Meldola lies along the Ronco river which flows very close to the town centre. It is located at the beginning of the Bidente Valley, along the road connecting Forlì to the Apennines, 20 minutes away from the Adriatic Sea, Ridracoli dam and the Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona and Campigna National Park.
Meldola was the first stop along the Bidente Valley for the pilgrims once heading to Rome. Nowadays Meldola still welcomes visitors with warm hospitality, especially from spring to autumn, when the surrounding landscape offers beautiful views and quiet panoramas. The history of the town is characterized by fierce fights and political events, which are a testimony to its strategic role over the centuries.
The impressive Fortress overlooking the town was built by the Archbishops of Ravenna. Even before the year 1000, the fortress was the object of fierce contention between the Church of Ravenna and the local powers; it passed under the dominion of the Guelphs first and then of the Ghibellines until 1283 when Count Guido da Montefeltro made of it his last shelter in Romagna.
As well as the whole of Romagna, Meldola saw many families take turns in governing the town. These included the Ordelaffi, Malatesta and Aldobrandini families, who have left numerous monumental buildings that characterize the town (Aldobrandini Lodge, Ponte dei Veneziani).
The town has been the epicenter of important economic phenomena, such as the production of silkworms (of which there is a museum under renovation), spinning mills, important quarries, caves and agri-food markets that have brought the town to the attention of national and international operators.
Meldola, Rocca delle Caminate
From the national road SS 310 del Bidente take Via San Giovanni and then Via Sbargoleto to reach the ‘Riserva Naturale Orientata Bosco di Scardavilla’ (Scardavilla Wood Regional Natural Reserve) which covers an area of about 30 hectares. The reserve can be visited by booking a tour at the Ecology Museum and the ‘Mirco Bravaccini’ Visitors Centre housed in the former church of Madonna del Sasso, in the centre of Meldola.
Riserva Naturale Orientata Bosco di Scardavilla
Every year, in May, the beautiful setting of the park of Rocca delle Caminate is home to the ‘Otto castelli per un palio’ (Eight castles for one Palio), a medieval re-enactment with fencing and falconry shows, flag wavers, duels, ancient food and jobs, culminating in the great tournament between the teams representing the eight families that in the past struggled to dominate the fortress.
In the last weekend of August, during the patronal feast of the Holy Virgin, the "Roccambolesca" event is organized in collaboration with various voluntary associations of Meldola. Visitors are accompanied inside the fortress through a guided tour with an exhibition of works by artists (photographers, sculptors, painters). There are set-ups with entertainment and musical events, suggestive corners marked by the history of the town and its picturesque setting. There are also points for tasting local products.
From Meldola, follow the road towards Ravaldino in Monte for about 6 km, until you reach the Rocca delle Caminate, on the border with the town of Predappio. The castle lies between the Rabbi and Bidente rivers, in a strategic position towering over the surrounding valleys. The watch tower dates to the Roman era, whereas the castle dates back to the 10th or 11th century.
At about 10 km from the town, on a ridge, stands the Castle of Teodorano, in a location of the same name. The castle dates to the 11th century and was an object of contention due to its strategic position.