this time by bombings, and only the façade of the 15th-century church survived. The church was rebuilt again in 1955, with the frescoes surviving only in the left aisle. 

    Today, walking up from Via Covignano, you can follow the Via Crucis, one of the oldest in the world, whose existence can be traced back to around 1550. The path includes fourteen chapels, embellished with ceramics by Elio Morri, which replace the terracotta panels made by Carlo Sarti from Bologna around 1750.

Last update 13/05/2024

For more information

Editorial board Rimini

Information offices

IAT - Ufficio Informazioni Rimini Centro Città
Piazzale Battisti, 1 - Rimini (RN)
+ 39 0541 51331 + 39 0541 53399 Opening: all year round

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